Cablegate: Speaker Explains U.S. Views On Global And

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

131408Z Jun 05




E.O. 12958: N/A


1. (SBU) Rand Corporation Senior Policy Analyst, Dr.
Angel Rabasa, traveled to Venezuela February 28-March 5
to address the media, national police, private security
organizations, and academic audiences on the topic of
terrorism. Rabasa's visit was designed by PAS Caracas to
lay the groundwork for future counterterrorism
programming, and was therefore planned as a
contextualization of the global terrorist threat and the
U.S. response since September 2001. In the country's two
largest cities, Caracas and Maracaibo, Rabasa made the
case for the Global War on Terror, while at the same time
relaying U.S. and international concerns over rumored GoV
support for Colombian insurgencies. END SUMMARY.


2. (U) PAS Caracas plans a series of terrorism-related
programming in the year ahead, focusing primarily on the
issues of terrorist financing and document fraud.
However, before beginning to address that specific subset
of issues relevant here in Venezuela, it was important to
lay the groundwork with an introductory explanation of
how the U.S. views the global threat posed by Islamic
extremist terrorist organizations, the regional context
of this threat, the actions the U.S. has taken around the
world in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, and
actions that can be taken by regional governments and
business to help curb that threat. Rabasa's visit served
as the opening salvo in this campaign, and helped lay the
groundwork for future related programming.

3. (SBU) Dr. Angel Rabasa, whose expertise includes
Colombia, was able to subtly raise the issue of suspected
ideological and other support given by elements of the
Venezuelan government to Colombian rebel groups, in a way
that official representatives of the USG are not free to
do. This particular message resonated with many of the
speaker's audiences, particularly as his visit followed
shortly after the highly-publicized case of the capture
of a high ranking FARC figure in Caracas.


4. (U) Though Embassy Caracas finds its government-to-
government contacts in Venezuela limited, the head of the
CICPC (FBI-analogous national police) academy, a former
International Visitor Program participant, agreed to
allow a group of his cadets and instructors to be
addressed by Rabasa. Though appearing skeptical, and
asking some tough questions at the end of the speaker's
presentation, the cadets were an important group for this
message to reach. They will be the next generation of
crime investigators in Venezuela, and some will no doubt
work on investigated and preventing terrorist cases.

5. (U) Dr. Rabasa also addressed two locally significant
groups of security professionals, whose representatives
form the front line against terrorist threats to both
American and Venezuelan businesses in this country.
Rabasa first spoke to members of the Overseas Security
Advisory Council (OSAC), which represents security
executives of U.S. corporations and interests in
Venezuela. He later addressed the Venezuelan Association
of Security Executives (AVES, by its Spanish initials),
whose members are the heads of security for some of
Venezuela's largest corporations, both private and
public. This audience of 80 was particularly
appreciative of Rabasa's visit, and expressed great
interest in cooperating with the embassy on future


6. (U) In Caracas, Dr. Rabasa addressed mixed audiences
of undergraduate and graduate students and professors at
three prestigious universities: Universidad Simon Bolivar
(public), Universidad Catolica Andres Bello and
Universidad Monte Avila (both private). The USB and UMA
audiences were smaller groups and provided an opportunity

for a high level of academic discourse and some truly
insightful questions from students and faculty alike,
while the UCAB audience was large (100+ undergraduates
pursuing law degrees) and included questions from some
students who were clearly skeptical of U.S. policy,
particularly regarding the war in Iraq as it relates to
our definition of terrorism (i.e. the victimizing of
civilian populations).

7. (U) In the country's second largest city, Maracaibo,
Rabasa met with students and faculty of the Universidad
del Zulia (LUZ) and members of the local bar association,
in a dynamic session. Due to their proximity to the
Colombian border, the residents of Zulia have an
immediate perspective on terrorism, particularly that
which spills over the border. The participants'
questions reflected these concerns. Given Dr. Rabasa's
writings on the subject, the event concluded with the
well-known public university extending an invitation for
the speaker to return in the future.


8. (U) PAS Caracas scheduled a great deal of media
exposure for Dr. Rabasa, which he handled ably.
Electronic media exposure came from live interviews on
Union Radio Noticias (the largest all-news radio station
in the country), Globovision (the nationwide 24-hour
television news station), and "A Punto con Juan Carlos
Fernandez," a morning news talk program in Maracaibo,
broadcast simultaneously on two radio stations in Zulia
and several TV stations in the western region of
Venezuela. This latest was aired again in April on a
newly-launched local cable TV channel. It was refreshing
to have an expert of Dr. Rabasa's caliber also be able to
converse with interviewers at a nearly-native level of
fluency, which adds to the credibility of the interview.

9. (U) Rabasa's visit also garnered extensive print news
coverage, primarily in the form of two exclusive
interviews with large newspapers. In Caracas, Rabasa
spoke with El Nacional, a leading broadsheet newspaper
with national distribution. The daily dedicated a half-
page to the interview, linking it to a story about the
Colombian FARC insurgency. Maracaibo's leading daily,
Panorama, which has of late taken a pro-government
stance, delayed publication of Rabasa's interview, but
eventually ran the story.


10. (U) Embassy Caracas appreciates Dr. Rabasa's
willingness to endure a very full schedule, as well as
both his expertise and language abilities, which combined
led to an effective and worthwhile program, and provided
a good foundation for future counterterrorism programming
in Venezuela. Embassy Caracas also extends its
appreciation to IIP for their assistance in preparing
this speaker program.



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