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Cablegate: Fm Morales and Oas Rep On Rio Group, Oas

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OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHDG #0373/01 0732132
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 132132Z MAR 08
FM AMEMBASSY SANTO DOMINGO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0332
INFO RUEHZA/WHA CENTRAL AMERICAN COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHBO/AMEMBASSY BOGOTA PRIORITY 1698
RUEHWN/AMEMBASSY BRIDGETOWN PRIORITY 2156
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS PRIORITY 0887
RUEHGE/AMEMBASSY GEORGETOWN PRIORITY 1070
RUEHKG/AMEMBASSY KINGSTON PRIORITY 2853
RUEHPE/AMEMBASSY LIMA PRIORITY 0309
RUEHME/AMEMBASSY MEXICO PRIORITY 1137
RUEHPO/AMEMBASSY PARAMARIBO PRIORITY 1197
RUEHPU/AMEMBASSY PORT AU PRINCE PRIORITY 4805
RUEHSP/AMEMBASSY PORT OF SPAIN PRIORITY 1898
RUEHQT/AMEMBASSY QUITO PRIORITY 0390
RUEHUB/USINT HAVANA PRIORITY 0176
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RUMISTA/CDR USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL PRIORITY

id: 145755
date: 3/13/2008 21:32
refid: 08SANTODOMINGO373
origin: Embassy Santo Domingo
classification: CONFIDENTIAL//NOFORN
destination: 08STATE25971
header:
VZCZCXYZ0000
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHDG #0373/01 0732132
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 132132Z MAR 08
FM AMEMBASSY SANTO DOMINGO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0332
INFO RUEHZA/WHA CENTRAL AMERICAN COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHBO/AMEMBASSY BOGOTA PRIORITY 1698
RUEHWN/AMEMBASSY BRIDGETOWN PRIORITY 2156
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS PRIORITY 0887
RUEHGE/AMEMBASSY GEORGETOWN PRIORITY 1070
RUEHKG/AMEMBASSY KINGSTON PRIORITY 2853
RUEHPE/AMEMBASSY LIMA PRIORITY 0309
RUEHME/AMEMBASSY MEXICO PRIORITY 1137
RUEHPO/AMEMBASSY PARAMARIBO PRIORITY 1197
RUEHPU/AMEMBASSY PORT AU PRINCE PRIORITY 4805
RUEHSP/AMEMBASSY PORT OF SPAIN PRIORITY 1898
RUEHQT/AMEMBASSY QUITO PRIORITY 0390
RUEHUB/USINT HAVANA PRIORITY 0176
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RUMISTA/CDR USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL PRIORITY


----------------- header ends ----------------

C O N F I D E N T I A L SANTO DOMINGO 000373

SIPDIS

NOFORN
SIPDIS

STATE FOR WHA/CAR AND USOAS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/01/2018
TAGS: PREL PTER PGOV PHUM CO EC DR
SUBJECT: FM MORALES AND OAS REP ON RIO GROUP, OAS
MINISTERIAL, HR REPORT

REF: STATE 25971

Classified By: P. Robert Fannin, Ambassador, Reasons 1.4(b), (d)

1. (C/NF) Summary: In a March 12 meeting with the
Ambassador, Foreign Minister Morales described the successful
outcome of the Rio Group Summit as a "team effort."
Responding to Reftel demarche on the OAS Ministerial, Morales
cautioned against any action that could scuttle the peace
gains that the Dominicans helped achieve. Morales also
strongly criticized the Human Rights Report and alleged it
was a U.S. response to "the success of the Dominican Republic
in the Rio Group." The XXXXXXXXXXX gave Post
further details on the Rio Group Summit's dynamics and said
he had proposed to Secretary-General Insulza the idea of
joint patrols on Colombia's borders accompanied by OAS
civilians. End summary.

Human Rights Report
-------------------

2. (C/NF) In the March 12 meeting, Foreign Minister Morales
Troncoso was accompanied by Deputy FM Manuel Trullols and the
Ambassador was joined by the DCM and POLOFF. The Ambassador
had requested the meeting to seek a readout of the Rio Group
Summit; however, Morales immediately began a spirited
criticism of the Human Rights Report. Clearly perturbed, but
citing few specifics, Morales described the report as "very,
very bad" and "a low blow." "We are in an election campaign
here -- you need to think about who's your friend and who's
your enemy.... Your friends are confused."

3. (C/NF) Referring to a recent United Nations meeting in
Geneva, in which reports of the UN Special Rapporteur on
racism and Independent Expert on minority issues were
discussed, the Foreign Minister said, "At least they gave us
a chance to comment; you didn't." Morales said the Human
Rights Report was overly reliant on information provided by
NGOs, including groups led by activists Father Christopher
Hartley and Sonia Pierre, individuals that he described as
"divisive." "How can we be racist if we are of mixed blood?
There is no discrimination here." (Note: In comments to the
press on March 12, Morales linked the Report and the Rio
Group Summit, stating "that report is the product of the
success that the Dominican Republic achieved in the Rio
Group, and that upset them (the U.S.)." End note.)

4. (C/NF) Turning to the Trafficking in Persons Report, the
Foreign Minister complained that, "this is costing us money
-- we had to hire lawyers," and said that he planned to meet
with these legal advisers in Washington next week.

5. (C/NF) The DCM explained to Morales that the Report had
been embargoed and noted that the UN's Geneva meeting also
reviewed U.S. record on race issues. POLOFF added that the
release date is the same for all countries and is unrelated
to the timing of the Dominican presidential election. The
DCM suggested that if the Foreign Minister sought to provide
additional input for the TIP Report, that he should consider
meeting with G/TIP Ambassador Lagon while in Washington.
Morales replied that he did not have time for such a meeting.

Rio Group Summit
----------------

6. (C/NF) Turning to the original purpose for the meeting,
the Ambassador congratulated Morales for the success of the
Rio Group Summit. Morales said that the outcome was a "team
effort," citing positive contributions from the Presidents of
Mexico, Panama, Honduras, Peru, and El Salvador. He said
that the discussion between Presidents Fernandez and Uribe
over dinner had played an important role in resolving the

conflict. He described Uribe as a "good statesman, but also
tough."

7. (C/NF) In a separate meeting with POLOFF on March 13, the
XXXXXXXXXXX in the Dominican Republic, XXXXXXXXXXXX
provided additional details on the
dynamics at the Summit. XXXXXXXXXXX, a XXXXXXXXXXX national, said
that he was the only XXXXXXXXXXXX present at the meeting.
The presidents, eager to get to the Colombia-Ecuador issue,
worked quickly through the original agenda, which included
Dominican advocacy for Haiti to join the Rio Group, which was
approved.

8. (C/NF) XXXXXXXXXXXX said that President Correa, the first
speaker to address the conflict in South America, denounced
"unilateralism" and called Uribe a "liar." The OAS
Representative described Uribe's response as "very effective"
because Uribe cited specific details regarding the FARC's
operations in Ecuador based on the information in Raul Reyes'
recovered personal computer. The Colombian's style was
initially "intellectual," but "heated up" as he went on,
eventually speaking for more than an hour. President Ortega
of Nicaragua complicated the affair by raising Colombia's
separate territorial dispute with his country. In contrast,
XXXXXXXXXXX said, President Chavez's interventions were less
combative than he expected, considering Chavez's behavior at
previous international meetings.

9. (C/NF) XXXXXXXXXXX said that as the Summit continued, working
through lunch, President Calderon of Mexico made very helpful
interventions. President Kirchner of Argentina also helped
the movement toward resolution; however, she also managed to
slip in a biting critique of "unilateralism." The
discussion, XXXXXXXXXXX said, struck him as more open and frank
than OAS meetings, which he attributed to the absence of
United States and Canada.

10. (C/NF) XXXXXXXXXXXX said that, as chairman, Fernandez played
the key role in reaching a successful conclusion to the
Summit. At the crucial moment, Fernandez spoke about the
need for Latin American unity, cited Uribe's apology, and
claimed that Uribe had pledged not to take similar action in
the future. The Dominican President then invited Uribe and
Correa to embrace and shake hands, and called on the other
Presidents to stand and applaud. This final suggestion was
masterful, XXXXXXXXXXX argued, because once the other Presidents
rose and applauded, Uribe and Correa has no choice but to
embrace and shake hands. Then Ortega again complicated
matters by asking what would be done to address Nicaragua's
territorial concerns; however, Uribe diffused the issue by
pledging not to deploy Colombian forces beyond a specific
geographic coordinate. (Note: XXXXXXXXXXXX said he could not
recall the precise coordinate).

11. (C/NF) XXXXXXXXXXX also told POLOFF that, during
Secretary-General Insulza's refueling stop here on March 12,

SIPDIS
XXXXXXXXXXX had presented to the OAS leader a plan for calming
tensions between Colombia and its neighbors. XXXXXXXXXXX
proposal is for joint patrols by the militaries of Colombia
and Ecuador/Venezuela, which would be accompanied by civilian
officials from the OAS. The fact that the OAS officials
would be civilians would address Uribe's stated refusal to
allow "international peace forces" into the area, XXXXXXXXXXX
argued.

OAS Ministerial
---------------

12. (C/NF) In their March 12 meeting, the Ambassador also
delivered Reftel demarche on the OAS Ministerial, emphasizing
that the Consultation of Ministers should be forward-looking
and should address the transnational threats that continue to

pose a significant threat to peace and stability in the
region. Morales said that he would be attending the meeting
and that the findings from Insulza's trip to South America
were likely to be the primary point of discussion. The FARC
is a "narco-terrorist group;" however, "we need to be careful
on Monday because everyone thinks things were solved here (at
the Summit).... Things have quieted down -- let's not go
back."

Comment
-------

13. (C/NF) The vehemence of Morales' attack on the Human
Rights Report struck us as over the top, even for a Foreign
Minister known for aggressive defense of his country's human
rights record. And he knows that the Report's release is
unrelated to the presidential election here. Regarding his
claim that the Report is a response to the successful Rio
Group Summit, Post plans to issue a press release restating
the U.S. position on the Colombia-Ecuador issue. While we
can only speculate, Morales' outburst may have been motivated
by chagrin that the positive press that the country was
receiving after the Rio Group did not play out for longer, in
part because it was displaced by coverage of the Human Rights
Report. Regarding Morales' linking of the Report and the Rio
Group, this may have been a tactic designed to make his
critique of the U.S. be the main story, as opposed to the
content of the Report receiving all of the headlines.

(U) This report and additional information can be found on
Embassy Santo Domingo's SIPRNET site,
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/wha/santodomingo/
FANNIN

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