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Cablegate: Bolivia: Before U.S. Visit, Evo Lashes Out

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TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 9263
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RUEHUB/USINT HAVANA 1524
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC

C O N F I D E N T I A L LA PAZ 002458

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/17/2018
TAGS: PGOV PREL SNAR BL
SUBJECT: BOLIVIA: BEFORE U.S. VISIT, EVO LASHES OUT

REF: LA PAZ 2370

Classified By: EcoPol Chief Mike Hammer for reasons 1.4 b,d

1. (SBU) Summary: In the days before his November 16
departure for the United States, where he will speak at the
OAS and UN and meet with U.S. representatives (Dodd, Lugar,
Baukus and possibly others), President Evo Morales and his
closest cabinet advisors lashed out at a wide selection of
USG targets, claiming that the USG has a strategy of
supporting a united opposition front against Evo for the
December 2009 elections. Following the November 1 expulsion
of DEA, Government Minister Alfredo Rada described the DEA as
"insignificant" and said, "the world will not end with the
end of the presence of the DEA." Evo announced that he is
"after the CIA" last week, and in a November 14 interview the
state news agency ABI cited Presidency Minister Quintana as
saying that the "civic prefectural conspiracy" was "fed by
the empire (the United States), financed by organizations
that originate in USAID, the CIA, and the DEA." Speaking from
Venezuela, Quintana added MILGROUP to the mix, saying that
state security fired on civilians in 2003 (during the riots
that led to the fall of ex-President Gonzalo "Goni" Sanchez
de Lozada) because "no state security institution is not
taught, indoctrinated, and intervened by the DEA, the CIA,
and by MILGROUP." End summary.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Evo Accuses USG of Trying to Unite the Opposition
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

2. (SBU) At a November 15 rally in Cochabamba, Morales
accused the USG of trying to help form an opposition "front"
to oppose his next presidential run: "I am almost sure,
sisters and brothers, that the next elections (December 2009
if the draft constitution passes in January), all the right
will unite on instructions from the Government of the United
States." At the same time, Evo reiterated his allegations
that USAID finances "the opposition".

3. (SBU) Meanwhile, analysts are weighing in on the issue of
a combined front against Evo, whether comprised solely of the
"moderate left" (that is, the left without Evo's Movement
Toward Socialism party) or united with less- conservative
elements of what is now the conservative opposition party
Podemos. Former president Carlos Mesa (an oft-mentioned
contender for leader of the elusive non-Evo front) opined
recently that "a single front (combining left and right) is
not viable in the sense that there are very distinct
ideological positions between which, eventually, there would
be opposition, but this doesn't eliminate the possibility of
a front..."

4. (C) Comment: Evo's pre-emptive strike against a potential
opposition front--aligning them without evidence with "the
empire"--appears to be an effort to set the stage for
discrediting anyone who runs against him as a U.S. stooge.
As of now the opposition is far from united, with as many as
seven potential presidential candidates: former president
Carlos Mesa, former prefect Manfred Reyes Villa, Tarija
Prefect Mario Cossio, Potosi Mayor Rene Joaquino, Unidad
Nacional party leader Samuel Doria Medina, former president
Tuto Quiroga and even indigenous guerrilla Felipe Quispe. It
is hard to envision how this disparate group would come
together, in fact, many of the strategists for potential
candidates complain to us that other groups and leaders will
not step aside for the good of the opposition as a whole. End
comment.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Continued Accusations Against USG Agencies
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

5. (SBU) According to press reports, Minister of Presidency
Juan Ramon Quintana met in Venezuela on November 14 to
propose a multilateral "strategic alliance" of governments
and academics to defend the process of revolutionary change.
Quintana reminded his audience of Bolivia's recent "torturous
civic prefectural conspiracy" which he claimed had been "fed
by the empire (the United States), financed by organizations
that originate in USAID, the CIA, and the DEA." Back in
Bolivia, Minister of Government Alfredo Rada was also
leveling accusations at USG agencies, claiming that the
Bolivian government must deeply review the actions of
agencies such as USAID and DEA: "it is a process that demands
a more-global evaluation to take the decision to normalize
this relation, and that means new rules of pay, transparency
in relations and respect for sovereignty." Rada said that
DEA was welcome to share information in the counternarcotics
fight, but the DEA is mistaken if it thinks it can "continue
in the country or will return to the country to continue
diverting resources of the fight against drugs to work of
political destabilization or political investigation--that
can't continue."

6. (SBU) Rada announced on November 16 that the Bolivian
National Police who worked with DEA will be reviewed and
those that might have worked "on the margin of the interests
of the country" will be fired. Rada warned that if "the
police acted as a foreign embassy in their own institution,
there will be a separation of these people." He added, "If
there are police who worked correctly, with good results, you
can be secure that...they will be able to continue their
work."

7. (SBU) From Venezuela, Presidency Minister Quintana added
new accusations against U.S. agencies, claiming that US
agencies were behind the 2003 decision of the government of
then-president Gonzalo "Goni" Sanchez de Lozada to fire on
civilians. "They consummated the most repugnant genocide in
Bolivia, which was the genocide of the year 2003, when
Sanchez de Lozada was expelled from the country. In the face
of a lack of moderation, in the face of the doubts of the
high military command to massacre the comrades en El Alto,
the Military Group (MILGROUP) occupied the highest levels of
the armed forces and took the decision that the armed forces
had to massacre the people of El Alto to liberate a caravan
that had to supply the city of La Paz with fuel. Therefore,
this is not indirect intervention, this is not interference,
(it is) direct participation in the genocide of the year
2003." (Note: Over 60 people were killed in clashes between
followers of Evo Morales--who had blockaded the capital city
of La Paz--and government forces. The Morales government has
repeatedly accused Sanchez de Lozada of genocide and recently
began processing papers to request the former president's
extradition. End note.)

8. (SBU) Following President Morales' November 11 statement
that he and the government "are after the CIA too," Vice
Minister of Social Movements Sacha Llorenti announced on
November 17 that the presence of CIA agents is "prohibited"
in Bolivia: "there exists no norm that would allow the
presence of those agents in the national territory and to
verify their presence in the country would be a grave action
against our sovereignty." According to Llorenti, the
government is investigating the possible presence of
"external agents or of Bolivians who serve external
agents....the government is decided, and in this there will
be no step backwards, on the dignification of our country and
of its institutions."

- - - -
Comment
- - - -

8. (C) Morales is already campaigning hard for both the
constitution and his re-election, as can be seen by his
standard attacks on the USG. His rhetorical attacks have now
led to the expulsion of both the Ambassador and the DEA, and
cannot be ignored as mere campaign stumping. USAID could be
next, as there have been repeated high-level attacks and
social-movement calls for its expulsion. Morales' new focus
on Bolivian "co-conspirators" (either police working with the
DEA or any political enemy Evo decides to describe as a CIA
collaborator) will almost certainly instill fear among our
contacts, who may become more cautious about meeting with us.
His threat to expel the CIA from Bolivia means that any one
of us can be (mis)identified as a spy and kicked out should
we do--or be falsely accused of doing--anything that
displeases Evo. End comment.
URS

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