Cablegate: Toledo Criticizes Chavez in Army Day Speech

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

161521Z Dec 05




E.O. 12958: N/A

Sensitive but Unclassified. Please protect accordingly.

1. (U) President Alejandro Toledo clearly, albeit
indirectly, criticized Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez
during his Army Day speech on 12/9. In his remarks,
President Toledo recalled that Army Day commemorates the
Battle of Ayachucho, where an army made up of recruits from
many nations defeated Spain and won Peru's independence.
Toledo noted that the republics of this continent began with
a dream of integration and said that the region is again
seized with this desire. He warned, however, that
integration must be based on the common values of democracy,
rejecting the false path of populism.

2. (U) Toledo stated that Peru had advanced both politically
and economically since he took over the presidency in July
2001. He explained that the country had transitioned from an
oppressive dictatorship to a democracy and had maintained
four years of solid economic growth. The President then
contrasted the path taken by Peru with that offered by "other
states" where politicians use populism to gain power and
then, upon taking power, concentrate all control in their own
hands. He criticized any ruler who would foment discontent
and divisions among his own people to achieve personal
objectives, as well as leaders who made false promises to the
poor and disenfranchised to gain their support only to betray
their hopes by not following through with sound economic
policies. Toledo concluded by urging his countrymen to
continue the successful polices of his government and to
remain united.

3. (SBU) At a lunch later that day, Toledo asked the
Ambassador whether he had noted the condemnation of Chavismo
and was pleased at the Ambassador's assent. When President
Toledo subsequently addressed those at the lunch, he repeated
his messages about the right and the wrong path towards South
American integration, highlighting the common values of
democracy that Peru shares with the United States. He added
that the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) is more than just a
commercial accord.

4. (U) Comment: Toledo's comments were a thinly-veiled
criticism of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and his
anti-democratic, anti-U.S., anti-market model. A substantial
Venezuelan military contingent attended the Army Day
celebration, and undoubtedly understood the Peruvian
President's message. End Comment.

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