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Cablegate: For Release: Ambassador's Visit to Paipa Underscores

VZCZCXYZ0004
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHBO #3704/01 3242047
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 202046Z NOV 09
FM AMEMBASSY BOGOTA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 1118
INFO RUEHBO/AMEMBASSY BOGOTA
RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA 0218
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ
RUEHPE/AMEMBASSY LIMA
RUEHQT/AMEMBASSY QUITO
RUEHZP/AMEMBASSY PANAMA

UNCLAS BOGOTA 003704

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV EAGR KJUS AID CO
SUBJECT: FOR RELEASE: AMBASSADOR'S VISIT TO PAIPA UNDERSCORES
JUDICIAL REFORM SUCCESSES

REF: BOGOTA 3375

SUMMARY

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1. (SBU) The Ambassador traveled to Paipa, Boyaca, on November 5 to
speak at the Supreme Court-organized National Summit of General
Jurisdiction, a conference which brought together judges from all
over Colombia. The Ambassador stressed the importance of access to
justice during Colombia's journey from lawlessness to stability,
and gave the assembled judiciary credit for making Colombia better
off today. During their private conversation, Boyaca Governor Jose
Rozo Millan highlighted the importance of investment in traditional
agriculture, as well as mining exploration for coal and emeralds.
He also sought to develop Boyaca's tourism industry, taking
advantage of soon to begin charter flights to Houston. The
Ambassador also visited a local dairy farm to view a USDA-supported
Foot and Mouth Disease monitoring program. END SUMMARY.

SUPREME COURT-SPONSORED CONFERENCE FOCUSES ON ACCESS TO JUSTICE

--------------------------------------------- ------------------

2. (U) At invitation by the Court, the Ambassador attended a lunch
sponsored by the Supreme Court and delivered remarks at the opening
ceremony of the XII Encuentro de la Jurisdiccion Ordinaria, the
twelfth national Summit of General Jurisdiction. General
Jurisdiction includes civil, family, labor, and criminal matters,
and the main theme of this year's conference was access to justice.
Attendees included Supreme Court judges, appellate judges, lower
level judges, law professors, and students. USAID and DOJ
facilitated the attendance of two U.S. federal judges: Edward
Prado, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, and David
Briones, U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas (El
Paso), both of whom made presentations at the conference.

3. (SBU) The Ambassador spoke of the importance of access to
justice during Colombia's journey from lawlessness to stability
over the past ten years, and gave the assembled judiciary credit
for making Colombia better off today. He highlighted the last
decade as a period of successful collaboration between the judicial
and legal systems of Colombia and the U.S., and noted that Colombia
has experienced this period of relative peace with help from a
strong justice system. The Ambassador emphasized how access to
justice instills confidence which builds peace. He recalled the
sacrifice made by 11 Supreme Court magistrates assassinated in the
attack on the Bogota Justice Palace of November 6-7, 1985. He
finished by reminding the audience sacrifices such as these are not
in vain, and that as they contemplate judicial access and peace in
the country, U.S. support will continue. The summit comes at a
time when tensions between the Supreme Court and the Uribe
administration remain strained, particularly over the Court's
refusal, to date, to accept any of Uribe's nominees to be the new
prosecutor general.

GOVERNOR OF BOYACA UNDERLINES TOURISM AND DEVELOPMENT PRIORITIES

--------------------------------------------- -------------------

4. (U) The Ambassador met with Jose Rozo Millan, the Governor of
Boyaca, to discuss the Governor's development plans in his
department. The Governor highlighted the importance of continued
investment in traditional agriculture, as well as mining
exploration for coal and emeralds. The Governor is eager to tap
the department's resources to turn it into a bona fide tourism
destination. A lack of transport infrastructure remains an
impediment to these plans, but the Governor hopes to address
improvements in ground transport, including a highway link to
Bogota and new rail links to improve export routes. He hopes that
charter flights to Boyaca from Houston and Cartagena will begin
soon, as there is currently no international service at any of the


department's four airports. The Ambassador queried how the
security situation in Boyaca would affect the development plans.
The Governor informed the Ambassador that although Boyaca is the
most secure department in Colombia, security is his first priority
and is essential to his tourism plans. The Ambassador agreed that
threats from guerrillas, drug-traffickers and the shared border
with Venezuela remain, and outlined the Embassy's Colombia
Strategic Development Initiative, which targets specific zones in
Colombia where similar threats exist.

FARM VISIT HIGHLIGHTS USG SUPPORT OF FMD MONITORING PROGRAM

--------------------------------------------- --------------

5. (U) Ambassador Brownfield visited the San Joaquin dairy farm to
view the Colombian Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) monitoring program.
The program is part of a cooperative agreement between U.S.
Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Colombian Ministry of
Agriculture's regulatory agency (ICA) to eradicate FMD in Colombia.
USDA currently contributes financial (USD $650,000 for FY 2010) and
technical support to the program. Colombia received FMD-free
status with vaccination from the World Organization of Animal
Health in 2008. The farm owner, ICA and Colombian Cattlemen
Federation (Fedegan) officials briefed the Ambassador on the
vaccination program's successes and operations. The Paipa ICA
office administers the vaccination program in approximately 26,000
farms in 48 municipalities across the region, with an average of
three cows per farm. Fedegan reports almost 100% vaccination
success in the region. Colombian dairy companies will not accept
milk from dairy farms without a Fedegan certificate of vaccination.
Fedegan uses education about the importance of vaccination as the
main tool to ensure full vaccination coverage in the region. The
Ambassador praised the long-standing U.S.-Colombian collaboration
to eliminate FMD, to provide a better life for farmers and improve
bilateral commerce between the two countries.

NATIONAL AND REGIONAL PRESS COVERAGE

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6. (U) Press coverage of the Ambassador's visit to Paipa was
varied. The majority of coverage focused on his answer to a
question during a press gaggle at the conference regarding the
trial of a former Colombian Navy Admiral for involvement in
narcotics trafficking (Reftel). Both the conference and the visit
to the dairy farm were open to the press. Coverage of the
conference and the Ambassador's remarks included stories in leading
national and regional papers, television, and radio.
BROWNFIELD

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