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Cablegate: Rio Radar - October 16-23, 2009

VZCZCXRO8135
RR RUEHRG
DE RUEHRI #0348 2960922
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 230922Z OCT 09
FM AMCONSUL RIO DE JANEIRO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 5143
INFO RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA 1424
RUEHSO/AMCONSUL SAO PAULO 0001
RUEHRG/AMCONSUL RECIFE 3550

UNCLAS RIO DE JANEIRO 000348

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ECON EPET PHUM SOCI PGOV BR
SUBJECT: Rio Radar - October 16-23, 2009

REF: a)Rio 346, b) Rio 329

1. Rio Radar is a regular compilation of key economic, political,
commercial, and other developments in the states of Rio de Janeiro,
Bahia, Minas Gerais, Espirito Santo, and Sergipe. Subjects for
16-23 October:

AECIO NEVES ON PRESIDENTIAL POLITICS

2. (SBU) In a 20 October call on Minas Gerais Governor and possible
PSDB presidential candidate Aecio Neves, Principal Officer asked for
Neves' views on the state-of-play of presidential politics as Brazil
heads into the 2010 election year. Neves said that he and Sao Paulo
Governor Jose Serra - the leading PSDB contender for the party's
presidential candidate - are being careful to protect themselves,
and to some extent each other, from overexposure and damaging
in-fighting within the PSDB of the kind seen between Serra and
Geraldo Alckmin in the last presidential contest. He said both
would maintain a collegial posture through the end of the calendar
year, but Neves said he believed the PSDB would definitely name its
candidate in a party meeting in January 2010. Neves left no doubt
that he would not wait beyond that point. Neves also expressed
optimism that the PSDB has a meaningful chance of winning. Neves
said the presumed candidate of the PT-led governing coalition,
Presidential Chief of Staff Dilma Rousseff, is hovering steadily at
30 percent in polling, and Neves indicated Rousseff's ability to
rise above that number would depend more on her capacity to sell her
candidacy to the public than on Lula's popularity or the PT machine.
(Comment: Most current public polls actually show Rousseff with
lower numbers, and it is not clear whether Neves was referring to
internal PSDB research. In any case, Neves seemed to imply this may
be a decisive weakness, given Rousseff's inexperience in running for
office. End comment.)

ONGOING FAVELA VIOLENCE

3. (SBU) Rio police continued through the week of 19-23 October in a
broad crack-down on the Commando Vermelho (Red Command)
narcotrafficking gang, in the wake of intense gang violence in the
city's favelas on 17-18 October, which produced the shocking image
of a police helicopter being shot down by criminal gunfire (ref a).
The police effort is centered on 10 favelas across Rio where the
Commando Vemelho operates, with a focus on arresting CV leaders
responsible for the attack on the helicopter and the invasion of a
rival gang's turf in a favela in the city's northern zone. More
than thirty persons have died in the current wave of violence.
Consulate General officers are seeking a briefing with senior police
and public security officials on the current violence and on the Rio
government's long-term strategic favela "pacification" plan (ref b)
for re-asserting state authority in the city's favelas, many of
which are effectively controlled by narcotrafficking groups. Septel
will report on Principal Officer's visit to Dona Marta, the first
favela considered to be successfully "pacified" under the state
government's plan.
POSSIBLE DISCOVERY OF 1.5 BILLION BARRELS OF OIL AT CAMPOS
4. (SBU) On October 15 2009, Brazilian energy company OGX, owned by
Brazilian multi-millionaire Eike Batista, announced the discovery of
a major reserve of oil, located at the southern end of the Campos
Basin in block BM-C-43. According to OGX, the block could hold an
estimated 1.5 billion barrels of oil. Petrobras had explored this
block 15 years ago, but abandoned further exploration due to studies
that indicated low quantity oil reserves. OBX is currently
analyzing the quality of the oil.
HEARNE

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