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Cablegate: Media Reaction: Western Hemisphere: Venezuela;Sao Paulo.

VZCZCXYZ0008
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHSO #0891 3101607
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 061607Z NOV 07
FM AMCONSUL SAO PAULO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7648
INFO RHEHNSC/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA PRIORITY 8761
RUEHRI/AMCONSUL RIO DE JANEIRO PRIORITY 8420
RUCPDOC/USDOC WASHDC 2939

UNCLAS SAO PAULO 000891

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE INR/R/MR; IIP/R/MR; WHA/PD

DEPT PASS USTR

USDOC 4322/MAC/OLAC/JAFEE
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KMDR OPRC OIIP ETRD BR
SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION: WESTERN HEMISPHERE: VENEZUELA;SAO PAULO.


1. "The Language That Chvez Understands"

Center-right national circulation daily O Estado de S. Paulo
editorialized (11/6): "A regime that permits a caudillo to remain
perennially in power, deprives minorities and the opposition their
fundamental liberties and allows a nation to be ruled without the
necessary legal guaranties is a true dictatorship. A nation armed to
the teeth without any plausible reason for that represents a
threat to its neighbors, regardless of the fact that the caudillo
speaks about Latin American fraternity and solidarity.... Colonel
Hugo Chvez, who this week became Venezuela's (perpetual)
constitutional dictator, is preparing a military adventure.... It is
not only Brazil that will be affected by Chvez's arms acquisitions.
It is the entire region's strategic balance that will be altered. To
suppose that Venezuelan forces would invade Brazil is as absurd as
to imagine that the U.S. will invade Venezuela.... But Chvez has
already said that he may intervene militarily in Bolivia to support
Evo Morales' regime, and it is perfectly possible that he will
occupy the Essequibo region in Guyana. One should not forget that
there is a treaty allowing Venezuela to maintain military bases in
Bolivian territory.... Chvez considers the Essequibo region part of
Venezuelan territory illegally under Guyana's sovereignty. A
military adventure near the Brazilian border would force the GOB to
adopt a tough position - which could not be restricted to rhetorical
condemnations in multilateral diplomatic fora.... Brazil will not
stop the caudillo with soft words and appeals to reason. Chvez only
understands one language. The GOB will do right, as announced a few
days ago, in speeding up a program to reequip its Armed Forces
providing them with the necessary means for national defense."

2. "Armed Discussions"

An editorial in liberal, leading national circulation daily Folha de
S. Paulo (11/6) remarked: "The origin of Chvez's coming together
with Russia's military industry is a reaction to the U.S. blockade
denying acquisition of American arms by Venezuela. The U.S. veto,
resulting from Chvez's childish attacks against the Bush
administration, was another deplorable attitude adopted by the U.S.
diplomacy in regards to Latin America. As happened in its shameful
support of the failed coup attempt against the Venezuelan president
in 2002, Washington now helped give Chvez an ideal pretext for his
adventures.... Disputes with Colombia and, something more plausible
- an intervention in Guyana, of which Venezuela claims approximately
two thirds of its territory, would not be only a fable, but options
available to Hugo Chvez. Venezuela's increasing arms acquisitions
is already causing effects in Brazil. Concerns with its northern
neighbor helped increase significantly the Armed Forces budget for
next year."

3. "Chvez Changes Laws To Perpetuate Himself In power"

Business-oriented Valor Economico's editorial maintained (11/6):
"Venezuela is quickly abandoning the last traces of democracy and
marching towards adapting its institutions to President Hugo
Chvez's authoritarianism and populism.... With the new
Constitution, Chvez will be able to reelect himself indefinitely
and each presidential term will be expanded from six to seven
years.... Force demonstrations and intimidations coming from the
Chvez administration include an arms race fed by petrodollars. The
foreign threat justification represented by the U.S. is a mix of
paranoia and political calculation. Armed to the teeth, the Chvez
administration now enjoys an enormous domestic dissuasive power and
a major source of diplomatic concern for his neighbors, beginning
with Brazil.... Chvez took a vital step to install his absolute
power in Venezuela. The supposed Brazilian strategy of including
him in Mercosul to moderate his radicalism did not produce any
visible results. To insist on that, when he does not respect
democratic formalities, is a mistake."
White

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