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Cablegate: Media Reaction -- Colombia-Ecuador Conflict

VZCZCXYZ1766
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHSG #0217 0671658
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 071658Z MAR 08
FM AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 2876
INFO RUEHBO/AMEMBASSY BOGOTA 1976
RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA 0219
RUEHBU/AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES 0840
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS 1683
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ MAR LIMA 5488
RUEHME/AMEMBASSY MEXICO 1220
RUEHQT/AMEMBASSY QUITO 1823
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC

UNCLAS SANTIAGO 000217

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR IIP/G/WHA, INR/R/MR, WHA/BSC, WHA/PDA, INR/IAA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OPRC KMDR KPAO PGOV PREL PTER VE CI
SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION -- COLOMBIA-ECUADOR CONFLICT

REF: A) Santiago 215, B) Santiago 216

1. Summary: Chilean dailies on March 7 continued with their
extensive coverage of the crisis between Colombia and Ecuador.
On-line "El Mostrador" announced Secretary of State Condoleezza
Rice's visit to Chile and Brazil, quoting spokesman Tom Casey that
she would address the crisis in all her meetings. Dailies reported
that the OAS resolution had "diffused" the conflict and quoted
Foreign Minister Foxley underscoring that the OAS resolution is just
the first step in a complex process to resolve the crisis. One
daily reported President Bachelet's "veiled criticism" of Chavez.
"El Mercurio" ran an editorial noting that the OAS resolution should
have included a statement condemning the FARC's activities. End
Summary.

2. Independent on-line news service "El Mostrador" reported that
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will travel to Brazil and Chile

SIPDIS
on March 13-15 to discuss economic and cooperation issues as well as
the diplomatic crisis involving Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela, and
now Nicaragua. Department of State spokesman Tom Casey said the
trip was planned some time before, but has acquired new relevance in
light of the conflict. He said the crisis with Colombia would be
addressed in the meetings.

3. Conservative and independent "La Tercera" (circ. 101,000)
reported on regional efforts: The OAS resolution defused the
conflict for now by not condemning Colombia, recognizing the
violation of Ecuador's territory, and authorizing the OAS Secretary
General to travel to the area of conflict, and present an agreement
to the Foreign Ministers of the region on March 17.

4. Conservative and influential newspaper-of-record El Mercurio
(circ. 129,000) and "La Tercera" noted GOC statements: Foreign
Affairs Minister Alejandro Foxley said the OAS resolution is just
the "first step of a long-term" process to resolve the crisis. The
resolution, he said, "is to avoid an escalation, but now comes the
more difficult part."

5. "La Tercera" reported on President Bachelet's remarks and veiled
criticism of Hugo Chavez before departing for the Rio Group Summit:
"No country must intervene or meddle in the internal affairs (of
another country). Any initiative that creates polarization or
increases tension in a country's internal situation or among
countries is not the best solution."

6. El Mercurio ran an editorial critical of the FARC and Chavez
titled, "Crisis in the Region."

7. "At the root of the problem lies the FARC's and its activities
... tied to narcotics trafficking, murders, and kidnappings, and its
mobilization into neighbor countries.... President Chavez has given
the FARC the status of insurgents.... The new government of Ecuador
has denied them that status, but has not shown the zeal it should in
persecuting or condemning the FARC.... The violation of Ecuador's
territory occurred in this context.... It's true that an incursion
does not bear the threat of a permanent presence... but the
principles of non-intervention and respect for borders must be
upheld always.

8. "Ecuador must be supported in its complaint... but there should
also be a rejection of the undue presence of the FARC in foreign
territory.... The OAS resolution seems to be achieving some
appeasing results... but has omitted rejecting the activity of
terrorist organizations.... This regional crisis should lead to a
reaffirmation of the principles of non-intervention, rejection of
terrorism and its intervention, and that countries must not take
extremist position in situations of disagreement. In this regard,
we should criticize Venezuela's undue intervention and provocation."


SIMONS

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