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Cablegate: Minas Gerais: Governor Wants Deportees

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





E.O. 12958: N/A

1. (SBU) In late September, 2004, Minas Gerais
Governor Aecio Neves mentioned to the Consul General
that he objected to the flights returning illegal
Brazilian emigrants from the United States arriving
only in Belo Horizonte. The Governor said that
returning all deportees to Minas Gerais state, when
many were from other states, made it appear that
"exporting illegals" was a trademark activity of the

2. (U) The disagreement about where to send
deported Brazilians has again heated up. A flight of
169 Brazilians scheduled to be returned to Brazil
via the Confins Airport in Belo Horizonte on October
27 was cancelled at the last minute at the
Governor's request. The Governor emphasized that he
is not prohibiting landings such as this, simply
that he requests that other states and the federal
government participate in the economic and political
costs of such flights.

3. (U) Neves is quoted in the daily Estado de
Minas on October 28 saying "Minas Gerais is the only
state that has received deportees. We have received
three flights of illegal emigrants (766 repatriates)
and have sent them to their home cities. . .
Itamaraty (the federal government) was supposed to
be a partner with the state government, especially
for those people not originating from Minas Gerais,
but until now it hasn't participated in the effort."

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4. (U) Neves' proposal to the federal government
is that planes of deportees land in a different
state each time, and that individual states take
responsibility for the transportation of their
citizens home. The Ministry of Foreign Relations
reports that at least 50 percent of the deportees
are from Minas Gerais. In total, there are
reportedly close 27,000 Brazilians detained in Texas
for attempting to enter the U.S. illegally.

5. (SBU) COMMENT: Neves is aggressively and
successfully pursuing foreign investment in his
state. Information that large numbers of "mineiros"
are seeking economic opportunities in the United
States may not promise a healthy work climate in the
minds of foreign investors. One of the reasons
given for why more emigrants to the U.S. come from
Minas Gerais state than any other state - that many
Americans came to Minas after World War II to
participate in the development of the mining and
steel industries and influenced the mineiros and
even supported them in getting to the United States
- does not assuage the nervousness of investors
today about how solid the state is economically.
Neves has turned his state around in a short two-and-
a-half years - from deep in the red to a respectable
black. He is probably correct in seeing the
repatriation flights as drawing attention to
employment instability, but, rightly that it is a
problem in the country as a whole, not just in the
state of Minas Gerais.


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