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Cablegate: Panama: Urgent Medevac Demarche Delivered

VZCZCXYZ0008
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHZP #0120 0391923
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 081923Z FEB 08
FM AMEMBASSY PANAMA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 1720
INFO RUEHKG/AMEMBASSY KINGSTON 0258
RUEHBH/AMEMBASSY NASSAU 0090
RUEHSJ/AMEMBASSY SAN JOSE 1928
RUEHDG/AMEMBASSY SANTO DOMINGO 0411

C O N F I D E N T I A L PANAMA 000120

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/08/2018
TAGS: PREL PREF PHUM SMIG BF CO CS CU DR JM MX PM
SUBJECT: PANAMA: URGENT MEDEVAC DEMARCHE DELIVERED

REF: STATE 13050

Classified By: POLCOUNS Brian R. Naranjo. Reason: 1.4 (d).

-------------------------------
Panama Ponders Whether to Accept
--------------------------------

1. (C) "Let me raise this request with (First VP and FM)
Samuel Lewis," Lewis' Senior Advisor Adolfo Ahumada told
POLCOUNS on February 8 in response to reftel request for GOP
assistance. Ahumada underscored (twice) in a brief
conversation the "political sensitivities" that would need to
be overcome to accept any protected Cuban migrant from U.S.
Naval Station, Guantanamo. Given the narrow and specific
nature of this request -- to commit to facilitate the entry
and treatment of one protected migrant in the event of
medical necessity with the understanding that the USG would
pay for all transportation and medical treatment costs as
well as, upon termination of medical treatment, return the
migrant to Guantanamo -- Ahumada undertook to consult with
Lewis.

-------
Comment
-------

2. (C) While Ahumada, Lewis' closest advisor and confidant,
was willing bring this special case to Lewis' attention, it
is important not to raise expectations too high that Panama
will commitment to facilitate medical treatment. Panama is
normally loathe to accept migrants, particularly Cuban
migrants and especially Cuban migrants from Guantanamo.
Should Panama agree to assist in this case, Panama is likely
to underscore that it is not establishing any precedents for
future migrant cases and to insist that this matter be
handled without any public fanfare. In the end, post
assesses that Panama is very, very unlikely to commit to
offer assistance in this matter. Post will continue to
follow up on this matter until a final decision is reached.
EATON

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