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Cablegate: Brazil Expects to Sign Joint Action Plan Against

VZCZCXRO0109
PP RUEHRG
DE RUEHBR #0271 0591758
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 281758Z FEB 08
FM AMEMBASSY BRASILIA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1080
INFO RUEHRG/AMCONSUL RECIFE PRIORITY 7727
RUEHRI/AMCONSUL RIO DE JANEIRO PRIORITY 5826
RUEHSO/AMCONSUL SAO PAULO PRIORITY 1649
RUEAWJA/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHDC PRIORITY

UNCLAS BRASILIA 000271

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR WHA/BSC, DRL, AND IO

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM PREL BR
SUBJECT: BRAZIL EXPECTS TO SIGN JOINT ACTION PLAN AGAINST
RACISM DURING SECSTATE VISIT

REF: BRASILIA 00245

1. (U) This cable contains an action request, please see paragraph 7.

2. (SBU) Summary: Although the new Racial Equality Minister Edson Santos was just confirmed on February 20, President Lula's administration is working hard to have the bilateral Joint Action Plan against Racism signed during Secretary Rice's visit to Salvador (evening March 13 or morning March 14). The GOB expects Minister Santos to sign the plan with the Secretary at a well-publicized press event. With the Lula Administration's support for measures to promote racial equality, the signing of this agreement will not only give the GOB's racial equality policy a shot in the arm, but it will also be a positive step for U.S.-Brazil relations on an important human rights issue. End summary.

3. (SBU) On February 26, Ministry of External Relations (MRE) Human Rights Division Chief Marcia Adorno confirmed that the GOB has been working inter-ministerially on the plan. The plan is viewed by MRE and other ministries as an extremely positive agreement between our two countries, particularly because the nature of most U.S./Brazil interaction on human rights is negative in focus and tends to highlight differences in policy.

4. (SBU) On February 27, Racial Equality Secretariat (SEPPIR) International Advisor Magali Naves said that Minister Santos is extremely enthusiastic about signing the agreement with Secretary Rice because it would be an opportunity for the SIPDIS U.S. to show its support for the GOB's efforts to establish equal rights. She indicated that the GOB will be ready to react to any USG re-writes or amendments in a timely way so that the agreement can be signed on March 14. She said that this will be an important event for Minister Santos who has said that this signing is one of his two top priorities in his new position. She stressed that the GOB believes that Salvador as Brazil's historic Afro-Brazilian capitol is the ideal location to sign this agreement.

5. (SBU) Racial equality is a new focus of the Lula administration, and the President has recently commented that the GOB must do more for its minorities. He also said that the Racial Equality Statute must be passed (reftel). (Note: the statute is currently held up in the Chamber of Deputies, but has already been approved by the Senate. End Note.)

6. (SBU) Comment: The GOB's new focus on race issues has been surprising, given its contentiousness among Brazilians. However it is consistent with the Lula administration's ideological position on social issues. Concluding this agreement during Secretary Rice's visit would not only provide a boost for the GOB's approach to promoting equal rights, but, as a less contentious bilateral issue, might also have significant potential to improve good-will between our two governments. End Comment.

7. (SBU) Action Request: Post requests that the Department confirm if it will be able to clear on the text of the proposed action plan in time for a meeting with Secretary Rice in Salvador on March 13 or 14. SOBEL

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