Cablegate: Brazil Pushes South American Security Council
DE RUEHBO #1715/01 1301830
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 091830Z MAY 08
FM AMEMBASSY BOGOTA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2702
INFO RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA PRIORITY 8186
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS PRIORITY 0392
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ MAY 9430
RUEHPE/AMEMBASSY LIMA PRIORITY 6195
RUEHZP/AMEMBASSY PANAMA PRIORITY 1665
RUEHQT/AMEMBASSY QUITO PRIORITY 6847
RUEHGL/AMCONSUL GUAYAQUIL PRIORITY 4429
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RUCNDTA/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 1924
C O N F I D E N T I A L BOGOTA 001715
E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/06/2018
TAGS: PGOV PINR MOPS PTER PHUM BR CO
SUBJECT: BRAZIL PUSHES SOUTH AMERICAN SECURITY COUNCIL
Classified By: Ambassador William R. Brownfield - Reason 1.4 (b) and (d).
1. (C) Brazilian Defense Minister Nelson Jobim briefed Defense Minister Juan Manuel Santos on April 28 on the GOB proposal to create a South American Security Council and pushed hard for the GOC to sign up. Santos told us the GOC fears the initiative may duplicate UN and OAS efforts, suspects Venezuela may be behind the idea, and believes the concept is premature. Still, the Colombian military is concerned it will be isolated if it does not participate. The GOB plans to hold a regional conference to formalize the institution on May 28. Santos said the GOC has yet to decide on its position, but told us the GOC does not expect to sign on to the concept presented by Jobim. END SUMMARY.
BRAZIL SECURITY INITIATIVE --------------------------
2. (C) Minister of Defense Juan Manuel Santos told the Ambassador on April 30 that during Brazilian MOD Nelson Jobim's April 28 visit to Colombia, Jobim pushed for the creation of a South American Security Council. The proposed institution would include all South American nations and would address South American security concerns. It would initially be set up as a consultative mechanism among Defense Ministers, but would eventually evolve into an institution with some operational response capabilities. Jobim said the GOB intends to formalize the institution at a regional conference in Brasilia on May 28.
GOC DOESN'T WANT ANOTHER OAS... -------------------------------
3. (C) Santos told the Ambassador that the GOC pushed back on the proposal, voicing concerns that the initiative may duplicate OAS or UN functions. Santos explained to Jobim that the GOC fears the initiative sounds too much like a Venezuelan idea. The GOC does not want its armed forces subjugated to an institution whose details it does not understand. Similarly, it is reluctant to join an institution that could be perceived by many as an effort to distance South America from the USG. Jobim countered that the GOC would be completely isolated if it did not join. The GOB would proceed with or without GOC support. Santos told us the GOC informed Jobim it would take the proposal under advisement, and was unlikely to support the concept by May 28.
...BUT DOESN'T WANT TO BE ISOLATED EITHER ------------------------Q---------------
4. (C) Army Commander General Mario Montoya confirmed Santos' description of the GOB concept and threat to isolate the GOC in a conversation with the Ambassador on May 1. He said the Colombian military did not want to be isolated from the rest of South America, noting that timing of the initiative was particularly unfortunate given the delay in approving the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement. Montoya told the Ambassador that he recommended to Santos that the GOC reach out to Chile and Peru to see if they share the GOC's misgivings.
USG RESPONSE ------------
5. (C) The Ambassador told both Santos and Montoya that he would pass the information on the GOB initiative to Washington. He agreed the GOC should explore whether other regional governments had misgivings and, if so, see if they would make common cause with the GOC. In addition, the Ambassador suggested the GOC explore whether it could suggest options that would adjust the timing or the scale of the institution levels of participation. For example, perhaps a government could join without having to accept all aspects of full membership. Both agreed to consider the Ambassador's suggestions.