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Cablegate: Argentina: More Public Diplomacy Resources Needed

VZCZCXRO8357
PP RUEHCD RUEHGA RUEHGD RUEHHA RUEHHO RUEHMC RUEHQU RUEHTM RUEHVC
DE RUEHBU #0343/01 0781536
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 181536Z MAR 08
FM AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0498
INFO RUCNMRC/WESTERN HEMISPHERIC AFFAIRS DIPL POSTS PRIORITY

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 BUENOS AIRES 000343

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

FOR D (NEGROPONTE), WHA/PDA (BARNES), ECA (FARRELL), R (WELCH)

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OIIP KPAO OEXC SCUL AR
SUBJECT: ARGENTINA: MORE PUBLIC DIPLOMACY RESOURCES NEEDED

1. THIS CABLE CONTAINS AN ACTION REQUEST: SEE PARAGRAPH 11.

2. SUMMARY: THE LEVEL OF ANTI-AMERICANISM IN ARGENTINA IS THE
HIGHEST IN THE WESTERN HEMISPHERE. WE ARE WORKING HARD TO REVERSE
OUR NEGATIVE IMAGE. WE HAVE MADE THIS THE MISSION'S HIGHEST
PRIORITY, AND WE BELIEVE WE HAVE FOUND A FORMULA FOR SUCCESS THROUGH
YOUTH EXCHANGES AND ENGLISH TEACHING, AS WELL AS THROUGH INCREASED
COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT AND MEDIA OUTREACH. TO MAXIMIZE SUCCESS,
HOWEVER, WE NEED MORE, AND MORE CONSISTENTLY AVAILABLE, RESOURCES
AND SEEK WASHINGTON SUPPORT IN OBTAINING THEM. END SUMMARY.

ANTI-AMERICANISM IN ARGENTINA
-----------------------------

3. THE LEVEL OF ANTI-AMERICANISM I ARGENTINA IS THE HIGHEST IN THE
REGION. THE NEGATIVE IMAGE OF THE U.S. STEMS IN PART FROM THE
PERCEPTION THAT AMERICA IS A SELF-INTERESTED SUPERPOWER THAT ACTS
UNILATERALLY AND WITH A HEAVY, AT TIMES BELLIGERENT, HAND ON THE
WORLD STAGE. OUR HIGH NEGATIVES BEAR IMPORTANT ANCILLARY COSTS. A
NUMBER OF TOP GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL LEADERS, FOR EXAMPLE, HAVE
DISCOVERED THERE IS POLITICAL GOLD DOMESTICALLY IN PUBLICLY BASHING
THE UNITED STATES FROM TIME TO TIME. THESE OUTBURSTS RESULT IN ANY
MOMENTUM GAINED IN THE BILATERAL RELATIONSHIP GRINDING TO A HALT.
JUST LAST DECEMBER AND JANUARY, THE MISSION ENDURED THE LATEST AND
MOST DIFFICULT ITERATION OF THIS PATTERN. PERHAPS MORE TROUBLESOME
IS THE FACT THAT OUR LOW APPROVAL RATINGS HAVE PERSISTED FOR SIX
CONSECUTIVE YEARS. WE FEAR THAT ANTI-AMERICANISM IN ARGENTINA IS NOW
BECOMING REFLEXIVE, A DEVELOPMENT THAT MAY, IF IT CONTINUES, BEGIN
TO COLOR HOW ARGENTINES VIEW NOT JUST OUR POLICIES, BUT ALSO OUR
CULTURE, VALUES, AND THE AMERICAN PEOPLE THEMSELVES. NEEDLESS TO
SAY, SUCH A DEVELOPMENT IN THE HEMISPHERE4S THIRD MOST POPULOUS
SPANISH-SPEAKING COUNTRY WOULD BE DISASTROUS FOR LONG-TERM U.S.
INTERESTS IN THE REGION.

INVESTING IN YOUTH TO COMBAT ANTI-AMERICANISM
---------------------------------------------

4. IN ORDER TO COMBAT THE CORROSIVE EFFECTS OF ANTI-AMERICANISM
HERE, WE NEED TO PRESENT OUR NATION IN A DIFFERENT LIGHT - AS
INTERESTED, ENGAGED, AND DEDICATED TO PROPOSING POLICIES AND FINDING
SOLUTIONS THAT HELP AVERAGE CITIZENS, ESPECIALLY THE YOUNG AND
DISADVANTAGED, IMPROVE THE QUALITY OF THEIR LIVES. IN SHORT, WE NEED
TO PROMOTE LOCALLY THE UNITED STATES' SOCIAL JUSTICE PROGRAM FOR THE
AMERICAS. THERE IS NO BETTER WAY TO DO THIS THAN THROUGH TARGETED
PUBLIC DIPLOMACY PROGRAMS THAT DEMONSTRATE OUR INVESTMENT IN YOUTH,
THE NEXT GENERATION OF THIS COUNTRY'S LEADERS. IN ADDITION TO BEING
LIFE-CHANGING EXPERIENCES FOR THE PARTICIPANTS THEMSELVES, MANY OF
WHOM COME FROM MARGINALIZED COMMUNITIES OUTSIDE THE CAPITAL, THESE
PROGRAMS HAVE PROVEN EFFECTIVE PUBLIC AFFAIRS TOOLS. THEY GENERATE
FOR THE POST AND FOR OUR COUNTRY A STEADY STREAM OF POSITIVE PRESS
COVERAGE, AS WE ROUTINELY PUBLICIZE OUR PROGRAMS THROUGH PRESS
CONFERENCES AND PRESS RELEASES.

5. EMBASSY BUENOS AIRES HAS IN THE LAST TWO YEARS COMMITTED
SIGNIFICANT RESOURCES TO YOUTH PROGRAMMING. WE HAVE EITHER CREATED,
OR PARTICIPATED IN FOR THE FIRST TIME, EIGHT NEW PROGRAMS DESIGNED
TO OFFER ARGENTINE YOUTH THE OPPORTUNITY TO TRAVEL TO THE U.S.,
STUDY ENGLISH, ATTEND SEMINARS, OR RECEIVE TRAINING OR EDUCATIONAL
MATERIALS. IN FY 2007, POST WAS ABLE TO SEND JUST OVER 100 ARGENTINE
YOUTH TO THE U.S. ON A VARIETY OF EXCHANGE PROGRAMS. THIS REPRESENTS
A 39% INCREASE OVER FY 2006. OUR MOST IMPORTANT SUCH PROGRAM IS THE
YOUTH AMBASSADOR (YA) PROGRAM, WHICH WE JUST CONDUCTED FOR THE
SECOND CONSECUTIVE YEAR.

INVESTMENT IN ENGLISH LEARNING PROGRAMS
---------------------------------------

6. AS A COROLLARY TO OUR YOUTH EXCHANGE PROGRAMS, POST HAS ALSO
INVESTED CONSIDERABLE RESOURCES IN PROMOTING ENGLISH LEARNING. WE
SEE YOUTH EXCHANGES AND ENGLISH LEARNING AS LINKED BECAUSE WE HOPE,
THROUGH TARGETED ENGLISH PROGRAMS, TO EXPAND THE POOL OF BILINGUAL
STUDENTS AVAILABLE TO PARTICIPATE IN OUR YOUTH EXCHANGE PROGRAMS.
OUR TWO MOST SUCCESSFUL SUCH PROGRAMS ARE THE TEACHER AMBASSADOR
PROGRAM AND THE SARMIENTO-MANN ENGLISH LEARNING SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM.
UNDER THE TEACHER AMBASSADOR PROGRAM, WE OFFER SCHOLARSHIPS FOR
SECONDARY SCHOOL ENGLISH-LANGUAGE TEACHERS TO PARTICIPATE IN A TWO
WEEK STUDY PROGRAM AT THE TEXAS INTERNATIONAL EDUCATION CONSORTIUM
IN AUSTIN, TEXAS. THE OBJECTIVE OF THE PROGRAM IS TO FOSTER A BETTER
UNDERSTANDING OF THE UNITED STATES; PROMOTE INCORPORATION OF
U.S.-CONTENT TEACHING MATERIALS INTO THE TEACHERS' PEDAGOGY; AND TO
ESTABLISH ONGOING RELATIONSHIPSBETWEEN ENGLISH TEACHERS IN
ARGENTINA AND THE UNITED STATES. THE SARMIENTO-MANN
MICRO-SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM PERMITS STUDENTS WITH LIMITED FINANCIAL
MEANS TO STUDY ENGLISH AT BINATIONAL CENTERS (BNCS) THROUGHOUT THE
COUNTRY. LAST YEAR, THE EMBASSY FUNDED 60 SUCH SCHOLARSHIPS AT
VARIOUS BNCS.

COMMUNITY OUTREACH
------------------

7. THE EMBASSY'S PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICE HAS ALSO LAUNCHED A NEW

BUENOS AIR 00000343 002 OF 003


COMMUNITY ACTION PROGRAM (CAP) DESIGNED, LIKE THE YOUTH EXCHANGE AND
ENGLISH LEARNING PROGRAMS, TO PRESENT THE U.S. IN A MORE POSITIVE
LIGHT. CAP BRINGS THE AMBASSADOR AND OTHER EMBASSY OFFICERS TO
SCHOOLS, ORPHANAGES, COMMUNITY LIBRARIES, DRUG TREATMENT CENTERS,
HOMES FOR AT RISK WOMEN AND YOUTH, AND OTHER SUCH INSTITUTIONS IN
THE BARRIOS OF BUENOS AIRES TO DONATE BOOKS, COMPUTERS, SCHOOL
SUPPLIES AND OTHER NEEDED MATERIALS. THE GOAL IS TO DEEPEN OUR
ENGAGEMENT WITH THE COMMUNITY, AND ESPECIALLY WITH YOUTH FROM
DISADVANTAGED BACKGROUNDS. THE AMBASSADOR HAS ALSO INCLUDED A BOOK
DONATION OR SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY EVENT ON EVERY VISIT HE HAS MADE
TO THE PROVINCES.

PRESS OUTREACH
--------------

8. THE EMBASSY HAS BEEN VERY AGGRESSIVE, AND VERY SUCCESSFUL, IN
PUBLICIZING PROGRAMS DESIGNED TO CHANGE THE WAY PEOPLE IN ARGENTINA
THINK ABOUT AMERICA. WE HAVE TRIPLED PRESS PLACEMENTS SINCE 2005,
AND WE HAVE SEEN A CORRESPONDING INCREASE IN POSITIVE EDITORIAL
COMMENT ON ISSUES INVOLVING THE U.S. MAINTAINING THIS POSITIVE PRESS
MOMENTUM IS A MISSION PRIORITY.

NEEDED: MORE FUNDING
--------------------

9. POST HAS BEEN FORTUNATE OVER THESE LAST TWO YEARS TO HAVE BEEN
ABLE TO SUPPLEMENT ITS OWN FUNDING ON THESE PROGRAMS WITH FINANCIAL
SUPPORT FROM WASHINGTON, PARTICULARLY FROM WHA/PDA, FOR WHICH WE ARE
VERY GRATEFUL. WE BELIEVE, HOWEVER, THAT WE NEED MORE AND MORE
CONSISTENTLY AVAILABLE FUNDING IF WE ARE GOING TO REVERSE OUR
NEGATIVE IMAGE HERE. OUR EXPERIENCE IS THAT THE PUBLIC AFFAIRS
BENEFIT OF THESE PROGRAMS FAR EXCEEDS THE RELATIVELY SMALL FINANCIAL
INVESTMENT THEY REQUIRE, SO THE AMOUNT OF MONEY WE ARE LOOKING FOR
IS NOT GREAT. WE ESTIMATE, FOR EXAMPLE, THAT THE TOTAL COST OF
SENDING 5 KIDS ON THE YA PROGRAM IN 2007 WAS LESS THAN $40,000. IN
2008, WE ARE SENDING 12 YOUTH AMBASSADORS, TEN FINANCED BY
WASHINGTON AND TWO BY THE POST. IN BOTH CASES, WASHINGTON FUNDING
FOR THE YA PROGRAM, HOWEVER, CAME ABOUT IN AN AD HOC FASHION. IF WE
ARE GOING TO "BRAND" THIS PROGRAM IN ARGENTINA IN THE SAME
SUCCESSFUL WAY BRAZIL HAS DONE, WE WILL NEED TO HAVE MORE
CONSISTENTLY AVAILABLE FUNDING GOING FORWARD. AS THIS IS BEING
WRITTEN, POST HAS NO WAY OF KNOWING, FOR EXAMPLE, WHETHER ARGENTINA
WILL BE ON THE LIST TO RECEIVE MONEY FOR A 2009 YA PROGRAM. WE
REQUEST WASHINGTON CONSIDER "ADOPTING" THE PROGRAM FOR THIS POST AND
FOR THE REGION AS A WHOLE, EITHER BY HOUSING IT IN ECA OR SEEKING
COMBINED R AND WHA/PDA RESOURCES TO ENSURE CONTINUITY OF FUNDING.

POST BUDGET SQUEEZE
-------------------

10. THE COST OF 60 SARMIENTO-MANN SCHOLARSHIPS IN 2007 WAS
APPROXIMATELY $20,000 IN ARGENTINA. WE PLAN TO DOUBLE THE NUMBER OF
SCHOLARSHIPS THIS YEAR TO 120 AND REQUESTED WASHINGTON FUNDING TO
HELP US DO SO. WE WERE ADVISED, HOWEVER, THAT ECA HAS NO FUNDS
BUDGETED FOR MICRO-SCHOLARSHIPS FOR WHA IN 2007, FUNDS FOR ONLY 4
WHA POSTS IN 2008, AND THAT ADDITIONAL POSTS WILL COME ON LINE IN
2009. WHAT THIS MEANS IS THAT WE WILL HAVE TO FUND THIS PROGRAM,
CENTRAL TO OUR PUBLIC DIPLOMACY MISSION HERE, ENTIRELY FROM THE
POST'S BUDGET. SIMILARLY, WE REQUESTED WASHINGTON ASSISTANCE TO HELP
FUND A REGIONAL TEACHER AMBASSADOR PROGRAM IN JANUARY. WE WERE
ADVISED THAT NO MONEY WAS AVAILABLE, SO ARGENTINA AND CHILE BORE ALL
THE COSTS OURSELVES. THE MORE PROGRAMS WE TRY TO "BRAND" USING POST
FUNDING ONLY, HOWEVER, THE LESS FLEXIBILITY WE END UP HAVING IN
MANAGING OUR REMAINING LIMITED RESOURCES. THIS IS EVEN MORE THE CASE
AS WE FACE INFLATION WIDELY ESTIMATED AT NEARLY 20% OVER THE LAST
YEAR, INCREASING OUR COSTS SIGNIFICANTLY.

PROGRAMMATIC AREAS FOR ADDITIONAL FUNDING
-----------------------------------------

11. IN OUR RECENTLY SUBMITTED MISSION STRATEGIC PLAN FOR FY 2010,
POST IDENTIFIED THE REVERSAL OF THIS COUNTRY'S DEEPLY INGRAINED
ANTI-AMERICAN SENTIMENT AS OUR TOP PRIORITY AND IDENTIFIED SPECIFIC
PROGRAMMATIC AREAS WHERE WE NEED SUPPLEMENTAL FUNDING (OUR REQUEST
WAS FOR US550,000) TO ACHIEVE THIS OBJECTIVE. WE HAVE LISTED THESE
PROGRAMS BELOW IN PRIORITY ORDER AND REQUEST WASHINGTON ASSISTANCE
IN ALLOCATING THE ADDITIONAL RESOURCES NECESSARY FOR US TO IMPLEMENT
THEM:

A) 12 YOUTH AMBASSADORS: $75,000
B) 20 TEACHER AMBASSADORS: $50,000
C) ENGLISH TEACHING FELLOW TO DEVELOP A NATIONAL ENGLISH CURRICULUM,
AT THE MINISTRY OF EDUCATION'S REQUEST: $15,000
D) ENGLISH TEACHING ASSISTANTS (YOUNG U.S. STUDENTS WHO TEACH
ENGLISH AT LOCAL TEACHER TRAINING COLLEGES): $20,000
E) EIGHT S&T SPECIALISTS IN CURRICULUM DEVELOPMENT, FROM ARGENTINE
UNIVERSITIES TO THE U.S. FOR EXCHANGE, AT MINISTRY OF SCIENCE &
TECHNOLOGY REQUEST: $40,000
F) COMMUNITY ACTION DONATIONS: $40,000
G) SPORTS --10 HIGH SCHOOL GIRLS SOCCER EXCHANGE: $40,000
H) U.S. STUDIES SEMINARS IN ARGENTINA, ONE SEMINAR FOR EACH TYPE OF

BUENOS AIR 00000343 003 OF 003


AUDIENCE (JOURNALISTS, TEACHERS, YOUNG LEADERS, PROFESSIONALS):
$100,000
I) REPORTING TOURS TO THE UNITED STATES FOR JOURNALISTS: $40,000
J) SCIENCE CAMP (10 HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS): $50,000
K) MUSIC EXCHANGE (10 HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS): $40,000
L) DANCE EXCHANGE (10 HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS): $40,000
M) ENGLISH CLASSES FOR JOURNALISTS (FOUR CLASSES PER YEAR): $5,000

12. COMMENT: POST UNDERSTANDS THAT WE ARE IN A TIGHT BUDGET
ENVIRONMENT, BUT URGES WASHINGTON TO CONSIDER THE IMPACT THAT A
MODEST INFUSION OF FUNDS CAN HAVE IN A COUNTRY LIKE ARGENTINA.
PROGRAMS THAT REACH OUT TO THE YOUNG AND THE UNDERSERVED CAN HAVE A
DRAMATIC IMPACT HERE, NOT JUST ON THE INDIVIDUALS INVOLVED BUT ON A
WIDER AUDIENCE WHO SHARE THE EXPERIENCE THROUGH THE MEDIA. WE HAVE
WORKED HARD TO BE A LEADER IN CREATING INNOVATIVE PROGRAMS, SEVERAL
OF THEM REGIONAL IN NATURE, THAT PROMOTE THE VISION OF THE
ADMINISTRATION'S POSITIVE MESSAGE TO THE REGION. ADDITIONAL
RESOURCES WOULD ALLOW US TO EXPAND THE REACH OF THAT MESSAGE AND IN
THE PROCESS CHIP AWAY AT AN UNHEALTHY, PERSISTENT, AND PERVASIVE
ANTI-AMERICANISM IN THE COUNTRY. END COMMENT.

13. TO SEE MORE BUENOS AIRES REPORTING, VISIT OUR CLASSIFIED WEBSITE
AT:
HTTP://WWW.STATE.SQOV.GOV/P/WHA/BUENOSAIRES

WAYNE

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