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Cablegate: Indigenous Woman to Lead Assembly

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DE RUEHLP #2099 2151855
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 031855Z AUG 06
FM AMEMBASSY LA PAZ
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0136
INFO RUEHAC/AMEMBASSY ASUNCION 6025
RUEHBO/AMEMBASSY BOGOTA 3344
RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA 7194
RUEHBU/AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES 4457
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS 1732
RUEHPE/AMEMBASSY LIMA 1747
RUEHMN/AMEMBASSY MONTEVIDEO 3943
RUEHQT/AMEMBASSY QUITO 4363
RUEHSG/AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO 8927
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHINGTON DC
RHMFIUU/HQ USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL

UNCLAS LA PAZ 002099

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL ECON BL
SUBJECT: INDIGENOUS WOMAN TO LEAD ASSEMBLY
1. (SBU) On July 29, President Morales designated Silvia Lazarte as
the MAS' candidate for Constituent Assembly (CA) president, noting
that she represents two sectors that have been historically
excluded: women and the indigenous. Opposition parties criticized

the nomination process as too one-sided, referring to Lazarte as
"Morales' candidate" and citing undue interference by the executive
branch in her election. They emphasized that MAS assembly members,
and not Morales, should select the party's nominee. The National
Unity party's Samuel Doria Medina said that his party would not
support Lazarte's candidacy due to Morales' meddling in Assembly
affairs. However, on August 1, after Vice President Garca Linera
ratified Lazarte's nomination, and dispelled accusations that
Morales had personally appointed her, Podemos conceded that a MAS
candidate should assume the presidency.
2. (SBU) Lazarte, 42, is a Quechua Indian and former cocalero
organizer from Cochabamba. She was elected to the CA as a
department-wide representative of Santa Cruz, and, like Morales,
believes the social movements should oversee the Assembly. Lazarte
has extensive sindicalist experience and a somewhat murky past: She
held leadership positions in the Nuevo Chapare union, the Federacion
de Mujeres del Tropico de Cochabamba, the National Federation of
Peasant Women Bartolina Sisa, and the Nueva Amrica community. She
was detained in January 2002 for suspected involvement in the death
of four military and police officers following a confrontation
between cocaleros and security forces. Lazarte is married with
three children, two of whom are adopted.
3. (SBU) Comment: The Assembly will elect its president and
directorate sometime after August 6, when it convenes for the first
time. While Lazarte's nomination is interesting for social
inclusion reasons, many wonder if she has the capacity, experience,
or leadership to manage this historic event. End comment.

GREENLEE

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