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Cablegate: Brazil's Foreign Ministry Understands Dea Role In

VZCZCXRO8375
RR RUEHRG
DE RUEHBR #1557 3391134
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 041134Z DEC 08
FM AMEMBASSY BRASILIA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 3019
INFO RUEHBO/AMEMBASSY BOGOTA 4809
RUEHBU/AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES 5960
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS 4300
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ 6721
RUEHPE/AMEMBASSY LIMA 4052
RUEHMN/AMEMBASSY MONTEVIDEO 7605
RUEHQT/AMEMBASSY QUITO 2663
RUEHSG/AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO 0744
RUEHRG/AMCONSUL RECIFE 8773
RUEHRI/AMCONSUL RIO DE JANEIRO 6950
RUEHSO/AMCONSUL SAO PAULO 3158
RUEABND/DEA HQS WASHDC

UNCLAS BRASILIA 001557

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR WHA AND INL

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: SNAR PREL BR BO
SUBJECT: BRAZIL'S FOREIGN MINISTRY UNDERSTANDS DEA ROLE IN
REGIONAL COUNTERDRUG FIGHT

1. (SBU) On November 18, Ambassador Sobel met with Brazilian
Ministry of External Relations (MRE) Under Secretary for
Political Affairs Ambassador Everton Vargas to inform him of
our intention to increase DEA staff in our offices in
Brasilia and Sao Paulo in light of the Bolivian government's
decision to expel DEA. Accepting our diplomatic note on the
matter, Vargas said he understood how complicated the
situation is and said that Bolivian Government Minister Rada
had visited Brazil to discuss counternarcotics cooperation.
What Bolivia wants, however, Brazil cannot deliver: Bolivia
wants to renegotiate a 1988 protocol on counterdrug
cooperation to allow for production of coca leaf, but Vargas
said that Brazil could not agree to this in light of
international conventions it had signed.

2. (SBU) Vargas also said that MRE officials had been clear
with Rada that Brazil cannot replace DEA in Bolivia. Brazil
does not have the expertise, resources, or personnel to do
so. At the same time, Brazil recognizes that it is essential
to help Bolivia fight drug trafficking; "We will be the main
victims," Vargas said, if trafficking out of Bolivia
increases. Vargas pointed to the upcoming UNASUL ministerial
in Porto Alegre as the venue where regional support for
Bolivian counterdrug efforts would be discussed.

3. (SBU) Comment: Vargas did not give a clear "yes" or "no"
to the issue of increased DEA staffing, but the tone and
substance of his discussion were unusually open and suggest
an understanding of the potential problem for Brazil created
by DEA's departure from Bolivia and the irreplaceable role
that DEA plays in fighting drug trafficking in the region.
Vargas identified Director of the Office of Transnational
Illicit Activities Virginia Toniatti as the primary point of
contact at the MRE on the matter. Although she is generally
resistant to cooperation with the United States, and the GOB
has held up DEA visas in the past, the Federal Police have
repeatedly expressed support for increased DEA staffing in
Brazil and there appears to be a policy-level consensus that
Brazil can neither afford to replace DEA nor allow
trafficking from Bolivia to increase. This bodes well, but
only GOB issuance of visas for staffers slated to take up
posts in Brazil will demonstrate a commitment to allow DEA to
increase its presence here. End comment.
SOBEL

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