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Cablegate: Brazil: Members of Congress Petition Barack Obama

VZCZCXRO3409
RR RUEHRG
DE RUEHBR #1650 3581144
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 231144Z DEC 08
FM AMEMBASSY BRASILIA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 3153
INFO RUEHAC/AMEMBASSY ASUNCION 7281
RUEHBU/AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES 5993
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ 6757
RUEHMN/AMEMBASSY MONTEVIDEO 7619
RUEHSG/AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO 0775
RUEHRG/AMCONSUL RECIFE 8829
RUEHRI/AMCONSUL RIO DE JANEIRO 7013
RUEHSO/AMCONSUL SAO PAULO 3238
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 0288
RUEHUB/USINT HAVANA 0058

UNCLAS BRASILIA 001650

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL ETRD BR CU
SUBJECT: BRAZIL: MEMBERS OF CONGRESS PETITION BARACK OBAMA
TO LIFT CUBA TRADE EMBARGO

REF: BRASILIA 1542 (NOTAL)

1. Seventy-one of Brazil's 81 senators and 203 of the 513
federal deputies signed a petition addressed to
President-elect Obama calling for an end to the Cuba trade
embargo. They represent the spectrum of ideological parties
in congress and include some who are opposed to the Cuban
regime. The petition is similar to two petitions some
members of Congress sent to the Mission in November (reftel).

2. Senator Eduardo Suplicy (Workers Party - PT, the lead
party in the government coalition; of Sao Paulo) and Federal
Deputy Vanessa Grazziotin (Communist Party of Brazil - PCdoB,
a far left party in the government coalition; of Amazonas),
president of the Brazil-Cuba Parliamentary Group, presented
the petition to the Ambassador on December 17 and said the
petition is a "humanitarian plea...the end of the blockade
will help Cuba improve democratic institutions and Cuba will
become more democratic.". Suplicy and Grazziotin emphasized
the broad political spectrum the signatures represented,
noting they gathered the signatures in just two days and
could have gotten more. The petition's timing was quite
clearly selected to come just before the visit of Raul Castro
to Brasilia on December 18, as well as the Latin
American/Caribbean Summit in Costa do Sauipe, Bahia, on
December 16-17, and Suplicy and Grazziotin were eager to
present the petition to the Ambassador before press attention
on Castro (and the embargo) faded. They also may have
provided information for reports in Correio Braziliense and
Jornal do Brasil on December 17 that legislators would
present the petition to the Ambassador.

3. Among the Senators who signed are a number of prominent
figures identified with centrist or conservative views,
including former president Jose Sarney (Brazilian Democratic
Movement Party - PMDB, a non-ideological party in the
government coalition; of Amapa); former vice president Marco
Maciel (Democrats - DEM, center-right, opposition; of
Pernambuco), chairman of the Senator Foreign Relations and
National Defense Committee Heraclito Fortes (DEM; of Piaui);
and former three-time minister and president of the
Progressive Party Francisco Dornelles (of Rio de Janeiro).
Deputies who signed are overwhelmingly from left and
center-left parties, but a few members of center-right
parties such as the Democrats and the Progressive Party also
signed.

4. Begin text:

Petition

We, the undersigned Brazilian parliamentarians, address the
President-elect of the United States of America, Barack
Hussein Obama, to express the unconditional support of this
Congress for the end of the financial, commercial, and
economic blockade imposed on Cuba. In this statement, let us
reiterate the decision approved by 185 of the 192 members of
the Organization of the United nations ) UN ) in Assembly
last October 29.

The fulfillment of this decision is based on the principles
of the sovereignty of nations and the self-determination of
peoples inscribed in the UN Charter.

With the certainty that we will be heard, we are submitting
this document with numbered pages and signed by all.

End text.

5. Mission will pouch the petition to the Department's
presidential transition office.
KUBISKE

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