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Cablegate: Brazil's Latin America/Caribbean Summit:

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RUEHNL RUEHQU RUEHRD RUEHRG RUEHRS RUEHTM RUEHVC
DE RUEHBR #1301/01 2751350
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 011350Z OCT 08
FM AMEMBASSY BRASILIA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2556
INFO RUEHWH/WESTERN HEMISPHERIC AFFAIRS DIPL POSTS
RUEHRG/AMCONSUL RECIFE 8522
RUEHRI/AMCONSUL RIO DE JANEIRO 6683
RUEHSO/AMCONSUL SAO PAULO 2833

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 BRASILIA 001301

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/30/2018
TAGS: PREL KSUM BR
SUBJECT: BRAZIL'S LATIN AMERICA/CARIBBEAN SUMMIT:
CONCENTRIC CIRCLES OR CIRCLING THE WAGONS?

BRASILIA 00001301 001.3 OF 002


Classified By: Deputy Chief of Mission Lisa Kubiske, reasons 1.4(b) and
(d)

1. (C) Summary. Brazilian officials are describing the
first-ever Latin America/Caribbean Summit, to be held in
Salvador, Bahia December 16-17, as an opportunity for the
region to discuss its own agenda. With no more than an
indicative focus on integration and development as the stated
theme of the summit, the region's foreign ministers have been
invited to Rio de Janeiro for a preparatory meeting on
October 6. GOB contacts have insisted that it is in no way
connected to the 2009 Summit of the Americas, but fits into
Brazil's "concentric circles" of foreign policy. At UNGA
President Lula described the meeting as an opportunity for
the region to meet "without tutelage" from "major powers."
In light of current regional rivalries, the lack of concerted
preparation, and the much more developed SOA process, this
new forum is unlikely to present an immediate challenge to
the SOA as the hemisphere's premier forum, and we should
continue to press the GOB to engage actively with us to find
initiatives our governments can pursue jointly for the 2009
SOA and beyond. End Summary.

2. (SBU) In separate conversations with EconCouns and
Poloffs, Brazilian Foreign Ministry (Itamaraty) and
presidency officials have described the planned December
16-17 Summit of Heads of State and Government of Latin
American and Caribbean Countries on Integration and
Development as a "first-ever" opportunity for the region to
meet "alone" to discuss its own agenda. The summit will
include all 33 countries in the region, differing from the
Summit of the Americas (SOA) process only by including Cuba
and leaving out the United States and Canada. South America
I (Mercosul) Department head Joao Luiz Pereira Pinto, who has
responsibility for the summit, told Poloffs that the idea for
the summit is unrelated to the UN's GRULAC, and the timing is
unrelated to the 2009 SOA--it is simply an opportunity for
the region's leaders to meet, something which they have never
done before without other actors present. Amb. Marcel Biato
at the presidency's foreign policy unit also denied there was
any attempt to undermine the SOA process. He told PolCouns
that the meeting was simply a logical addition to Brazil's
"concentric circles" of foreign relations. These start with
Mercosul and now include UNASUL (the new Union of South
American Nations), the Rio Group, the Summit of the Americas,
and a growing number of inter-regional summits, including the
India-Brazil-South Africa dialogue (IBAS), the BRICs
dialogue, the G-8-related G-5, the WTO-related G-20, the
Summit of Portuguese-Language Countries, the
South-America/Arab Countries Summit (ASSA), the
Ibero-American Summit, the EU-Latin America/Caribbean Summit,
and the Latin America-East Asia Cooperation Forum, among
others.

3. (SBU) At the same time, in his September 24 speech at the
UN General Assembly, President Lula referred to the summit as
an opportunity for regional leaders to meet "without
tutelage." This aspect of the meeting has not been lost on
the media, either; a September 30 report in leading Brazilian
daily Estado de Sao Paulo on the various fora in which Brazil
is active called the meeting "a Latin American integration
project based on existing blocs, de-linked from the
interference of the United States." Academics and foreign
policy experts cited in the report agreed that Brazil is
seeking to create fora where it can be a major player, while
minimizing the influence of the United States and Europe.

4. (SBU) Plans for this latest summit are ill-defined. The
head of Itamaraty's Regional Integration and ALADI
Department, Paulo Franca, told EconCouns that Brazil was
seeking to create "an inclusive process" in developing the
agenda and to avoid any suggestion that the GOB was trying to
control the agenda. Brazil has proposed integration and
development, food security, energy, physical infrastructure,
social development, and sub-regional and regional cooperation
as possible issues for discussion. But the GOB does not
intend to table any papers or draft statements on these
topics. Instead, they want to keep the meeting at a
"political level" and expect foreign ministers to define the
agenda on October 6 when they convene in Rio de Janeiro for
the only preparatory meeting prior to the summit itself.
Franca said that the GOB has no pre-conceived ideas of
initiatives that might arise from the summit, and foresees
only the possibility of a joint statement from the Summit.
The idea is for leaders to discuss what is important to them.
According to Itamaraty officials, Mexico and Argentina,
among others, expressed enthusiasm for the summit idea.
However, the lack of a clear agenda has left some regional
diplomats in Brasilia scratching their heads about the

BRASILIA 00001301 002.3 OF 002


purpose of the meeting; in separate conversations, Argentine,
Peruvian, and Paraguayan diplomats told poloff they were not
clear why the meeting was being held.

5. (C) Comment: Unlike the U.S. approach to the Pathways
initiative, which we have stressed is intended to be
inclusive, the GOB at the highest levels has singled out this
forum as being exclusive of "major powers," making it
difficult to take lower level assurances that it is simply
another regional forum entirely at face value. The GOB is
sincere in its desire to work with us, both bilaterally and
multilaterally, toward common objectives. At the same time,
there is an influential segment within both senior policy
circles and Itamaraty that actively seeks to avoid and
minimize ties to the United States, in part by favoring fora
that do not include the United States. In that vein, the
creation of a Latin America/Caribbean forum so close in
membership to the SOA and the OAS serves to some extent to
undermine the ideal of a united Western Hemisphere of
democratic nations, while advancing the notion that there is
a divide in the hemisphere between the two wealthiest nations
and everyone else. Nonetheless, in light of current regional
rivalries, the lack of concerted preparation, and the much
more developed SOA process, this new forum is unlikely to
present an immediate challenge to the SOA as the hemisphere's
premier forum. With that in mind, although Brazil has in the
past been relatively unenthusiastic about the SOA, we should
continue to press the GOB to engage actively with us to find
initiatives our governments can pursue jointly for the 2009
SOA and beyond.
SOBEL

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