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Cablegate: Spain: Scenesetter for Inl Pdas Schweich's October

VZCZCXRO2650
PP RUEHAG RUEHDF RUEHIK RUEHLZ
DE RUEHMD #2543/01 2791629
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 061629Z OCT 06
FM AMEMBASSY MADRID
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0972
INFO RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHBO/AMEMBASSY BOGOTA PRIORITY 5025
RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA PRIORITY 0446
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS PRIORITY 1012
RUEHBUL/AMEMBASSY KABUL PRIORITY 0047
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ PRIORITY 1198
RUEHLA/AMCONSUL BARCELONA PRIORITY 2127
RUEHNA/DEA HQS WASHDC PRIORITY

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 MADRID 002543

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPT FOR INL/FO SCHWEICH; INL/PC PFORZHEIMER

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL SNAR SP
SUBJECT: SPAIN: SCENESETTER FOR INL PDAS SCHWEICH'S OCTOBER
16-17 VISIT

MADRID 00002543 001.2 OF 002


1. (SBU) Your visit will dovetail nicely with the visit in
mid September of DEA Administrator Tandy and will provide an
important opportunity to educate the Spaniards on the
Department's key role in the counter-narcotics effort. In
her meetings with members of the Spanish Ministry of
Interior, Civil Guard, Customs, and SEPBLAC (Spain's
anti-money laundering agency), Administrator Tandy
highlighted the importance of attacking the financial
infrastructure of drug trafficking organizations operating on
the Iberian Peninsula. You are scheduled to meet with your
counterparts in these same organizations and you will have an
opportunity to reinforce the points Administrator Tandy made.
Your visit can also serve to energize the Spanish
counter-narcotics effort as it prepares to host the
25th-annual International Drug Enforcement Conference (IDEC)
in Spring 2007. This will be the first time that the IDEC
has been held outside the western hemisphere and Spain is
eager to put its best face on the gathering of high-level
drug and law enforcement officials from throughout the world.
You may wish to pulse the Spanish for the current status of
conference preparations and draft agenda. The Spanish
government knows it faces serious challenges on the narcotics
front and it ranks drug trafficking as one of its most
important law enforcement concerns. The Spanish continue to
maintain excellent relations with US law enforcement, but
more can be done, and your meetings can be a forum to discuss
additional avenues of multi-agency cooperation between our
two governments.

2. (SBU) Spain has become the principal entry and
transshipment zone for the large quantities of South American
cocaine and Moroccan cannabis destined for European Union
consumer markets, and is also a major transit location for
drug proceeds destined for South and Central America. The
Iberian Peninsula's strategic location along the Atlantic
Ocean, combined with the ease of communication with the
Spanish and Portuguese languages, has enabled South American
drug trafficking organizations to establish themselves with
relative ease. You could encourage the Spanish to lean on
key Latin American countries such as Brazil, Argentina,
Venezuela and Colombia, whose territories are playing an
increasing role in the transiting of drugs to Spain, to
further enlist their efforts in the counter-narcotics fight.
Your Spanish interlocutors may ask for your views on issues
of law enforcement and intelligence related to these
countries. Moving away from Latin America, Spanish officials
have a key interest in the current narcotics situation in
Afghanistan as its military leads a Provincial Reconstruction
Team in the western part of the country. Spanish press often
focuses on the 'worsening' situation of opium cultivation in
Afghanistan (the DEA Administrator was pressed on this during
her interview with left-leaning El Pais), and you may wish to
provide our views on the Afghan counter-drug strategy and a
readout of the recently released report on opium cultivation
and production in that country.

3. (SBU) Spain also has a large domestic drug problem and
continues to be the largest consumer of cocaine in the
European Union. The Ministry of Health released a report
earlier this month claiming that almost 30,000 Spaniards
between the ages of 14 and 18 consume cannabis on a daily
basis while 6,000 youth in the same age group use cocaine
every day. The Spanish government has recently launched a
new anti-drug publicity campaign and you might inquire about
its desired impact when you discuss demand reduction with
senior officials of Spain's National Drug Plan (PND). The
PND was approved in 1999 to cover the years 2000-2008 and
expanded the scope of law enforcement activities and targeted
money laundering and illicit commerce in chemical precursors.
In March of last year, the Spanish government modified the
PND to focus on reduced drug consumption, and Spain continues
to work on ways to reduce demand.

4. (SBU) The lack of financial investigative experience by
Spanish law enforcement officials and antiquated or
under-utilized financial laws have combined to create a
friendly work environment for drug trafficking and drug money
laundering organizations. In an effort to increase the
interdiction and seizure of illicit drugs and proceeds, the
DEA Madrid Country Office has coordinated DEA training
opportunities for their Spanish counterparts. Our Spanish

MADRID 00002543 002.2 OF 002


law enforcement and judicial counterparts have attended
training seminars on money laundering, undercover money
pickups, and illicit financial investigations, and plans are
in the works for training on undercover operations. It is
likely that your interlocutors will broach the subject of
funding for future training opportunities and would welcome
your thoughts on how they might increase their
counter-narcotics operations. You will have the opportunity
to meet with the Ambassador, DCM, and Country Team members
before you engage with your Spanish counterparts to gain a
better understanding of the current state of joint
operational activities.

5. (SBU) Your visit also occurs during a very active agenda
of bilateral cooperation across the foreign policy spectrum.
Our respective governments are trying to look past the damage
done to bilateral relations stemming from the Spanish
government's decision to abruptly pull its troops from Iraq
in April 2004 to focus on areas of mutual interest in which
we can cooperate. Over the past two years, the Zapatero
government has made repeated efforts to improve
trans-Atlantic relations, most notably with a force
contribution in Afghanistan and the leadership of a
Provincial Reconstruction Team. Spain has shouldered a
significant load in Afghanistan and the government's support
of the mission there is strong, despite constant criticism
from the opposition party and the rampant unpopularity the
mission holds among the Spanish populace.

6. (SBU) We have also been pleased with Spanish efforts to
support several other important issues in our global agenda.
Despite pulling its troops from Iraq, Spain still contributes
to our mission there by training Iraqi deminers and pledging
financial support for humanitarian projects--such as the $22
million recently pledged to finish construction on a
children's hospital in the town of Basra. The Zapatero
government continues to allow blanket overflight and landing
clearances, even for Iraq operations, at
strategically-located bases in southern Spain that the US
shares with the Spanish navy and air force. Spain is
participating in the UN peacekeeping mission in Lebanon,
again despite persistent criticism from the opposition, with
a military commitment that will total 1,200 troops.

7. (SBU) Though bilateral relations are now on an even keel,
differences remain, such as how to manage the transition to
democracy in Cuba, high-level contacts with the Syrian
government and the sale of defense equipment to Venezuela.
The Zapatero government pledged to sell aircraft and patrol
boats to Venezuela, but the planes deal died after the US
refused the transfer of US technology involved and the GOS
will not seek to revive it. President Zapatero remains
viscerally opposed to the Iraq operation and continues to
refer publicly to what he calls an "illegal" war, though he
has reduced the frequency of such incidents.

8. (SBU) The US and Spain also coordinate closely on
counter-terrorism and judicial issues. We regularly discuss
political events in Latin America, most notably in Cuba,
Bolivia, and Venezuela. During their June meeting, Secretary
Rice and Foreign Minister Moratinos agreed that Africa might
represent another area in which both countries could
cooperate productively, and the Spanish government launched
their Plan Africa shortly thereafter, a significant program
of targeted assistance to West Africa, Mauritania and
Morocco. Your visit will add to the important list of
high-level US officials who this fall have either visited
Spain or plan to come, including Cuba Transition Coordinator
McCarry, Special Coordinator for Venezuela McCarthy, Attorney
General Gonzalez, and Deputy Treasury Secretary Kimmitt. The
Secretary told FM Moratinos after their meeting that she also

SIPDIS
plans to visit Spain this fall.
AGUIRRE

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