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Cablegate: Deputy Fm Leon On Cuba, Iraq, Afghanistan,

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 04 MADRID 004687

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/09/2014
TAGS: PREL PGOV PHUM SP
SUBJECT: DEPUTY FM LEON ON CUBA, IRAQ, AFGHANISTAN,
BILATERAL RELATIONS

Classified By: Charge Bob Manzanares; reasons 1.5 (B) and (D)

XXXXXXXXXXXX
//U.S.-SPAIN RELATIONS//

7. (C) Leon said that Spain is politically divided at the
moment, as demonstrated by the PP's decision to adopt an
aggressive posture towards the GOS in hopes of bringing down
the government and forcing early elections. He claimed that
PP leaders, including former President Aznar and former FM
Ana Palacio, were trying to use their contacts in Washington
to shape USG opinion against Zapatero. The PP's objective,
he said, is to use bilateral friction between the USG and the
GOS as part of its campaign to unseat FM Moratinos, and
eventually Zapatero. Leon said it was important for USG
officials, such as A/S Noriega, to understand that even
comments in seemingly innocuous settings can get picked up by
the press and have an impact far beyond that intended by the
speaker.

8. (C) Charge noted that we had been sending an identical
message to GOS officials, with mixed success. For example,
the visit of King Juan Carlos sent an excellent, positive
message regarding the importance of our bilateral relations,
but the positive effect had been negated by the simultaneous
visit of Venezuelan President Chavez to Madrid. All of the
good news from the King's visit was drowned out by three days
of Chavez' revolutionary rhetoric and tirades against the USG
while standing next to Spanish officials.

9. (C) Leon agreed that the Chavez visit had been a public
relations failure, adding that the GOS only invited Chavez
after months of requests from Chavez. Turning to the King's
meeting with President Bush, Leon said that there might be
some "misunderstandings" on the part of the USG regarding the
GOS. He said that when King Juan Carlos had raised Spain's
exclusion from November White House briefings on the Middle
East to which other European (G-8) countries had been
invited, President Bush, the King said, expressed surprise
and reassured the King that Spain would be invited to future
such meetings.

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