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Cablegate: (C) Jamaica/Spain: Zapatero Refuses to Meet With

VZCZCXYZ0000
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHKG #0427 1361209
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 151209Z MAY 08
FM AMEMBASSY KINGSTON
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6340
INFO RUCNCOM/EC CARICOM COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHMD/AMEMBASSY MADRID PRIORITY 0315
RUEHUB/USINT HAVANA PRIORITY 0105
RHMFISS/CDR USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL PRIORITY
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L KINGSTON 000427

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR WHA/CAR - JOE TILGHMAN
TREASURY FOR SARA GRAY
DEPT FOR CENTRAL AMERICAN CARIBBEAN BASIN COLLECTIVE

E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/14/2018
TAGS: PREL EIND OVIP EINV SOCI SENV ECON JM SP XL
SUBJECT: (C) JAMAICA/SPAIN: ZAPATERO REFUSES TO MEET WITH
GOLDING

REF: A. 07 KINGSTON 1089 (131155Z JUL 07)(NOTAL)
B. 07 KINGSTON 1125 (201056Z JUL 07)(NOTAL)

Classified By: DCM JAMES T. HEG, Reasons 1.5(B) and (D)

1.(C) Spanish President of Government Rodriguez Zapatero
thus far has refused to schedule a meeting with Jamaican
Prime Minister (PM) Bruce Golding during the latter's
upcoming visit to Madrid, according to Spain's Ambassador in
Kingston, Jesus Silva. Speaking privately with Ambassador at
a reception the evening of May 13, Silva expressed his
government's extreme frustration with Golding's closure of
RIU Group's massive hotel construction site in Montego Bay
because of its alleged breach of the law in constructing a
fourth floor for which it had not obtained the required
permit. The State Minister in the Office of the PM, Daryl
Vaz, a close advisor to Golding, sought to assuage Silva's
concerns, and reportedly is meeting May 14 with RIU Group
representatives at the Spanish Embassy. According to the
"Gleaner" newspaper of May 14, "at least one Spanish investor
has put on hold plans to construct a hotel, and two others
have diverted attention from Jamaica, as the Spaniards take a
wait-and-see attitude to the country's investment climate."


Background: the Spanish "Re-Conquest" of Jamaica
--------------------------------------------- ---

2.(SBU) The Spanish RIU Group operates three large hotels on
Jamaica's north coast and has another two under construction.
Since 2002, RIU and five other powerful Spanish groups have
started construction of twenty large hotels, comprising
almost 10,000 rooms, with overall Spanish investment
surpassing USD 1.5 billion -- thus unseating the U.S. as
Jamaica's largest source of foreign direct investment.
However, as delineated reftels, this massive investment has
brought environmental, infrastructure, labor, and regulatory
difficulties in its wake. Over the last year, several
Spanish firms have faced various allegations of unsafe and/or
substandard working conditions, harsh treatment of workers,
and violations of building codes.
Johnson

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