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Cablegate: Media Reaction: Western Hemisphere: Crisis Between Colombia

VZCZCXYZ3036
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHSO #0109 0661029
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 061029Z MAR 08
FM AMCONSUL SAO PAULO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7974
INFO RHEHNSC/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA PRIORITY 9123
RUEHRI/AMCONSUL RIO DE JANEIRO PRIORITY 8623
RUCPDOC/USDOC WASHDC 3044

UNCLAS SAO PAULO 000109

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. "What Is Expected From Brazil"

Center-right national circulation daily O Estado de S. Paulo lead
editorial maintained (3/5): "The Colombian invasion in Ecuador
cannot be characterized as a casual and unmotivated act of
aggression. The governments of Ecuador and Venezuela have clearly
provided protection to a gang of cocaine traffickers and kidnappers
that want to be recognized as an ideological guerrilla that fights a
political regime that, by the way, is democratic. If the nations of
the region decide to isolate Colombia politically and economically,
they will be giving invaluable help to the enemies of democracy not
only in that nation but also on the continent.... The fact is the
FARC have been using Ecuadorian and Venezuelan territories to
conduct their ominous business, without any opposition of the
governments of these nations.... Rafael Correa and Hugo Chvez have
unconcealable sympathy vis-`-vis the FARC. They consider this
terrorist group part of the geopolitical 'Bolivarian' project."

2. "Priority For The Hostages"

Liberal, largest national circulation daily Folha de S. Paulo (3/5)
editorialized: "Contrary to what President Hugo Chvez suggested,
the death of Raul Reyes, the number 2 in the FARC's hierarchy,
should not be deplored. The rebel and his fellow comrades who were
shot by the Colombian Army on Saturday ran the risk of dying
violently because of the type of life they chose - for decades they
had murdered, kidnapped and challenged Colombia's legitimate power.
The problem is that his death hampers the release of hostages kept
by the FARC.... Therefore, it is important that the political and
diplomatic efforts aimed at mediating an understanding between
Bogota and Quito should not ignore the hostages' situation....
Unfortunately, there are reasons to fear that Colombian President
Alvaro Uribe's commitment in the hostages' release is limited....
Uribe is the legitimate representative of all Colombians and the
only one authorized to make decisions on behalf of his nation. All
negotiations involving the hostages must be approved by Bogota. It
is necessary, however, that the Colombian president be convinced
that the hostages' situation deserves maximum priority."

3. "Suspect Silence"

Columnist Clovis Rossi opined in liberal, largest national
circulation daily Folha de S. Paulo (3/5): "Rafael Correa is
demanding very clear apologies from Colombia to give up his decision
of breaking relations with his neighbor. It is fair. But it is also
fair that Correa apologizes to the Colombians - more than the
Colombian government - for having permitted the 'tour' of FARC
hostages in Ecuador.... The fact that the Colombian Army invaded
Ecuadorian territory is condemnable, but is it acceptable that the
FARC adopts the same behavior?.... An armed fight against a
legitimate government is intolerable. To support it means to
support all human rights violations carried out by the FARC's
delinquents.... Inhuman treatment given to prisoners by right wing
dictatorships is, of course, unacceptable. But is it OK when
carried out by leftist fellows? Abu Ghraib is condemnable, but is
incarceration in the jungle, with similar tortures, permitted?"

4. "New Frontier"

Columnist Melchiades Filho commented in liberal, largest national
circulation daily Folha de S. Paulo (3/5): "With the attack, the
Colombian president ensures more US arms and money, and maybe the
possibility to prolong his term. On the other hand, if they were
really interested in making peace, the FARC would not release the
hostages little by little. They wouldn't either demand as a
precondition the total demilitarization of the Colombian region
where they conduct their business.... Chvez is looking for a
target.... The violation of national sovereignty has only
legitimated Rafael Correa's discourse that Ecuador should unite and
mobilize its neighbors against imperialistic hostility. And the US,
which were facing tough criticism due to a series of failures in
fighting drug trafficking, now has a new excuse to maintain a base
in Colombia: to protect it from insane Bolivarians."
White

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