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Cablegate: Ambassador Brownfield,S September 26 Meeting With

VZCZCXYZ0001
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHBO #7061 2732047
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 302047Z SEP 07
FM AMEMBASSY BOGOTA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9204
INFO RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS PRIORITY 9355
RHMFISS/CDR USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL PRIORITY

id: 124107
date: 9/30/2007 20:47
refid: 07BOGOTA7061
origin: Embassy Bogota
classification: CONFIDENTIAL
destination:
header:
VZCZCXYZ0001
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHBO #7061 2732047
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 302047Z SEP 07
FM AMEMBASSY BOGOTA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9204
INFO RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS PRIORITY 9355
RHMFISS/CDR USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL PRIORITY


----------------- header ends ----------------

C O N F I D E N T I A L BOGOTA 007061

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

FOR CA/OCS/ACS AND WHA/AND

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/30/2017
TAGS: CASC PTER PREL PGOV CO VZ
SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR BROWNFIELD,S SEPTEMBER 26 MEETING WITH
FARC HOSTAGES, FAMILIES

Classified By: Ambassador William R. Brownfield
Reason: 1.4 (b) and (d)

1. (C) Summary: The Ambassador met September 26 with
families of the three American hostages held by the FARC.
The families appreciated the Ambassador's recent statements
that he would not oppose other governments' efforts to
resolve the hostages' detention. The Ambassador stressed the
importance of obtaining concrete communication and proof of
life from the FARC, and he encouraged the families to make
the same point to those involved in the current humanitarian
exchange initiative. The atmosphere throughout the meeting
remained positive and cordial. End summary.

2. (U) The Ambassador, accompanied by DCM and ACS Chief, met
September 26 at the Embassy with family members of FARC Amcit
hostages Keith Stansell, Thomas Howes, and Marc Gonsalves.
In attendance were Stansell's parents, Lynn and Gene
Stansell; Gonsalves' father, George Gonsalves; and Howes'
wife, Mariana Howes. Also attending were Stansell's 15-year
old son Kyle and Howes' ten-year old son Tommy. Stephen
Donehoo and Sarah King of the consulting firm Kissinger
McLarty, which represents the families, also participated.

3. (SBU) The Ambassador began by expressing openness to new
ideas that might lead to the hostages' safe return. He
reiterated the U.S. policy against concessions to terrorists,
noting that American lives had been saved as a result and
more would in the future, but he repeated his previous public
stance that the USG would not object if other countries or
individuals were to facilitate their release from the FARC.
The Ambassador explained that all options remain on the
table, but stressed he would keep the welfare of the hostages
foremost in his mind in considering any course of action.
Lynn Stansell and Mariana Howes both expressed thanks in
response to these points, and George Gonsalves said he
"couldn't ask for more than that."

4. (C) The Ambassador described current efforts by
Venezuelan President Chavez and Colombian Senator Piedad
Cordoba as aimed at establishing lines of communication with
a representative who could speak for the FARC. Once those
lines are open, he said, the next step would be for the FARC
to provide proof of life and to state concretely their
conditions for the hostages' release. The Ambassador advised
the families to make that same point during future
conversations with President Chavez, Senator Cordoba, and
others involved. Chavez and Cordoba had volunteered to take
on the facilitator role. The families had a right to tell
them what they expected.

5. (C) Mariana Howes described the families' meeting with
President Chavez in Caracas the day before as "very
positive," and Mr. Donehoo said Chavez understood the
importance of obtaining proof of life. The Ambassador said
he would try not to say anything publicly that might
complicate Chavez's role in facilitating the hostages'
release.

6. (C) Mr. Donehoo reported that Senator Cordoba would meet
with the FARC sometime in the next week and would request
proof of life at that time. He also said she would take with
her photos and letters from the families for delivery to the
hostages. Mr. Donehoo expected Senator Cordoba to brief him
on the meeting afterwards.

7. (U) In response to Mr. Donehoo's concerns about
sometimes-inconsistent GOC messages about the current
initiative, the Ambassador noted that events have moved
quickly and surmised that the GOC might not yet have
formulated a government-wide public posture. He assured the
families that as President Uribe determined how to proceed he
would set an appropriate GOC line and his minister's would
follow it.

8. (U) Mr. Donehoo concluded the meeting by thanking the
Ambassador on behalf of the families for his approach to the
hostage issue. He and the Ambassador agreed that they would
serve as the principal channel of communication for the
families, although the Ambassador invited the families to
contact him directly if they wished. Throughout the meeting,
the families' maintained a positive, collaborative attitude,
and expressed hope that the current initiative would bear
fruit.

Brownfield

=======================CABLE ENDS============================

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