Search

 

Cablegate: Evo Endorses U.S.-Free Chapare

VZCZCXYZ0000
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHLP #1435/01 1782209
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 262209Z JUN 08
FM AMEMBASSY LA PAZ
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7861
INFO RUEHAC/AMEMBASSY ASUNCION 8113
RUEHBO/AMEMBASSY BOGOTA 5461
RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA 9403
RUEHBU/AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES 6622
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS 3721
RUEHPE/AMEMBASSY LIMA 3998
RUEHMN/AMEMBASSY MONTEVIDEO 5584
RUEHQT/AMEMBASSY QUITO 6345
RUEHSG/AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO 1068
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
RUMIAAA/USCINCSO MIAMI FL
RUEHUB/USINT HAVANA 1243
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHINGTON DC
RHMFIUU/HQ USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL

UNCLAS LA PAZ 001435

SENSITIVE

SIPDIS

USAID/LAC JOSE CARDENAS, TULLY CORMICK, JOANNE LAWRENCE
USAID/LPA SNIDER

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL PTER EAID ASEC BL
SUBJECT: EVO ENDORSES U.S.-FREE CHAPARE

REF: LA PAZ 1426

1. (U) Summary: Bolivian President Evo Morales offered a
far-reaching endorsement of the June 25 announcement by
cocalero leaders and five mayors from the Chapare region that
USAID should be expelled. Morales saluted the announcement
and broadened the scope to include all U.S. presence in the
Chapare, including NAS and DEA. While some Chapare leaders
continue to insist the move will only impact new USAID
projects, many cocalero and senior government leaders opined
that all projects in the Chapare will cease immediately. End
Summary.

Evo Endorses Mob Government; U.S.-Free Zone
-------------------------------------------

2. (U) There has been significant confusion concerning the
June 25 announcement from coca farmer (cocalero) union
leaders and five mayors to kick USAID out of the Chapare
region in Cochabamba Department (state) (reftel). On June
26, President Evo Morales provided a far-reaching
endorsement, expanding it to an expulsion of any U.S.
presence in the Chapare. "I salute the decision of the
cocalero movement and the mayors of the tropics of
Cochabamba, now I feel, I hope that the Chapare won't only be
a territory free from illiteracy (a nod to Cuban-sponsored
literacy programs), but rather that the tropical zone of
Cochabamba will also a territory free from North American
Imperialism; this is the grand desire that we have."

3. (SBU) Morales' broadening of a USAID-free zone to a
U.S.-free zone tracks with comments of cocalero leaders late
on June 25, who demanded all U.S. counter-narcotics personnel
be expelled from the Chapare. Although the rhetoric seems to
set the stage for a larger scale U.S. exodus from the
Chapare, it remains unclear whether plans to expel USAID will
be expanded to include our Narcotics Affairs Section (NAS) or
DEA presence in the Chapare. Chapare Cocalero leaders met
June 26 with Minister of Agriculture Susanna Rivero to ratify
the June 25 decision to expel USAID, but did not ask to
broaden the scope to include other USG personnel. However,
some cocalero leaders and journalists asked leading questions
about NAS' activities.

4. (SBU) Note: NAS and DEA are not/not removing personnel at
this time, but are taking appropriate security precautions
(NAS and DEA staff are located on the Chimore military/police
base, which is protected by nearly 1,500 police and military
personnel). Pending State Department approval, Post will
issue a warden message warning Amcits to stay away from the
Chapare. We do not have Peace Corps volunteers or
Fulbrighters in the region. End Note.

Evo Flashback: Bolivian Forces Lured to "Gringo" Dark Side
--------------------------------------------- ----------

5. (SBU) Morales reiterated claims he was attacked by U.S.
forces during anti-narcotics-related conflicts in the Chapare
in the 1980's. Although he talked about evidence to support
the claim, as he has repeatedly alleged in the past, he has
yet to produce any of it to either the Embassy or to the
public. "The police and armed forces in the Chapare have
been trained by the North American military called the DEA,
uniformed and armed (by them as well). I have recordings, I
have photographs, I have film (to prove it). In 1988 after
there was a conflict in Villa Tunari, the North American
gringos fired on us in Villa Tunari." He added Bolivian
police and armed forces were not to blame for their behavior
during anti-narcotics operations in the 1980s, because they
were "directed" by prior governments and the United States.

Evo's Culture of Dialogue With Himself, Not Us
--------------------------------------------- -

6. (SBU) While campaigning for the pro-government candidate
for prefect (governor) of Chuquisaca Department (election May
29), Morales also used the opportunity to criticize the
United States' alleged protection of ex-Defense Minister
Carlos Sanchez Berzain. Morales assured he had no plans to
break relations with the United States, then segued
seamlessly into accusations that the U.S. Embassy is
conspiring against his administration. Continuing his
rambling attack, Morales blamed the United States and USAID
for heading a conspiracy "against the Indian, against the
government, against Evo Morales." Morales schizophrenically
added his government embodied a "culture of dialogue" and
wanted relations with all countries based on "mutual
respect."

Morales to Visit "U.S.-Free Territory" June 27
--------------------------------------------- -

7. (U) MAS Congressman Asterio Romero said President Morales
would travel to Bulo-Bulo and Shinahota in the Chapare on
June 27. In Shinahota, Romero announced a cocalero
demonstration for June 27 that would declare the Chapare
"U.S.-free territory" and clarify that "no USAID projects
will continue working." Romero did not elaborate on what
Morales' role, if any, would be in the demonstration.

Government/Cocalero Leaders Pile On; Feed Security Doubts
--------------------------------------------- -----------

8. (SBU) Government and Cocalero leaders piled on incendiary
anti-U.S. rhetoric June 26 and echoed Morales' broad
interpretation of the announcement. Cocalero leader Julio
Salazar claimed cocalero groups had begun taking down USAID
signs to enforce the decision to "make the Chapare a zone
free of U.S. interference." Despite the tough talk of
universal and swift banishment of any U.S. presence, some
Chapare leaders continue to insist USAID will be allowed to
complete existing and/or approved projects.

9. (U) Romero insisted there would be no violence or burning
of USAID offices, but that USAID personnel were already
leaving and the rest would be compelled to leave for
"ethical" reasons. The new La Paz Police Commander,
meanwhile, assured publicly the security of U.S. Mission
employees, although he also ominously warned the Embassy's
security personnel to be prepared for attacks.

USAID Future: Expropriated and Euro-Replaced?
---------------------------------------------

10. (U) Vice Minister of Social Defense Felipe Caceres
reiterated that USAID was conspiring against the government
and that cocaleros will expropriate USAID's installations
after USAID staff are removed from the Chapare. Caceres, who
is responsible for coordinating Bolivia's counter-narcotics
and alternative development efforts, said the government
would look to the Europeans to replace U.S. counter-narcotics
assistance in the Chapare. Caceres said the decision was "a
question of dignity and sovereignty." Caceres also assured
the security of the U.S. Embassy in Bolivia.

11. (U) Minister of Development Planning Graciela Toro
insisted the future of USAID in Bolivia would depend on the
results of an on-going and overdue government review. Though
she hinted that the government would propose changes to USAID
programs, Toro said until the government completes its
review, "there will be no official decision." Toro added
that USAID assistance amounts to about $20 million a year,
although the actual amount is more than $90 million.

Government and Cocaleros: More Conjoined Than Distinct
--------------------------------------------- ---------

12. (SBU) Vice Minister of Coca Geronimo Meneses said that
the government supports the Chapare cocalero's decision
because "USAID is interfering in political issues, for
example with the Union Juvenil (Note/Comment: the Union
Juvenil Crucenista is a Santa Cruz pro-autonomy group.
Meneses' accusation is baseless. End Note/Comment.). There
are programs, they have the money, but they use it to support
demonstrations and do not do the work as we did when we were
leaders. It is a political problem that the Government has
with USAID, and that will not be allowed."

13. (U) Although Vice Foreign Minister Hugo Fernandez said
the government agrees with the "social groups" on many issues
June 25, he added that the cocalero announcement would be
confined to new agreements with USAID only. Fernandez
sympathized with the concerns of the cocaleros, but tried to
characterize their announcement as an "independent decision,"
distinct from government policy.

14. (U) However, Foreign Minister David Choquehuanca appeared
to contradict his Vice Minister June 26, presenting a more
aligned and coordinated cocalero/government stance on the
decision. "Surely our colleagues have made this decision
because they have reasons, (moreover) they are not the first
institution to leave the country. There is no reason to
worry about this much, this is not a grave subject that could
impact in concrete terms relations between the United States
and Bolivia." In apparent disregard to USAID's agreements
with the Bolivian government and its own authority,
Choquehuanca endorsed "this independent decision that the
cocalero sector has assumed," but clarified that cocaleros
would not "determine the foreign policy of the Evo Morales
administration."

URS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Werewolf: Gordon Campbell On North Korea, Neo-Nazism, And Milo

With a bit of luck the planet won’t be devastated by nuclear war in the next few days. US President Donald Trump will have begun to fixate on some other way to gratify his self-esteem – maybe by invading Venezuela or starting a war with Iran. More>>

Victory Declared: New Stabilisation Funding From NZ As Mosul Is Retaken

New Zealand has congratulated the Iraqi government on the successful liberation of Mosul from ISIS after a long and hard-fought campaign. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Current US Moves Against North Korea

If Martians visited early last week, they’d probably be scratching their heads as to why North Korea was being treated as a potential trigger for global conflict... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Lessons From Corbyn’s Campaign

Leaving partisan politics aside – and ignoring Jeremy Corbyn’s sensational election campaign for a moment – it has to be said that Britain is now really up shit creek... More>>

ALSO:

Another US Court: Fourth Circuit Rules Muslim Ban Discriminatory

ACLU: Step by step, point by point, the court laid out what has been clear from the start: The president promised to ban Muslims from the United States, and his executive orders are an attempt to do just that. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 
 
  • Pacific.Scoop
  • Cafe Pacific
  • PMC