Cablegate: Diplomatic Dialogue in Recife: Deeper Engagement Sought

DE RUEHRG #0063/01 2731617
R 301617Z SEP 09




E.O. 12958: N/A

REF: (A) BRASILIA 1104 (B) 7/28/09 WHA/PDA EMAIL

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: In a broad off-the-record discussion of
U.S.-Brazil foreign policy issues hosted by the PO and Recife's
PD section a select group of Pernambuco opinion leaders attended
a breakfast meeting and expressed their points of view about the
foreign policy of the Obama administration and the attitude
toward the U.S. of the Lula government. All the participants
were pleased to participate in the initiative and have high
expectations that this will be the first of many events to
discuss the relationship between U.S. and Brazil. They thought
that the election of President Obama was symbolic and a
significant change of the U.S. image to the world from the
previous Administration, commenting on a more open dialogue.
The group noted President Obama enjoys admiration from most
Brazilians and stressed that Obama should not lose this
opportunity to take our bilateral relationship to the next

2. (SBU) The participants felt the relations between the two
countries should focus in key issues of mutual concern and that
Brazil now shares a responsibility to look beyond its own narrow
interests if it is to become a global power. They agreed that
Brazil could partner with the U.S. on environmental issues and
in technological innovation. Some added relations with the
Northeast - the poorest region of the country, but with economic
potential - could be improved. They also asked for a
clarification on the role of U.S. military strategy including
the Fourth Fleet and use of bases in Colombia.

Brazilian participants:

Raul Jungmann
Deputado Federal (PPS-PE), environmentalist

Andri Regis
political scientist, professor, lawyer, active member of PE bar
association and local PSDB party

Thales Castro
political scientist, professor

Josui Mussalim
economist, consultant, analyst and historian

Renato Cunha
president of Pernambuco's sugar producers association, Sindagucar

Marcos Antonio da Silva Costa
federal prosecutor, former International Visitor

Karla Menezes
Recife's Secretary of Social Development, former state President
of PT, former International Visitor - deals with disadvantage
families, women issues

Jt Mazzarolo
Globo Nordeste TV news director

Claudio Marinho
former State Secretary of Science & Technology, Special Advisor
to Senator Jarbas Vasconcelos (PMDB-PE)

Sergio Xavier
Green Party (PV) president in Pernambuco

Gustavo Maia Gomes
economic consultant, professor at Federal University of
Pernambuco (UFPE)

3. (SBU) Most of the interlocutors expressed the view that the
world is moving from a unipolar system led by the U.S. to a more
multi-polar era. A few commented that Brazil has much more in
common with the U.S. than with fellow BRICs, especially China.
The closer relations expected between the Obama and Lula
governments brought some to compare the situation to the
Eisenhower and Kennedy Administrations' more intense engagement
with Brazil during the Cold War.

Security and Innovation Crucial for Northeast
--------------------------------------------- --------------

4. (SBU) The group spoke about how we need to work together on
issues that affect the Northeast, all of Brazil, and global
issues such as the environment. Particularly important for
Recife and the Northeast are Public Security and Law
Enforcement, and partnerships on developing new technologies
with Recife's IT cluster - Porto Digital, innovation and
patents, and green technologies. One participant was
enthusiastic about ways Brazil can learn from the U.S. on how to

RECIFE 00000063 002 OF 002

live greener (i.e. using public transport or biking to work,
trying to consume less) and proposed the idea the U.S. and
Brazil could sign up for a pilot government to government carbon
swap project. Another spoke about how we could work together on
health care issues, human trafficking and child labor issues and
women's rights.

5. (SBU) Some in the groups lamented a lack of specific focus
by the USG on the Northeast, with one proposing a program based
on the Caribbean Basin Initiative, while another argued that the
Northeast needs a focus on innovation and partnership in
research and technology, as opposed to more traditional
development assistance, that plays into the stereotype of
Brazil's Northeast always looking for a government handout.
While the group found Embassy Brasilia's economic focus on the
Southeast and Sco Paulo understandable, they felt that biofuels
cooperation on renewable energy technology could take a more
substantive shape with the Northeast

Brazil's New Role

6. (SBU) Federal Deputy Raul Jungmann in particular spoke about
how Brazil has moved from a global trader to a global player.
He pointedly asked what new initiatives the USG had for Brazil
and what kind of reform the United States supported for global
institutions. He mentioned that after September 2001, the USG
focused more on Asia and the Mideast, ceding leadership in the
hemisphere, and that Brazil was stepping into what he saw as a
leadership vacuum in Latin America. He views Brazil as looking
to improve its military capability so it can project power
outside its borders and strengthen its aspirations for a
permanent UNSC seat. Jungmann also floated the idea that
Brazil might want to propose a "Marshall Plan" type social
program for the other nations of South America.

Increased Partnership Possible

7. (SBU) The group agreed that the main areas to work together
are innovation and technology, biofuels, education and drugs -
recognizing Brazil is now one of the top consumers of drugs with
many of its neighbors being drug producers. But many sought a
new orientation for U.S.-Brazil partnership. For example, on
counter-terrorism laws, Brazil does not have sufficient
legislation, but tends to minimize the real threat of terrorism
in part because of the way Brazil sees itself. On energy
security, the group mentioned the appearance that the Fourth
Fleet re-establishment of the Fourth Fleet is linked with
Brazil's Pre-Salt resources and reminded us the old U.S. Fourth
Fleet was based out of Recife to protect the South Atlantic.
Many in the group agreed that Copenhagen will be a critical test
for Obama's Presidency, as viewed from the rest of the world.

8. (SBU) One person observed that Brazil's view of the U.S. is
very positive and President Obama enjoys admiration from most
Brazilians, but stressed that Obama should not lose his
momentum. The participant suggested the USG act quickly and on
the scale of something like the Kennedy Administration and the
Alliance for Progress, to demonstrate to Brazilians that the
U.S. is re-engaging with the world. He mentioned that he saw a
crowding-out effect from China's relations with developing
countries, changing the North-South dynamic to a
"North-South-South" situation.

Moving the Dialogue Forward

9. (SBU) The group is looking forward to continued engagement
and liked the idea of constituting a think tank environment for
engagement not just with the consulate, but with a similar group
public and private sector counterparts in the U.S., possibly
with involvement from the Brazilian Embassy in Washington and/or
a Brazilian consulate with a focus on a city such as Atlanta.
The identified a need for more exchanges on the private side, in
addition to USG programs, since they thought most Americans have
no idea about Brazil beyond samba and soccer. They are eager to
further discuss ideas on ways to improve relations between our
countries and to help increase this dialogue.

10. (SBU) COMMENT: The group was very sincere in its desire to
help see our bilateral relationship grow, but somewhat unfocused
on how best to get there. The idea that we need to treat Brazil
like an equal and not focus on aid projects was mentioned time
and again but so was the desire receive U.S. technology
transfers and advantaged trade rules. Even thought the group
saw Brazil as a new global player, for the most part they are
still waiting for the U.S. to take the lead in changing the
bilateral relationship to reflect this new paradigm. END COMMENT

© Scoop Media

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