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Cablegate: Uk Supportive of Wha Pdas Kelly's Views On Latin

VZCZCXYZ0000
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHLO #0727/01 0711737
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 111737Z MAR 08
FM AMEMBASSY LONDON
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7744
INFO RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ MAR 0040
RUEHBO/AMEMBASSY BOGOTA PRIORITY 0252
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS PRIORITY 0243
RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA PRIORITY 0360
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS PRIORITY
RUEHUB/USINT HAVANA PRIORITY 0035

C O N F I D E N T I A L LONDON 000727

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/10/2018
TAGS: PGOV PHUM PREL KDEM EU UK CO EC BR CU VE BL
SUBJECT: UK SUPPORTIVE OF WHA PDAS KELLY'S VIEWS ON LATIN
AMERICA

REF: LONDON 650

Classified By: Political Minister Counselor Maura Connelly, reason 1.4,
b/d.

1. (C) Summary. FCO Director of the Americas Chris Wood was
supportive of U.S. policy on Latin America, praising
progress in Colombia in particular during a visit by WHA PDAS
Craig Kelly March 7. Wood agreed Venezuela and Bolivia were
worrisome and that Cuba had not changed since Fidel's
illness. But, he said, the EU "was as polarized as ever" on
Cuba. HMG hoped the May EU-Latin America Summit would be
made more productive by limiting its focus to climate change
and poverty reduction, but Wood noted working with the region
was frustratingly slow. End Summary.

Colombia
--------

2. (C) FCO Director for the Americas Chris Wood told PDAS
Craig Kelly, during a March 7 visit to London, that the UK
supported U.S. efforts in Colombia, and he agreed that the
security situation there is "leagues ahead" of what it was
five years previously. HMG policy on Colombia is similarly
focused, albeit smaller in scale, and despite significant
domestic criticism, Wood believed the UK was "doing the right
thing." HMG had tried to counter that criticism, with some
success, by bringing Colombian labor leaders to the UK to
explain how much better the security situation is in their
country, despite continuing problems. While "nobody is above
reproach in Colombia," Wood said, one UK NGO, Justice for
Colombia, is beyond the pale in its criticism of the GOC.
HMG seeks to make that point apparent to critics of HMG
policy. In addition, HMG has told the Colombians they need
to do more for themselves to improve Colombia's image.

3. (C) Kelly had just come from Paris and said that officials
at the Quai and Elysee voiced support for President Uribe's
overall campaign against FARC terrorism. French officials,
however, also acknowledged that President Sarkozy's heavy
focus on the Ingrid Betancourt case had become the primary
focus of the GOF. That means that Colombian military actions
will be viewed in terms of how they affect the situation of
the hostages, and Betancourt in particular. Kelly noted
that, publicly and privately, he had underscored strong U.S.
support for Uribe's efforts against the FARC. In the
meantime, ratification of the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade
Agreement remained a top priority for the administration, and
we were going to great lengths to point out the progress that
President Uribe has made in stopping violence against labor
leaders and ending impunity for those who commit it.

Venezuela
---------

4. (C) Rupert Joy, FCO Head of the South America Team,
posited that the referendum in Venezuela had weakened
President Chavez, but the defeat did not signal "the
beginning of the end," as some observers speculated. Kelly
agreed that the opposition still lacked unity and that Chavez
continued his efforts to accumulate power. It was clear that
Chavez's continued verbal assaults on internal and external
opponents were costing him. Opposition to Chavez is growing
in the region, and the United States is letting that
opposition build up while refraining from responding to daily
diatribes, but remaining very clear about the importance of
democratic principles. Our friends in the region strongly
support that approach, Kelly added.

Bolivia
-------

5. (C) Kelly expressed concern about Bolivia, particularly
President Morales' handling of the constitutional reform
process. The USG has tried to send the signal that there are
concrete areas where we can cooperate, especially on
counternarcotics, but Morales has chosen to use the United
States as a foil in his attacks on the opposition. Kelly
noted that the United States appreciates any European efforts
to press Morales to refrain from using the United States as a
tool and to govern according to the principles of the
InterAmerican Democratic Charter. Wood noted that Morales
often tells HMG that there are even more radical elements
waiting in the wings, so HMG should appreciate the domestic
opposition Morales must accommodate. Kelly and Wood agreed
that Bolivia is critical to energy security in a region where
supply and demand do not seem to link up.

Cuba
----

6. (C) Responding to Kelly's question, Wood said that HMG had
objected to the European Commission giving Commissioner Louis
Michel a "carte blanche" during his visit to Cuba (ref A).
Rather he should have a clear EU policy to implement, but on
Cuba, the EU was as polarized as ever. Wood did not know how
Michel would balance meeting the opposition as well as the
regime. The regime had taken a hard line of late, refusing
to meet with officials who insist on meeting with the
opposition. HMG suspected Michel would have one of his staff
meet opposition leaders, so that Michel would be able to meet
with the regime. Wood and Kelly agreed that little or
nothing had changed in Cuba. Wood said there were some in
the EU that sought further openings with the regime despite
the lack of change. Joy asserted that much would depend on
the Spanish elections. Wood noted that the issue of Cuba
will be avoided during the May EU-Latin America Summit, which
gives EU members only one month to prepare for review of the
Common Position in June.

7. (C) Kelly reminded HMG that U.S. policy on Cuba has
bipartisan support. We want to see a real transition toward
democracy and an immediate release of all political
prisoners, Kelly told his British counterparts. The United
States feels strongly that the dissidents and the Cuban
people must know there is international support behind their
cause. Kelly noted the InterAmerican Democratic Charter is
useful in pressuring OAS members to support democracy in
Cuba.

EU in Latin America
-------------------

8. (C) Wood noted that the EU's progress on a trade deal with
the Andean countries was painfully slow. Peru and Colombia
were "exasperated" by their regional neighbors. Nevertheless
the EU was committed to achieving a deal with the entire
bloc. Kelly noted that trade competition was healthy and
wished the EU well.

9. (C) Wood said the EU-Latin America Summits tend to be long
on speeches and short on achievements. Therefore, the EU was
trying to focus May's summit on two manageable issues --
climate change and poverty reduction. HMG hoped limiting
the focus would make the summit "meaty and practical," but
Wood was not confident anything would come of it. He added
that Brazil was a critical voice on these topics because it
was not a huge carbon emitter but would disproportionately
feel the effects of climate change. All the countries were
keen to discuss poverty reduction. Kelly said the Santiago
Summit had achieved quite a lot, despite the headlines, and
hoped the EU would succeed in focusing on concrete issues.

10. (U) PDAS Kelly has cleared this cable.

Visit London's Classified Website:
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/eur/london/index. cfm
TUTTLE

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