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Cablegate: Dominican Mfa Official Comments That "Compact With

VZCZCXYZ0000
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHDG #2720/01 2361256
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 241256Z AUG 06
FM AMEMBASSY SANTO DOMINGO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5872
INFO RUEHZA/WHA CENTRAL AMERICAN COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHUB/USINT HAVANA PRIORITY 0129
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY

UNCLAS SANTO DOMINGO 002720

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR WHA/CAR SEARBY

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PHUM PINR PREL CU DR
SUBJECT: DOMINICAN MFA OFFICIAL COMMENTS THAT "COMPACT WITH
THE CUBAN PEOPLE" BENEFITS CASTRO

REF: STATE 113702

1. (SBU) Summary. In response to shared points regarding the
"Compact with the Cuban People," Embassy received a four page
written response by Ambassador Danilo P. Clime, Director of
the Caribbean Affairs Section of the Dominican Ministry of
Foreign Affairs. Clime asserts in his response that, given
U.S. history in the region, the manner in which the Compact
is written, including specific guarantees of basic service
provision during a democratic transition and warnings against
third-party interference, allows it to easily be
misrepresented as an imperialist manifesto. He considers the
Compact to play directly into the hands of Castro and those
others hoping to perpetuate a communist dictatorship. We see
Clime's intellectual distance from Cuban realities as
characteristic of the ruling PLD party. End summary.

2. (U) The Embassy's delivery of reftel points on the
"Compact with the Cuban People" elicited a lengthy written
commentary from the Dominican Foreign Ministry official Amb.
Danilo P. Clime, responsible for Caribbean affairs. Poloff
contacted Clime to determine whether his reply was personal
or official.

---------------
Danilo P. Clime
---------------

2. (U) The tone of Clime's missive and personal conversation,
suggest Clime is primarily an academic. He holds advanced
degrees in general social studies, law and international
relations, and strategic studies on security and defense. He
has served as a professor for the bulk of his professional
career at both the Technological Institute of Santo Domingo
(INTEC) and the Technological Institute of Santiago
(Dominican Republic) (UTESA). He identifies himself as a
"sociologist", is popularly described as such, and is the
author of several books dealing with sociological themes as
they apply to the Dominican Republic. He is a minor media
figure -- serving as co-host of the local television show
"Sondeo" ("Opinion-Taking").

3. (SBU) Clime is no longer politically active in any real
sense, though he was an active communist party member prior
to his expulsion in 1977 for "revisionism." Subsequent work
as the Executive Director of the Dominican Federation of
Merchandisers suggests that he substantially modified his
early beliefs.

4. (SBU) Clime's presence at the Foreign Ministry under both
Fernandez administrations (previously as an
Ambassador-at-large) reflects the ruling Dominican Liberation
Party's (PLD) historic ties with the left, as well as
President Fernandez's affinity for academics and academia.
Clime's comments should be viewed as generally in-line with
PLD and governmental policy.

--------------------------------------------
Clime on the "Compact with the Cuban People"
--------------------------------------------

-- U.S. History and the "Latin" Mind

5. (U) Clime suggests that the U.S. history in the region
presents the United States with a complicated policy
environment. While the explicit post-Cold War goal of the
United States to construct functional democracies in Latin
America is highly appreciated and marks an important
reference point for U.S.-Latin American relations, the
longer-term history of the United States in the region is one
of governmental relations based on misinformation,
stereotypes, and to a certain degree, demonization and latent
resentment. Despite this difficult environment, all agree,
including "anti-imperialist" Cubans with whom Clime has had
limited contact, that the United States will and should play
a "starring role" in any democratic transition process
involving Cuba.

6. (U) Clime holds, however, that in doing so the United
States must consider that reliance on emotion, speculation,
and conjecture are principal features of Latin political
culture. That is to say, given the history of U.S. relations
with Latin America and the Latin penchant for "discovering"
hidden agendas, any rational statements of policy will
certainly be read regionally with an eye for conspiracy and
intervention.


-- The Role of the Exile Community

7. (U) In an attempt to demonstrate the risks posed by
non-analytical political thinking, Clime offers a Dominican
example: the upheaval immediately following the assassination
of General Rafael Trujillo in 1961. Clime attributes much of
the discord to returning exiles who, emotion-driven, failed
to recognize that their lengthy disconnect from Dominican
public life caused them to lack both legitimacy and
credibility in the political sphere.

8. (SBU) By characterizing both the Dominican Republic under
Trujillo and Cuba under Castro as personality-based
dictatorships, Clime implicitly warns that U.S. support for
Cuban exile groups, participation in any democratic
transition would be counter-productive.

9. (SBU) Clime expanded on this point, suggesting that large
segments of the Cuban internal resistance movement have
already signaled an unwillingness to accept the direction of
potential leaders in exile. He takes the time specifically
to repudiate the position of the Cuban-American Foundation
(FNCA) as particularly disruptive. For Clime, the FNCA's
declaration that it "will not negotiate with those with
blood-stained hands" runs the risk of creating a significant
political void. Clime says that the resulting void could be
dangerous (a parallel might be found in the stringent
de-Baathification following the Coalition's victory in
Operation Iraqi Freedom). He also highlights a recent clash
of strategy between Cuba's internal dissidents (especially
Vladimiro Roca) and the Cuban exile community -- while Roca
and others called for reserved debate during the Elian
Gonzalez crisis, this course of action was emphatically not
followed by the "Calle 8" exile community in Miami.

-- Warning to "Third Parties" Confusing and Unnecessary

10. (SBU) Considering the exile community to be essentially a
third party, Clime suggests that the U.S. position
"discouraging third parties from intervening and interfering
with the will of the Cuban people" is, at best, ambiguous.
This warning (which Clime assumes to be aimed at Venezuelan
President Hugo Chavez), is unnecessary, in his view. Despite
the early success of insurgent, messianic, populist
"anti-imperialist" movements in Venezuela and Bolivia,
Chavista movements in Peru and Mexico have not met with
success. The majority of Latin Americans remain blase when
confronted with this type of movement in any case.

-- Assertion: U.S. Actions Provide Cover for Castro

11. (SBU) How do these radical movements survive given that
the majority of Latin Americans reject the underlying
philosophy? For Clime, it is because the regimes in question
are able to rally nationalists to their cause. Clime
hypothesizes that personality-based dictatorships are
inherently unstable; the erosion of institutions creates
vacancies in the public space at the same time it reduces the
legitimacy and credibility of government interlocutors. The
ability of the regime to survive rests on its ability
nevertheless to present convincing arguments for credibility.
Castro has been able to do this over the last forty years by
constantly reinforcing the concept of the external enemy. In
socialist or communist regimes the watchword is
"imperialism," that is anti-Americanism. In Latin American
regimes, a predisposition to assume the worst of U.S.
intentions makes it that much easier to play the
"nationalist" or "anti-imperialist" card in the face even of
innocuous U.S. policy statements. Clime says, "For this
reason, the United States should at all costs avoid the
appearance of direct intervention in Cuba."

12. (SBU) However, as Clime notes, this is precisely the
approach of the announced plan. The "blunt manner" in which
the United States provides guarantees of foodstuffs, water,
and fuel, combined with plans for U.S. assistance in
reconstructing the Cuban economy, evokes precisely the direct
intervention in Cuban "internal affairs" that drives forward
Castro's anti-imperialist message.

-- "Removing Blockade Would Undercut Castro's Support"

13. (SBU) Rather than pursuing publication of the Compact
(which Clime views as nothing more than a contingency plan
for the eventual passage of Castro from the political scene),

Clime proposes the abandonment of the current "blockade"
against Cuba. Clime suggests that dropping this "ineffective
blockade" would be a proactive step leading to the collapse
of communism in Cuba, much as socialism collapsed in the
former Soviet Bloc after exposure to the West.

14. (U) Reintegration of Cuba into the international
community and the western hemisphere would result in
increased scrutiny by international courts, the dynamic
opening of commerce, and the dismantling of the fundamental
base of Castro's legitimacy, which, after all, is a principal
goal of the United States in the region.

-------
COMMENT
-------

15. (SBU) Clime's analysis is probably very close to that of
the ruling PLD and President Fernandez. They take a
relatively cool, intellectual view of Cuba, unwilling to
challenge the repressive authoritarianism of Castro and his
government, in part because Cuban ideologues supported the
resistance against Dominican dictator Trujillo and the armed
expedition in 1973 against the autocratic Balaguer. Although
that Cuban-supported intervention failed, many Dominicans,
even today, consider its participants to be martyrs for
democracy. Even the conservative Hipolito Mejia thought long
and hard before directing his foreign minister to vote in
favor of the Cuba resolution at UNHCR in 2004.
16. (SBU) Under the ousted and then defeated Juan Bosch, the
PLD was born in the 1970's as a disciplined association of
believers in Marxism and "imposed democracy," a group that
included the young and impressionable Fernandez. They have
had the luxury of witnessing the long failure of Cuban
domestic politics while benefiting from the pluralism and
gradual positive evolution of the Dominican electoral system.
Cuba is something of an embarrassment to them -- which is,
perhaps, one of the reasons that the PLD has so carefully
ignored the human rights abuses of the Castro government.

17. This and similar reporting may be found on the Embassy's
SIPRNET website at:
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/wha/santodomingo.
BULLEN

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