Cablegate: Embassy Lima
DE RUEHPE #0480/01 0772240
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
P 172240Z MAR 08
FM AMEMBASSY LIMA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8226
INFO RUEHAC/AMEMBASSY ASUNCION PRIORITY 1942
RUEHBO/AMEMBASSY BOGOTA PRIORITY 5605
RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA PRIORITY 7804
RUEHBS/AMEMBASSY BRUSSELS PRIORITY 1016
RUEHBU/AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES PRIORITY 3312
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS PRIORITY 1092
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ MAR 4799
RUEHMN/AMEMBASSY MONTEVIDEO PRIORITY 9474
RUEHQT/AMEMBASSY QUITO PRIORITY 1819
RUEHSG/AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO PRIORITY 1803
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RUMIAAA/USCINCSO MIAMI FL PRIORITY
S E C R E T LIMA 000480
E.O. 12958:DECL: 03/18/2018 TAGS: PGOV PREL PINR PE
REF: A. LIMA 0389
B. LIMA 3853
C. LIMA 0390
Classified By: POL/C ALEXIS LUDWIG FOR REASONS 1.4 (B)
1. (C) Summary: European NGOs, Peruvian social movements, and radical groups have been working since early 2007 to organize "anti-summit" protests against the European Union-Latin American Heads of State summit scheduled for mid-May in Lima. In early 2008, the Venezuelan Embassy allegedly helped craft a cooperation agreement between protest organizers and nationalist opposition leader Ollanta Humala. Bolivian President Evo Morales is so far the only head of state confirmed to address anti-summit protestors. Notwithstanding the recent arrest of seven terrorist suspects and the government's public claims, we have not seen evidence backing the notion that the Venezuela-backed Bolivarian Continental Coordinator plans to disrupt the summit. The greatest concern among our European Union mission colleagues is the threat that radicals could hijack the protests by aggressively confronting ill-prepared security forces, as occurred in Cusco in February. The GOP is taking these threats seriously. End Summary.
Local Social Movements, European NGOs Planning Protests Since Early 2007
2. (C) A variety of radical Peruvian social movements and European anti-globalization NGOs have been planning protests against the May European Union-Latin America summit since at least early 2007 under the slogan Linking Alternatives 3 ("Enlazando Alternativas 3" -- www.enlazandoalternativas.org), according to internal planning documents shared with poloffs. The documents show that organizers have held a series of workshops and meetings among dozens of social movement leaders to coordinate roles and international fundraising efforts. On the European side, principal groups include Attac -- an anti-globalization organization that has led protests against several European summits -- the leftist solidarity group France Amerique Latine, the Spanish environmental organization Ecologistas en Accion, the Amsterdam-based scholar-activist Transnational Institute, and many others.
3. (S//NF) On the Peruvian side, leaders and participants include a variety of anti-systemic social leaders. The main organizer, according to an Embassy contact involved in the preparations, is the indigenous leader Miguel Palacin Quispe, who rose to prominence as the President of the radical anti-mining NGO Conacami and now leads the Andean Coordinator of Indigenous Organizations (CAOI). Among a variety of peasant and indigenous groups, prominent organizers include leaders of the National Agriculture Confederation and Conveagro agricultural unions, which organized national strikes in February 2008 that resulted in various roadblocks, numerous arrests, and four dead protestors. Individuals who have attended at least one planning meeting but whose actual roles are unknown include:
-- Hugo Blanco, a long-time radical ideologue who helped organize protests that shut down Cusco in February (Ref A);
-- Elsa Malpartida, cocalero leader and Andean Parliament member;
-- Melchor Lima Hancco, Peasant Confederation of Peru member who, according to sensitive reporting, may be linked to a Venezuela-sponsored ALBA house in Lima; and
-- Sandro Vasquez Chavez, a leader of Patria Roja-dominated peasant defense groups in Cajamarca. According to our contacts in Cajamarca, Vasquez Chavez is also a former municipal candidate for Ollanta Humala's Nationalist Party (PNP) and a close collaborator of the openly pro-Venezuelan PNP Congressman from Cajamarca Werner Cabrera.
Ollanta Humala, Venezuela, and Bolivia Step In --------------------------------------------- -
4. (C) Peruvian Nationalist Party leader Ollanta Humala, who did not participate in the first year of anti-summit organization, began talking publicly in early 2008 about leading protests against the EU summit. Miguel Palacin, who has independent political ambitions and was understandably reluctant to allow his handiwor to be claimed by a rival, reportedly resisted Humala's transparent desire to take over the movement. This created the possibility of competing protests. According to a contact close to Palacin, however, Venezuelan diplomat Virly Torres stepped in to resolve the dispute: Torres convoked the two leaders to a meeting at her Embassy in February and successfully pressured them to reach an agreement. Torres' main goal, says our contact, was to ensure that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez had a single alternate forum to address during the summit. According to the agreement, Ollanta will organize protestors in Lima, while Palacin will draw protestors from the regions to the captital for their main rally on May 18th, the second day that heads of state will be in Lima. Tensions between the leaders reportedly remain alive, however, and Palacin, without Humala's knowledge, plans to use the summit to launch a new political party to contest the 2010 regional elections. (Note: Regional elections are scheduled for 2010, general elections in 2011. End Note.)
5. (C) Bolivian government and social sector leaders have shown interest in the anti-summit, and President Evo Morales is so far the only head of state confirmed to attend. Two Bolivian nationals, indirectly linked to the MAS government, have appeared at anti-summit organizational meetings. The first is Alexandra Flores of the Solon Foundation, an NGO founded by top Evo Morales advisor and anti-free trade and globalization guru Pablo Solon. The second is Pablo Villegas, a pro-Morales ideologue and author as well as a member of the anti-FTA umbrella group "Bolivian Movement for the Sovereignty and Solidarity Integration of the People". Radical indigenous Aymara leader and convicted terrorist Felipe Quispe also plans to join the protests, according to an Embassy contact. (Quispe is rumored to have recently given armed training to radical Peruvians in southern Peru -- Ref B.)
Role of the Bolivarian Continental Coordinator (CCB) --------------------------------------------- -------
6. (C) On February 29th, the GOP arrested seven Peruvians as suspected terrorists and accused them of planning to disrupt the May EU-LAC summit as well as the APEC leaders meeting in November. The suspects were detained in northern Peru while returning from Quito, Ecuador, where they had attended the Second Congress of the Bolivarian Continental Coordinator, an organization reportedly funded by President Hugo Chavez and the FARC to bring together radical groups across Latin America (Ref C). Roque Felix Gonzalez la Rosa, the leader of the detainees and President of CCB's Peru Chapter, is a member of the Peruvian terrorist group MRTA who spent 1996-2004 in jail for the 1995 kidnapping of Bolivian businessman and politician Samuel Doria Medina. (Note: Proceeds from the ransom paid to free Doria Medina reportedly funded the 1996 MRTA takeover of the Japanese Embassy in Lima. End Note.) Gonzalez publicly admitted financing the travel of 11 Peruvians to Quito with money from the Venezuelan organization "Casa Mariategui", according to press reports. The press has also linked Gonzalez to two individuals arrested (and released) for allegedly plotting to attack the US Ambassador's residence in early 2007. Two of the others detained in Tumbes are also allegedly former-MRTA militants, according to press reports.
7. (C) Despite the shady connections of some of the detainees, the government's public claims and pervasive rumors, the government has not yet published any clear evidence linking them to specific plans to disrupt the summit. Instead, they were charged with propagandizing for terrorists -- several were photographed in Quito protesting with signs praising the FARC, Sendero Luminoso, and MRTA. We have not seen any evidence corroborating the government's accusation, but various government officials, including the Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, have repeatedly stated that the government is in possession of such evidence.
Europeans Worried About Politicization, Confrontations --------------------------------------------- ---------
8. (C) Our colleagues in the European Union mission are more worried about the prospective politicization of anti-summit protests than about the likelihood of violence or an actual terrorist attack, which they believe is low. Ana Santos, a political officer at the EU Mission, says they fear that radical elements could hijack the protests and seek publicity by provoking confrontations with police, as happened in recent protests in Cusco (Ref A). EU mission officials are particularly concerned by the lack of an established dialogue mechanism between social movements and the government that would seek to prevent such occurrences. Anti-summit leader Miguel Palacin complained to the EU mission that the GOP appears intent on criminalizing democratic protests, which makes dialogue useless; the government in turn argues that protestors want only to undermine the government and to sully its international image. Santos adds that, in early March, an important and moderate NGO that focuses on sound proposals rather than confrontation or political publicity decided to withdraw from the anti-summit protests. The EU does not yet know why, but worries that this relatively responsible mainstream NGO became disillusioned by the radical and politicized motives of the protest organizers.
Comment: Genuine Risk That Radicals Will Hijack Protests --------------------------------------------- -----------
9. (C) If the recent agricultural strikes and the protests in Cusco are any indication, there is reason to believe that radical groups will attempt to hijack the coming anti EU-LAC summit protests and to seek publicity through confrontation. At the same time, the Peruvian government is aware of the protests planned for this summit and the subsequent APEC leaders meeting, and has decided to take a proactive, even preemptive, approach to addressing them. NEALON