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Cablegate: Gbrv Police Target Usaid/Oti-Funded Democracy

VZCZCXRO2906
OO RUEHAG RUEHROV RUEHSL
DE RUEHCV #1132/01 2392310
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
O 272310Z AUG 09
FM AMEMBASSY CARACAS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3629
INFO RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE
RUEHWH/WESTERN HEMISPHERIC AFFAIRS DIPL POSTS

S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 CARACAS 001132

SIPDIS

FOR WHA, L, CA AND USAID/OTI

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/11/2018
TAGS: PGOV PHUM PREL CASC VE
SUBJECT: GBRV POLICE TARGET USAID/OTI-FUNDED DEMOCRACY
PROGRAMS

CARACAS 00001132 001.2 OF 002

Classified By: Political Counselor Robin D. Meyer for
Reasons 1.4(b) and (d).

1. (S) Summary: Action request in para 7 below. On August
26, police officers from the Scientific, Penal and Criminal
Investigations Corps (CICPC) presented citations requiring XXXXXXXXXXXX to
appear on September 1 before the police. XXXXXXXXXXXX is a contractor
for USAID/OTI in Caracas. XXXXXXXXXXXX
is in Venezuela on an official U.S. passport. He
entered Venezuela with an O-1 visa, which was renewed in
February 2008 for one year. Upon its expiration, Embassy
Caracas submitted a diplomatic note requesting a second
renewal. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs retained the
passport without notifying Embassy Caracas of its intention
to either approve or deny the request until August 26, 2009,
when Embassy Caracas retrieved the passport from the MFA.
DAI, Inc. has retained a local lawyer to represent XXXXXXXXXXXX
before the CICPC Directorate. On August 28, they will submit
a request for a one-week extension. End Summary.

CICPC Targets DAI Contractors
-----------------------------

2. (C) On August 27, XXXXXXXXXXXX met with DCM Caulfield and
other EmbOffs. According to XXXXXXXXXXXX, on August 26, police
officers from the Scientific, Penal and Criminal
Investigations Corps (CICPC) presented citations requiring
Amcits XXXXXXXXXXXX to appear on
September 1 before the CICPC Directorate for the
Investigation of Crimes Against the National Wealth. DAI
local staff informed CICPC that XXXXXXXXXXXX had departed Venezuela
in 2008. According to the CICPC officers, who behaved in a
polite and professional manner, the investigation was
initiated by the Superintendent of Banks (SUDEBANS) following
the detection of unusually large cash transfers in 2007 and
2008. this coincides with the December 2007 Constitutional
Referendum and national state and local elections in 2008.
The focus of the investigation will be the origin of these
Funds. The officers, who warned that the investigation would be
"long and deep," also said XXXXXXXXXXXX will be investigated
by the tax authority SENIAT and the immigration authority ONIDEX,
to verify XXXXXXXXXXXX immigration status.

3. (C) XXXXXXXXXXXX is a dual U.S.-Argentine national. He
entered Venezuela with an O-1 visa, which expired in February
2008. It was renewed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in
Caracas in March 2008. That visa expired March 13, 2009.
Embassy Caracas submitted a diplomatic note requesting a
second renewal of the visa in March 2009. It was retained by
the MFA, without any notification of its intent to approve or
deny the request, until August 26, when post retrieved the
passport from the MFA. XXXXXXXXXXXX has no other form of
Venezuelan identification. He retains his regular U.S. and
Argentine passports. Post will email scanned copies of the
citation, diplomatic notes, passport, and visa to WHA/AND.

Why DAI?
--------

5. XXXXXXXXXXXX told DCM Caulfield that he believed the
CICPC's dual objective is to obtain information regarding
DAI's grantees and to cut off their funding. XXXXXXXXXXXX said
that "the streets are hot," referring to growing protests
against Chavez's efforts to consolidate power, and "all these
people (organizing the protests) are our grantees." XXXXXXXXXXXX
has been leading non-partisan training and grant programs
since 2004 for XXXXXXXXXXXX in Venezuela.

6. (S) XXXXXXXXXXXX told DCM Caulfield that he does not want
to abandon his team and prefers to stay in country. He
has retained a lawyer to represent him before CICPC. They
plan to submit a request for an extension-of-time to postpone
the hearing from September 1 to the following week.

Action Request
--------------

7. (S) Post requests urgent guidance on the following
issues:

(1) whether XXXXXXXXXXXX enjoys any immunity based on his
official passport and visa, or whether he should appear
before CICPC or any other Venezuelan authorities;

(2 whether
XXXXXXXXXXXX should disclose any information and if so,
what;

(3) what XXXXXXXXXXXX should do about its 50 boxes of files, some of
which contain the names of persons directing grantees;
and

(4) if XXXXXXXXXXXX is considered to be working on
behalf of the USG, should he remain in-country or to try to
depart Venezuela before the September 1 police interview.
DUDDY

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