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Cablegate: Media Reaction: Western Hemisphere: Crisis Between Colombia

VZCZCXYZ0109
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHSO #0104/01 0641204
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 041204Z MAR 08
FM AMCONSUL SAO PAULO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7967
INFO RHEHNSC/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA PRIORITY 9117
RUEHRI/AMCONSUL RIO DE JANEIRO PRIORITY 8619
RUCPDOC/USDOC WASHDC 3042

UNCLAS SAO PAULO 000104

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE INR/R/MR; IIP/R/MR; WHA/PD

DEPT PASS USTR

USDOC 4322/MAC/OLAC/JAFEE
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KMDR OPRC OIIP ETRD BR
SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION: WESTERN HEMISPHERE: CRISIS BETWEEN COLOMBIA
AND ECUADOR; SAO PAULO


1. "Time For diplomacy"

Liberal, largest national circulation daily Folha de S. Paulo
editorialized (3/4): "Colombia owes an explanation to Ecuador and
the international community for having violated Ecuadorian
territory.... No one questions Bogota's right to harass the FARC, a
Marxist guerrilla that has become a gang of bandits that finance
their actions with drug trafficking.... The need to fight the FARC,
however, does not give Colombia the right to invade a neighboring
nation to capture or kill guerrillas, even if they are camped on the
other side of the border.... Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa is
right to demand from his colleague Alvaro Uribe a firm commitment
that such operations will not happen again.... The Uribe
administration's reasoning that Ecuador would be providing refugee
to FARC members is part of a diversionist maneuver.... Chvez's
attitude of sending troops to the border with Colombian was
irresponsible. While the world diplomatic efforts are engaged in
facilitating an understanding between Colombia and Ecuador, the
Caracas' caudillo went beyond his irresponsibility and made the
situation even more explosive.... Neighboring nations must help
Colombia in its fight against the FARC. Nothing justifies open or
veiled support for a criminal organization that kidnaps and
murders."

2. "Serious Diplomatic Crisis In Brazil's Neighborhood"

Business-oriented Valor Economico maintained (3/4): "There is little
doubt whether Alvaro Uribe violated Ecuadorian territory and
sovereignty. A right winger that has been antagonized by neighboring
nations and that has the support and arms provided by the USG to
fight drug trafficking, Uribe has not given up tough actions against
the FARC.... Uribe's action gave Chvez the pretext he needed to
once again demonstrate his inclination for irresponsible gestures
and his alliance with the FARC.... In his rhetoric, Chvez was
accompanied by Fidel Castro, who condemned in the same tone the
'genocidal plans of Yankee imperialism'.... Venezuela's recent arms
race was aimed at facing situations like the current one, which, in
the Chavist language is another US affront. It is hard to predict
what may happen with three hard line presidents involved in a, so
far, verbal duel.... By pointing out Rafael Correa and Hugo Chvez
as FARC allies, based on suspect documents, Colombia can not only be
trying to legitimate its actions of invading neighboring nations,
but also paving a political way for future similar operations.
Uribe's calculation certainly includes the US' tacit support in view
of any armed conflict with Chvez."

3. "Cold Water Douses The Fire"

Center-right national circulation daily O Estado de S. Paulo opined
(3/4): "The incident would not provoke the reactions showed by
Presidents Rafael Correa and Hugo Chvez if both were not
increasingly committed with the FARC.... The Venezuelan government
has for a long time accepted the presence of narco-guerrillas in its
territory, either in rest and training bases or in cocaine
trafficking actions - the FARC's main source of income, beyond the
profitable industry of kidnappings and extortion. And President
Hugo Chvez has used his good relations with FARC leaders to exert
political pressure on President Alvaro Uribe, whom he accuses of
being servile to Yankee imperialism. In addition, now it is possible
to see that Chvez's influence on Rafael Correa is much more than it
was thought.... The fact is that both Chvez and Correa have
supported the fight of a group of terrorists and drug traffickers
against a legitimately elected government that has the approval of
the immense majority of the Colombian people."

4. "Neutrality Is Not The Case"

Columnist Clovis Rossi wrote in liberal, largest national
circulation daily Folha de S. Paulo (3/4): "Brazil can and must be
neutral between the two neighbors [Colombia and Ecuador], but it
cannot or should not be neutral between the legitimate Colombian
government and the delinquent FARC group.... The FARC have for long
abandoned any veiled political action through armed means to become
a delinquent organization that live on drug trafficking and
kidnappings."

5. "Clarions Of War"

Columnist Eliane Cantanhede noted in liberal, largest national
circulation daily Folha de S. Paulo (3/4): "Colombian President
Alvaro Uribe determined his isolation in South America after having
violated Ecuadorian territory to attack the FARC and kill the
second man in the guerrilla's hierarchy.... It is fundamental now
that Uribe clearly apologizes to Ecuador. But Rafael Correa will

also have to explain how and why the FARC have easily operated
within Ecuadorian territory. After all, it is a drug trafficking
guerrilla fighting a constitutionally elected government."

White

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