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Cablegate: Codel Dodd Meeting with Argentine President Fernandez De

VZCZCXYZ0000
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHBU #0781/01 1581138
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 061138Z JUN 08
FM AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 1265
INFO RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHINGTON DC
RUEHRC/DEPT OF AGRICULTURE USD FAS WASHINGTON DC
RUEHC/DEPT OF LABOR WASHINGTON DC
RHMFIUU/HQ USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL
RUCNMER/MERCOSUR COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS BUENOS AIRES 000781

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ECON ENRG PGOV PREL AR
SUBJECT: Codel Dodd Meeting with Argentine President Fernandez de
Kirchner

Ref: N/A

This cable contains sensitive information - not for internet
distribution.

Summary
-------
1. (SBU) President Fernandez de Kircher met with Codel Dodd for
over an hour May 29. On Bolivia, she called for a solution which
respected democratic institutions and avoided "Balkanization." More
broadly in Latin America, the President said she hoped for
increasing regional integration in the years ahead and that the
United States would support and be part of this process, as such
integration and development would increase America's own security.
She said she hoped the next President of the United States would
signal that the United States knows that the economic and democratic
development of the region is vital to the U.S. and place a priority
on supporting those processes. She argued that the world food
situation demanded long term vision, commitment and cooperation, and
that the Middle East would undoubtedly be near the top of the
foreign policy agenda for the new U.S. president. Asked about
anti-Americanism in Argentina, CFK noted the many historic roots of
this phenomenon but argued that the image of the U.S. could improve
notably as the broader image and role of the U.S. in the world
evolved. The tone of the conversation was friendly and relaxed
through-out. End summary.

2. (SBU) On the evening of May 29, President Cristina Fernandez de
Kirchner (CFK) received Senator Christopher Dodd (D - CT) and
Representative Xavier Becerra (D - CA) for a little over an hour.
U.S. Ambassador Wayne, Argentine Foreign Minister Jorge Taiana, and
Argentine Ambassador to the U.S. Hector Timerman also attended.

Bolivia
-------

3. (SBU) Senator Dodd explained that he had just come from Bolivia,
where he had met with the Vice President and with the leader of the
Podemos political party. CFK commented that she hoped a way could
be found to restart the process of institutionalization in Bolivia
and to avoid the serious problems for the region that will arise if
the political situation continues to deteriorate. The key, she
argued, is a process that respects democracy and existing
institutions. "What we don't want to see is the Balkanization of
Latin America," she concluded.

U.S. Elections
--------------

4. (SBU) CFK asked the Senator and Representative their impressions
about the state of play in the U.S. elections. Senator Dodd said he
was supporting Senator Obama, but that there will be significant
change regardless of which of the three candidates wins the
election. He shared specific insights related to the current state
of play in the electoral contest.

Latin American Integration
--------------------------

5. (SBU) Senator Dodd said that during the coming months of
electoral competition in the U.S., it is important that voices of
moderation and wisdom be heard in Latin America. If the candidates
only hear about and from the likes of Chavez and Morales, they will
find it harder to set out a wise Latin America policy. He also
asked what CFK thought were the important themes for Latin America
in the years ahead. CFK said she hoped that Latin America would
gradually move to more integration, just as Europe had done starting
with the initial efforts of France, Germany, and the Benelux
countries. CFK said she knows what a key role the United States
played in supporting European integration and she hopes the USG will
support and participate in Latin America's increasing integration.
This process could be the best defense against terrorism and a real
solution to the immigration problem, she argued. The United States
worked very hard to achieve its powerful and wealthy position in the
world, she continued, but along with that comes the responsibility
to help others in the hemisphere to grow their economies and create
opportunities so their people don't feel the pressing need to
emigrate to the United States to achieve a good life. This process
clearly needs a commitment to a long-term vision by the leaders in
the United States and in Latin America, she said.

Speculation and Food
--------------------

6. (SBU) At present, CFK said the weak dollar and the soaring

demand for food and oil are creating serious problems for leaders
all over the world. She said she was worried about the effect of
speculators and investment funds in Argentina's economy and
elsewhere. Clearly, regulation of these groups had to be better,
she said. Turning to the food situation, she noted that the world
was today producing 30% more calories than ten years ago, but there
were clearly still problems in distribution. Countries in the world
with great potential as food producers should apply the best of new
technologies to maximize their potential with the help of the most
developed countries. Countries, like many in Africa, where there
are serious structural limits on food production should benefit from
technology and support to make the structural changes needed to
increase their ability to produce and distribute food. This process
will take years and requires bold international leadership, CFK
argued. In this connection, the conversation turned to the
desirability of getting the U.S. public and leaders to focus on the
needs of the world. The Senator noted that the expectations on the
new U.S. president to solve many problems at home and abroad would
be very high.

Middle East Vital
-----------------

7. (SBU) CFK argued that the new President's attitude toward the
Middle East Peace Process would be vital. If the USG is able to
make progress there, it will seriously undermine the radicalization
process in the Islamic world. In this context, CFK said that she
was very positively impressed with current Israeli Foreign Minister
Livni, whom she has met a couple of times.

What the New U.S. President Should Say: "Latin America is Part of
Us"
-----------------------------------

8. (SBU) Senator Dodd asked CFK what the new U.S. president should
say about Latin America. CFK said that the key message would be
that the United States sees Latin America as part of itself, and
thus as a priority for the U.S. The idea would be a set of policies
aimed at significantly lifting Latin America's living and
institutional standards so citizens of other countries in the region
don't feel the need to go to the United States to improve their
lives. In this context, she and the Foreign Minister noted that
Argentina also has many immigrants: two million-plus Bolivians, one
million Paraguayans, and about 400,000 Uruguayans. CFK noted that
they play an important economic role for Argentina. For example,
the Bolivians are key workers in the construction, vegetable, and
flower industries. In this connection, she noted that the United
States and Latin America are fortunate that the vast majority of
their immigrants don't bring the cultural clash that so many
immigrants to Europe bring in terms of stark religious and racial
differences.

Argentine Anti-Americanism
--------------------------

9. (SBU) Senator Dodd asked why there was such a high level of
anti-Americanism evident in polls in Argentina compared to other
Latin American countries. CFK said in her view there are many
historical reasons for the high level of anti-Americanism, though it
was striking that no political leader of Argentina had made this a
central part of his or her platform. She recounted a number of
historical examples from the policies of the Radical party leaders
after WWI to the alignment of U.S. Ambassador Braden with the
opposition and against President Peron after WW II. She noted that,
at its core, antipathy towards our country seemed to be rooted in a
sentiment of wanting to differentiate Argentina from the United
States, but she added that there are also very positive memories of
Kennedy and of Carter and his human rights policies when Argentina
was under military rule. In the 1990s, the attitude toward the
United States had been more positive as well. CFK posited that,
with a change in the U.S. role and image in the world, the attitudes
in Argentina would change for the better, too.

Comment
-------

10. (SBU) CFK was open and friendly throughout the conversation.
She commented that her recent meetings with senior U.S. officials
had been positive, and made clear that she hoped relations would get
better, praising in particular the work of A/S Shannon to get
bilateral relations back on a good path.

WAYNE
SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED

SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED

SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED

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