Cablegate: Oas and U.S. Electoral Observation Efforts In
DE RUEHBO #7582 2922231
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 192231Z OCT 07
FM AMEMBASSY BOGOTA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9677
INFO RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA PRIORITY 7807
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS PRIORITY 9445
RUEHPE/AMEMBASSY LIMA PRIORITY 5540
RUEHZP/AMEMBASSY PANAMA PRIORITY 0740
RUEHQT/AMEMBASSY QUITO PRIORITY 6172
RUEHGL/AMCONSUL GUAYAQUIL PRIORITY 4128
RHMFISS/CDR USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY
UNCLAS BOGOTA 007582
FOR WHA/AND AND US/OAS
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PHUM PINR PREF PREL PTER CO
SUBJECT: OAS AND U.S. ELECTORAL OBSERVATION EFFORTS IN
SUPPORT OF GOC UNDERWAY
REF: BOGOTA 5431 AND PREVIOUS
1. The OAS Electoral Observation Mission (EOM) has a presence
on the ground and will support extensive GOC actions to
promote free and fair elections (reftel). The Embassy has
developed an election observation plan, and will deploy 30
officers across key Departments under OAS accreditation.
Other Embassies, including Brazil, Canada, Norway, and Sweden
will also contribute observers to the OAS mission. END
2. The OAS EOM Core Group and the first round of Departmental
Coordinators arrived in-country the week of October 2, and
set up offices in Bogota, Cali, Medellin, Pasto, and Santa
Marta. The Core Group consists of a dozen specialists in
political analysis, campaign finance, electoral systems and
law, election administration, technology, and communications,
as well as administrative officers.
3. In addition, Chief of Mission Dante Caputo was in Bogota
where he met with President Uribe, National Registrar Juan
Carlos Galindo, officials from the National Electoral
Council, and Bogota mayoral candidates Enrique Penalosa
(independent) and Samuel Moreno (Polo Democratico). He also
attended a dinner with Colombian opinion leaders, hosted by
former foreign minister Maria Emma Mejia and former president
and OAS Secretary General Cesar Gaviria, who currently leads
the Liberal Party.
4. Caputo told the media he is "seriously worried" about
illegal armed groups' attacks on candidates. He urged local
and national authorities to investigate the crimes committed
and submit findings to the EOM.
5. Additional Department Coordinators arrived October 15 to
set up offices in Monteria, Valledupar, and Villavicencio.
Core Group members also deployed in "mobile units" to
high-risk areas identified by the GOC in Arauca, Bucaramanga,
and Buenaventura. The coordinators will meet with mayors,
governors, candidates, registrars, electoral tribunal
officials, police officials, army commanders, and journalists.
6. Forty-eight short-term observers will arrive in Colombia
on October 24, bringing the final number of EOM observers to
85 on election day, not counting volunteers from the Embassy
or other foreign missions. EOM Department Coordinators will
remain on the ground until November 5 to observe the transfer
of votes from local tables to departmental counting centers.
The official count will begin on October 30.
7. In September, Embassy officers traveled to areas
identified by the GOC and others as high-risk for fraud and
violence from illegal armed groups to develop contacts and
assess the local political environment. These areas included
Antioquia (San Jose de Apartado), Cesar (Valledupar), Cordoba
(Monteria), Meta (Villavicencio), Norte de Santander
(Cucuta), Sucre (Sincilejo), and Valle del Cauca (Cali).
These officers will return to those regions to observe the
elections under OAS accreditation. We will also include
additional officers to cover other areas and Bogota, bringing
the total number of Embassy observers to 25-30. We are
working closely with the OAS to maximize coverage and
coordinating logistics and security with the OAS and GOC.