Cablegate: Embassy Brasilia
DE RUEHBR #1253/01 2632204
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 192204Z SEP 08
FM AMEMBASSY BRASILIA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2479
INFO RUEHAC/AMEMBASSY ASUNCION PRIORITY 7061
RUEHBU/AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES PRIORITY 5802
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS PRIORITY 4241
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ PRIORITY 6584
RUEHPE/AMEMBASSY LIMA PRIORITY 3947
RUEHMN/AMEMBASSY MONTEVIDEO PRIORITY 7513
RUEHQT/AMEMBASSY QUITO PRIORITY 2591
RUEHSG/AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO PRIORITY 0579
RUEHRG/AMCONSUL RECIFE PRIORITY 8466
RUEHRI/AMCONSUL RIO DE JANEIRO PRIORITY 6619
RUEHSO/AMCONSUL SAO PAULO PRIORITY 2760
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 BRASILIA 001253
E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/19/2018
TAGS: PREL BR BO
REF: A. STATE 99473
B. SANTIAGO 851
Classified By: Political Counselor Stephen M. Liston, Reason 1.4 (b) an d (d)
1. (C) PolCounselor delievered ref A demarche September 19 to Ambassador Marcel Biato, foreign policy advisor at the Brazilian presidency (Planalto). Biato asked if the decision to expel the Bolivian and Venezuelan ambassadors to the U.S. was "considered" or "reciprocal." PolCouns responded the decision was taken reluctantly, and intended both to be proportional and to show that expulsions of our Ambassadors were not taken lightly. Biato commended the U.S. decision to avoid negative rhetoric and, over the course of the discussion, indicated that the GOB understands that both Bolivian President Morales and Venezuelan President Chavez are using the expulsion and broader complaints against the United States for their own political purposes. He pointed to the fact that this week's UNASUL declaration (ref B) had avoided any anti-US rhetoric as an indication that there was little support for view the United States was to blame for the conflict. Commenting on Lula's September 17 remark to the effect that Morales's expulsion of the U.S. ambassador was appropriate "if he had met with the opposition," Biato insisted that Lula was using "shorthand" and of course meant that such an expulsion would only be appropriate if the ambassador had become involved in internal politics. Biato added that Brazilian officials are clear when they visit Bolivia that they will be meeting with Bolivian officials on both sides of the divide. In accusing the U.S. ambassador, he said, Morales was simply looking for an excuse.
2. (C) Biato said that UNASUL had been the unexpected winner from the Bolivia crisis, after what Brazil considered a successful outcome from the emergency meeting September 15 in Santiago. He confirmed that President Lula had offered Morales assistance from the "Group of Friends" when they spoke the week of September 8. However, after they had lined up Argentina and a reluctant Colombia, the Bolivians had done an about-face and rejected a mission. This was why Lula had only agreed to go to the UNASUL meeting when Morales confirmed his attendance. According to Biato, Brazil had rejected requests by Bolivian opposition leaders to be present at the UNASUL meeting. In Brazil's view, it was essential for Morales to have an expression of full support for constitutional government, so as not to give Morales any excuse for not negotiating. Lula had exercised "strategic patience" as Chavez took the floor first and spoke for an hour, steering the conversation away from anti-U.S. rhetoric and toward providing support for Morales. Concerned that the meeting might either be seen as interference in Bolivia's internal affairs or provide an excuse for regional intervention, Lula had insisted that Morales be asked what support he needed. Behind the scenes, Biato said, Brazil has pushed Morales to the negotiating table, and the arrival of a delegation from Brasilia in La Paz on September 19, as well as the presence of Brazilian embassy officials at the talks in Cochabamba, is intended to send a message of support for continued dialogue.
Chilean Ambassador Praises Brazilian Performance at UNASUL --------------------------------------------- -------------
3. (C) Chilean Ambassador to Brazil Alvaro Diaz told poloff September 18 that the UNASUL emergency meeting in Santiago produced a very positive outcome because it committed the Morales government to negotiate with the opposition, the declaration did not mention the U.S., and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez was not allowed to dominate to meeting. He noted that Brazil,s non-interventionist stance had helped depressurize the situation and the USG also acted correctly by not inflaming the atmosphere. Diaz also said Colombian President Alvaro Uribe had played a very important role toward the success of the Santiago meeting.
4. (C) Commenting on Brazilian non-interventionism, Diaz said Brazil,s current policy is in stark contrast to the interventionist policies of the Brazilian military dictatorship, and probably is a direct result of it. Poloff noted that the USG encourages the GOB to assume greater
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leadership responsibilities, but the GOB is reluctant to take the controversial stances that go with leadership. Diaz replied that Brazil cannot assume leadership alone in the region, it must have partners, which would naturally be Argentina and Colombia, just as Germany and France are essential to each other in Europe. As a result, Brazil must continue to act in harmony with them and other regional players.