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Cablegate: Chavez' Proposal for Meeting with Farc's Marulanda

VZCZCXYZ0008
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHBO #8160 3251152
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 211152Z NOV 07
FM AMEMBASSY BOGOTA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0210
INFO RUEHSW/AMEMBASSY BERN PRIORITY 1326
RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA PRIORITY 7879
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS PRIORITY 9565
RUEHPE/AMEMBASSY LIMA PRIORITY 5655
RUEHMD/AMEMBASSY MADRID PRIORITY 0024
RUEHZP/AMEMBASSY PANAMA PRIORITY 0847
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 1113
RUEHQT/AMEMBASSY QUITO PRIORITY 6317
RUEHGL/AMCONSUL GUAYAQUIL PRIORITY 4181
RHMCSUU/FBI WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHMFISS/CDR USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL PRIORITY
RUEAWJC/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY

UNCLAS BOGOTA 008160

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PINR PREF PREL PTER FR SP SZ VZ CO
SUBJECT: CHAVEZ' PROPOSAL FOR MEETING WITH FARC'S MARULANDA
ELICITS GOC TIME LIMIT ON "HUMANITARIAN EXCHANGE" TALKS

REF: BOGOTA 7648

-------
SUMMARY
-------
1. On November 20, in response to Venezuelan President Hugo
Chavez' public statement that he received GOC authorization
for a meeting with FARC leader Manuel Marulanda, the GOC
issued a communique clarifying that such a meeting could only
occur after the FARC began to release its hostages. The GOC
also set a deadline of December 31 for the Chavez
humanitarian exchange efforts with the FARC. END SUMMARY.

2. On November 19, on the eve of a planned meeting with
French President Nicolas Sarkozy in Paris, Chavez told the
media that President Alvaro Uribe had authorized a
Chavez-Marulanda meeting--possibly in the previously
demilitarized (1998-2002, "despeje") zone of Caguan--as part
of his efforts to negotiate a "humanitarian exchange" of
FARC-held hostages for FARC prisoners in Colombian jails.
Chavez added that Uribe might also attend the meeting. The
statements came amidst Colombian media speculation over
whether Chavez would provide proof of life from the FARC
during his Paris meetings.

3. The GOC quickly released a communique clarifying Uribe's
offer, and setting a time limit on Chavez' efforts. Peace
Commissioner Luis Carlos Restrepo told the media that Uribe
made the Marulanda offer to Chavez in secret during the
November 8-10 Ibero-American for Chavez to use as a
"negotiating tool." Chavez had promised Uribe at the October
12 Guajira summit that he would limit comments to the media
on the exchange process (reftel). The communique added that
a Marulanda meeting would only be authorized if the "FARC
released a group of hostages in its power, with the
commitment to release all hostages, including the three North
Americans."

4. Restrepo added that a meeting in Caguan would be
authorized only with clear rules, international assistance,
and for the purpose of initiating a formal peace process with
the FARC. He added, "President Uribe told President Chavez
that the mediation effort should have a time limit. Today the
Government thinks that the limit should be the month of
December."

5. Restrepo said in several media interviews that the FARC
would attempt to endlessly delay the exchange process to gain
international recognition, and he reminded the media that in
early 2007 the FARC promised the Spanish, French, and Swiss
they would provide proof of life for the hostages. To date,
the FARC has not provided proof of life.


Brownfield

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