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Cablegate: More Attacks On Usaid, Charges of Paying the Press

VZCZCXRO7937
PP RUEHLMC
DE RUEHLP #2416/01 2472221
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 042221Z SEP 07
FM AMEMBASSY LA PAZ
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4868
INFO RUEHAC/AMEMBASSY ASUNCION 7047
RUEHBO/AMEMBASSY BOGOTA 4415
RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA 8309
RUEHBU/AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES 5539
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS 2766
RUEHPE/AMEMBASSY LIMA 2947
RUEHMN/AMEMBASSY MONTEVIDEO 4828
RUEHQT/AMEMBASSY QUITO 5400
RUEHSG/AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO 0008
RUEHLMC/MILLENNIUM CHALLENGE CORP
RUMIAAA/USCINCSO MIAMI FL
RUEHUB/USINT HAVANA 0514
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHINGTON DC
RHMFIUU/HQ USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 LA PAZ 002416

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL ECON BL
SUBJECT: MORE ATTACKS ON USAID, CHARGES OF PAYING THE PRESS

REF: A. LA PAZ 2407

B. LA PAZ 2387

- - - -
Summary
- - - -

1. (SBU) Government Minister Juan Ramon Quintana continued
his barrage of false accusations against USAID on September
2, once again charging USAID with funding groups to
destabilize Bolivia. Quintana also accused the USG of paying
journalists to write articles that foment conflict. While
Quintana continued to slam U.S. assistance, he argued that
the Morales government is not prepared (yet) to shut off the
funding spigot, asserting Bolivia still needs international
aid for five to ten more years. Quintana has essentially
launched a witch hunt against officials from former
conservative governments who work on USAID projects. This
witch hunt, however, may backfire on him as he worked in the
Banzer administration and also attended a U.S.-financed
course at the Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies. End
Summary.

- - - - - - - - - - -
Piling on the Charges
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2. (SBU) During a September 2 interview with the
government-run radio station, Government Minister Juan Ramon
Quintana continued his attacks from the previous week against
USAID (refs A and B). Quintana charged that "Gonistas"
(supporters of former President Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada)
and "neo-liberals" are manipulating U.S. assistance. He
re-asserted that U.S. assistance is channeled to people and
groups that wish to destabilize the Bolivian government and
argued that the government will identify those who form "part
of the structure of destabilization."

3. (SBU) Quintana used the same interview to level new
charges at the USG. The government minister argued that USAID
pays journalists to write articles and op-ed pieces that seek
to subvert Bolivian government. "Via these programs,
journalists are paid, columnists are paid, and consultants
are paid to create scenarios precisely to promote conflict."
He also falsely accused USAID of creating parallel social
organizations and unions. (Comment: In fact, we believe, the
Morales administration has been financing parallel labor and
social organizations, when the existing leadership refuses to
follow the MAS party line. End Comment).

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
We Hate U.S. AID, But Please Give Us More
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

4. (SBU) Quintana issued his comments only one day before
Vice President Alvaro Garcia Linera's trip to the United
States. Prior to his departure Garcia Linera stated that he
would "inform" Congress on how U.S. assistance is really used
and to visit the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) to
plead for additional assistance. (Note: The MCC visit has
since been canceled, supposedly because the Bolivian
government's proposal has not yet been translated into
English. In fact, MCC Team lead Graciela Toro told the DCM
on September 4 that proposal is completed and has already
been translated into English. She said the vice president
canceled his appointment due to other considerations, of
which she had no knowledge. End Note). Perhaps recognizing
the incoherence of the government's discourse on U.S.
assistance, Quintana in his radio interview argued that the
Bolivian government is still open to U.S. assistance and does
not seek a fight with the United States. He stated, "We will
need assistance for five or ten more years . . . in the
meantime, we are going to continue receiving assistance; it
is not our intention to fight with the government of the
United States, just to exercise our right to sovereignty."

- - - -

LA PAZ 00002416 002 OF 002


Comment
- - - -

5. (SBU) Quintana has condemned USAID for contracting
officials from former conservative governments and labeled it
proof of a U.S. conspiracy against the Morales
administration. He has threatened to identify more former
government officials who receive USAID's dollars. However,
Quintana's witch hunt may backfire on him. Senior Morales
administration officials, including Quintana, are finding
themselves having to defend their past affiliations with
previous governments, the USG and U.S.-affiliated
organizations. An opposition Congressional deputy claims
Quintana used to work for the Soros Foundation. The
accusation of even indirectly working for George Soros
(viewed as the ultimate neo-liberal) led Quintana to respond
that he would resign should the deputy present proof. While
it is doubtful that Quintana will resign, revealing his
double standard will prove interesting. End Comment.
GOLDBERG

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