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Cablegate: Ambassador's Meeting with Senator Cristovam Buarque

VZCZCXRO6240
RR RUEHRG
DE RUEHBR #2607 3491132
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 151132Z DEC 06
FM AMEMBASSY BRASILIA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 7652
INFO RUEHAC/AMEMBASSY ASUNCION 5847
RUEHBU/AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES 4480
RUEHMN/AMEMBASSY MONTEVIDEO 6655
RUEHSG/AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO 5989
RUEHRG/AMCONSUL RECIFE 6021
RUEHRI/AMCONSUL RIO DE JANEIRO 3556
RUEHSO/AMCONSUL SAO PAULO 8866
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC

C O N F I D E N T I A L BRASILIA 002607

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/05/2016
TAGS: PGOV BR
SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR'S MEETING WITH SENATOR CRISTOVAM BUARQUE

Classified By: Political Counselor Dennis W. Hearne for reasons 1.4 b a
nd d.

1. (C) Summary. Ambassador Sobel met with Senator
Cristovam Buarque (Democratic Workers Party ) Pernambuco
state) on November 30 at the Senate. They discussed
educational issues, Buarque's differences with President
Lula, the composition of the second term government
coalition, and the imminent ministries shake-up. Buarque
could not predict the result of the shake-up, but said there
is no chance the PSDB would enter the government coalition.
End summary.
2. (U) The Ambassador, accompanied by poloffs, paid a
courtesy call on Senator Cristovam Buarque on November 30 at
his office. The wide-ranging discussion touched on the
upcoming visit to Brazil of Jeffrey Sachs (Buarque was
involved in Sachs,s last visit), the upcoming 50th
Anniversary of Brazil,s Fulbright program, and a number of
political issues.
3. (C) Buarque, who was a leading member of president
Lula's Workers Party (PT) and was Education Minister in
Lula's first term before breaking with him with him, told the
Ambassador that he and Lula "went separate ways" because Lula
did not share Buarque's view that the way to abolish poverty
was through basic education. He said Lula is not interested
in basic education because Lula is oriented toward labor
unions, and "illiterates have no union." He said he is
occasionally in touch with the president by telephone, but
the relationship has not been repaired.
4. (C) Buarque said his party, the Democratic Workers
Party, will almost certainly join the government coalition,
although he opposes such a move. Buarque said he believes
that a large coalition concentrates too much power in the
government, and he fears too much government control. He
offered Hugo Chavez's Venezuela as an example to be avoided.
5. (C) Buarque said there is no chance the PSDB (Brazilian
Social Democratic Party) would join the coalition, citing
internal disputes within the party on which he did not
elaborate. (Note: The PSDB allied with other parties to
challenge Lula in this year,s national elections. While
these opposition parties achieved a slight majority in the
Senate, the government coalition will retain its majority in
the Chamber of Deputies.)
6. (C) On the cabinet shake-up, he could not predict the
outcome. Buarque, who said he hopes to become chairman of
the Senate Education committee, said he also could not
predict whether Education Minister Haddad will stay on. He
said the coalition had to take more shape before it would be
apparent how the shake-up would come out, but he did say Lula
will have fewer "friends" around him, suggesting greater
attention to technical competence and maintaining his
multi-party coalition.

SOBEL

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