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Cablegate: Mfa Secretary of State for Iberoamerica Trinidad

VZCZCXRO9449
RR RUEHAG RUEHROV
DE RUEHMD #2077 3101838
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 061838Z NOV 07
FM AMEMBASSY MADRID
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 3759
INFO RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE
RUEHBO/AMEMBASSY BOGOTA 5299
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS 1253
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ 1298
RUEHPE/AMEMBASSY LIMA 1897
RUEHQT/AMEMBASSY QUITO 1386
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RHMFISS/HQ USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL

C O N F I D E N T I A L MADRID 002077

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

FOR EUR/WE, ALSO FOR WHA - A/S SHANNON

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/06/2017
TAGS: PREL SP VE
SUBJECT: MFA SECRETARY OF STATE FOR IBEROAMERICA TRINIDAD
JIMENEZ VISIT TO VENEZUELA

REF: CARACAS 2136

Classified By: DEPUTY CHIEF OF MISSION HUGO LLORENS, REASONS 1.4B AND D
.

1. (C) According to a November 6 readout provided by Trinidad
Jimenez' Chief of Staff Juan Carlos Sanchez to the DCM,
Jimenez found the situation in Venezuela "extremely bad"
during her October 31 visit. She described Chavez as being
in "another world." The polarization of the country was
increasing and the potential for civil strife rising. She
found the opposition demoralized and pessimistic. Only the
students seemed to have any energy. In her meetings with
senior Venezuelan officials, including Chavez and FM Maduro,
the GOV message was that Spain was worrying about "peanuts"
by focusing on issues such as press freedoms and human
rights. Spain should instead be focused on strategic issues
such as energy cooperation. The Venezuelans said they were
delivering the same message to Washington. They welcomed
Spanish energy firms to Venezuela.

2. (C) Jimenez was struck by what her Chief of Staff called
the "Havana-ization" of Caracas, with the city beginning to
look distinctly dingy. The economy appeared to be
deteriorating, and there were tales of shortages of basic
goods such as milk. In her meetings with the Spanish
business community, the message was consistently downbeat.
They thought the economy was sinking and the potential for
violence rising. They told her the increase in public sector
spending and rising budget deficit was not sustainable even
with high oil prices. The business consensus was that the
Venezuelan economy was headed for bust with the next 24
months.
AGUIRRE

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