Cablegate: Request of Wheat Aid for Bolivia
DE RUEHLP #1053 1272147
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 062147Z MAY 08
FM AMEMBASSY LA PAZ
TO RUEHRC/USDA FAS WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7427
INFO RUEHPE/AMEMBASSY LIMA 3817
RUEHLMC/MILLENNIUM CHALLENGE CORP
UNCLAS LA PAZ 001053
USAID WILLIAM HAMMINK, LAUREN K. RUSSELL, JONATHAN DWORKEN,
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: AGR FAO FAS IFAD BL
SUBJECT: REQUEST OF WHEAT AID FOR BOLIVIA
1. (U) THIS IS AN ACTION REQUEST.
2. (U) Bolivia is currently experiencing a serious shortage
of wheat. It is the result of public and private
mismanagement, faulty Argentinean supplies, and world-wide
shortages. Donated wheat has been a fundamental part of
Bolivian supply under both the Title I and II programs.
Title I government-to-government donations have stopped and
Title II programs are set to close down at the end of 2008.
In December of 2007, Minister of Agriculture Susana Rivero
took the extreme step of refusing a shipment of 6,000 tons of
wheat destined to support Title II programs. The motives of
this move are unclear, but when news of the refusal became
public in March, the government took a heavy public relations
hit. In January 2008, Graciela Toro was named the new
Minister of Planning. In a March meeting with the
Ambassador, Toro, who is more receptive to U.S./Bolivian
cooperation, made a request for an additional wheat donation.
Given the recent announcements from the White House
regarding additional food aid and the opening of the Emerson
Trust, Post would like to request that Bolivia be considered
for an emergency shipment of unprocessed wheat. The donation
would be consistent with our policy of engagement and support
for the Bolivian people.
3. (SBU) A donation may have the additional benefit of
helping maintain U.S. markets. In an April meeting, Miguel
Galdos, from the U.S. Wheat Associates office in Santiago,
told us that millers in La Paz were close to going out of
business because of a shortage of unprocessed wheat in the
country. He feared that without these millers, Bolivia would
rely solely on milled Argentinean wheat imports and U.S.
producers would be shut out of a long-standing market for