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Cablegate: Embassy Bogota Uses Arts and Sports Diplomacy in Drug

VZCZCXYZ0014
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHBO #4158/01 3232215
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 182215Z NOV 08
FM AMEMBASSY BOGOTA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5638
INFO RHEHOND/DIR ONDCP WASHINGTON DC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RUEABND/DEA HQS WASHDC
RHMFISS/CDR USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL

UNCLAS BOGOTA 004158

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR INL/LP
DEPARTMENT FOR WHA/AND

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: SNAR PREL PGOV SCUL EAID CO
SUBJECT: EMBASSY BOGOTA USES ARTS AND SPORTS DIPLOMACY IN DRUG
DEMAND REDUCTION CAMPAIGN IN CARTAGENA

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SUMMARY
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1. (U) SUMMARY: The Ambassador launched "Do not turn off your
light," a drug demand prevention campaign, on November 7 that will
provide community development and social mobility opportunities via
education, work, arts, and sports to children at risk of drug use.
The main event was followed by a baseball game between the
Ambassador and Sports Diplomacy Envoy Barry Larkin's teams that
emphasized the importance of sports and healthy living as an
alternative to drugs. The events had high-level participation and
received wide regional media coverage. On November 8, Ambassador
Brownfield and Sport Envoy Larkin continued the Sports Diplomacy
Program in Barranquilla participating in a baseball clinic for
coaches, several press events, and a lunch hosted by the American
Chamber of Commerce. END SUMMARY.

-------------------------------
DOMESTIC DRUG DEMAND IS GROWING
-------------------------------

2. (U) While Colombia is a major supplier of illegal psychoactive
substances, Colombian drug consumption appears to have increased
also. The results of the currently-underway National Household Drug
Consumption Survey (the first such survey to take place since 1996)
will not be analyzed until the beginning of 2009; however, various
first-hand accounts already point to an increasing rate of drug
consumption in Colombia as the middle class is expanding and has
disposable income. Successful interdiction efforts are also forcing
narcotraffickers to target the local market.
-----------------
NO APAGUES TU LUZ
-----------------

3. (U) "No Apagues Tu Luz" ("Do not turn off your light") -
Colombia NAS's Drug Demand Reduction campaign - pursues Colombia's
FY2009 Mission Strategic Plan's goals of working on counternarcotics
and counterterrorism efforts by fostering community development and
social mobility opportunities via education, work, arts, and sports
for children at risk of getting involved in drug use.
4. (U) On November 7, the Ambassador, Aldo Lale-Demoz (UNODC
Representative), Mayor of Cartagena Judith Pinedo Florez, and
representatives from the Ministry of Social Protection, the National
Directorate of Dangerous Drugs, and various NGOs launched the "No
Apagues Tu Luz" initiative. The participants sought to raise
awareness of the problem of drug consumption in Colombia and asked
the audience to provide "espacios de luz" ("spaces of light") in
education, work, sports, and the arts for children. The audience
included community leaders and the Governor of the Bolivar
Department Joaco Berrio Villarreal.
5. (U) Regional media gave the event extensive coverage. The
participation of the 2008 National Beauty Pageant candidates (all at
least two feet taller than the Ambassador), well-known musicians,
and social activists assured that the message of the drug demand
reduction event reached diverse audiences. Barry Larkin's visit was
covered by all major North Coast daily papers and on regional and
national radio and television channels.

----------------
SPORTS DIPLOMACY
----------------

6. (U) In the afternoon, the Embassy organized a baseball game
between Ambassador Brownfield and Sports Diplomacy envoy and former
Cincinnati Reds baseball player Barry Larkin's teams, composed of
children from the NGO "Ninos de Papel," to emphasize the importance
of sports as a means to stay away from drugs and violence. Larkin
traveled to Colombia as a Department of State Sports Envoy from
November 5-12, 2008, to speak to schools and give baseball clinics
in Bogota, Cartagena, and Barranquilla. Also joining Ambassador
Brownfield and Larkin in the game were Sports Envoys Steve Laska and
Joe Logan. Before the game, Brownfield and Larkin presented gifts
of baseball equipment to the participating children donated by the
Major League Baseball program "Pitch In." Team Brownfield decimated
Team Larkin, despite several obviously wrong umpire calls going
against them.
7. (U) On November 8, Ambassador Brownfield and Larkin traveled to
Barranquilla to participate in Sports Diplomacy activities which
included a baseball clinic for coaches, a press conference,

television interviews, and a lunch hosted by the American Chamber of
Commerce. Barry Larkin, Steve Laska, and Joe Logan worked with 60
coaches on infield, outfield, and pitching techniques in a clinic
held at Tomas Arrieta Stadium. At the beginning of the clinic, the
Ambassador received a plaque of appreciation from the Colombian
Professional Baseball League for his dedication to the promotion and
development of the league. After the clinic, the Ambassador and
Larkin participated in a press conference answering numerous
questions about sports and U.S. policy related to Colombia by local
media.
8. (U) In the afternoon, Ambassador Brownfield and Larkin were
interviewed separately by a local television journalist and then
attended a lunch hosted by the American Chamber of Commerce and
attended by numerous local business leaders. During several of
these events, Ambassador Brownfield described his wish to assist the
development of Colombian baseball at both the professional and youth
levels.
BROWNFIELD

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