Cablegate: Brazil: Response to Title Iii Request
DE RUEHBR #1443/01 3581403
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 241403Z DEC 09
FM AMEMBASSY BRASILIA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0218
INFO RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA
RUEHRI/AMCONSUL RIO DE JANEIRO
RUEHSO/AMCONSUL SAO PAULO
C O N F I D E N T I A L BRASILIA 001443
AMEMBASSY BRASILIA PASS TO AMCONSUL RECIFE
E.O. 12958: DECL: 2019/12/24
TAGS: PREL ETRD ETTC BR CU
SUBJECT: BRAZIL: RESPONSE TO TITLE III REQUEST
REF: STATE 115416
CLASSIFIED BY: Lisa Kubiske, Charge d' Affaires, a.i., State, POL; REASON: 1.4(B), (D)
1. (C) Post responses to reftel questions follow:
Question 1): Has the host country, in Post's opinion, worked to promote the advancement of democracy and human rights in Cuba?
Post Response to Question 1): Yes, while Brazil has refrained from raising these issues publicly, high level Brazilian officials, including Foreign Minister Celso Amorim and Foreign Affairs Advisor to the President Marco Aurelio Garcia in conversations with U.S. officials have stated that Brazil engages the Cuban government on human rights and democracy behind closed doors. The Brazilian government position is that it will have more influence on Cuba by maintaining good relations with its government.
Question 2): Have there been any high-level diplomatic visits between Cuba and host country in the last six months?
Post Response to Question 2): The Brazilian government regularly emphasizes to Post officials that it has a strong and important relationship with the Cuban government, and high-level diplomatic visits are common. The past six months have seen reciprocal visits by the Brazilian and Cuban officials, however, no high-level Brazilian visitors have recently traveled to Cuba. In the past, both Brazilian President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva and Foreign Minister Celso Amorim have visited
Cuba. Question 3): What is the nature of investment (and names, if known) that host country businesses have in Cuba?
Post Response to Question 3): There are a number of Brazilian companies doing business in Cuba, including tour bus manufacturer Busscar (Transbus Industria S.A. in Cuba) and cigarette manufacturer Souza Cruz (a Brazil-based subsidiary of British American Tobacco Company in a joint venture with the Cuban government). In March 2009, the Brazilian Trade and Investment Promotion Agency (Apex) facilitated the participation of 24 Brazilian companies in the International Fair of Havana, Cuba's principal commercial event. The Brazilian companies came from the food, construction, cleaning materials, equipment and machinery, technology, and health sectors. According to news reports, participation in the same fair in 2007 resulted in immediate transactions for Brazilian participants of USD 6.7 million, with expected future earnings of USD 33 million. GOB Ministry of Development, Industry and Trade figures indicate that in up to November 2009 Cuba exported approximately USD 42 million of goods to Brazil - compared to approximately USD 45 million in all of 2008.. The top three goods exported from Cuba to Brazil were extracts from glands and organs (accounting for approximately 64% of total trade), Portland cement (26%), and other blood products (5%). In the first eleven months of 2008, Brazil exported to Cuba goods valued at approximately USD 256 million - a sharp decrease from the 2008 export value of USD 527 million. The top three goods exported from Brazil to Cuba were bagasse and other solid residue from the processing of soybean oil (accounting for 20% of total trade), edible chicken organs (10%), and other meat sausages and organs (7.7%).
Question 4): Are there any bilateral trade agreements between host country and Cuba? Post Response to Question
4): Yes. The Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Affairs lists the following trade-related agreements with Cuba: a 1989 Commercial Agreement, a 2003 Terms of Cooperation in the Area of Micro and Small Businesses, and a 2003 Memorandum of Understanding for the Promotion of Industrial Development. Cuba entered into a regional preference tariff agreement with Brazil and the other Mercosul countries in 1999 through the Latin American Association of Integration. In 2006 Mercosul and Cuba agreed on an accord to liberalize trade by reducing import tariffs, but this agreement has yet to be ratified and has not entered into force. Question
5): Are there any exchange programs between host country and Cuba, including but not limited to: scholarships for host country nationals to study in Cuba; Cuban-paid medical travel for host country nationals; and Cuban doctors working in host country?
Post Response to Question 5): Yes, exchanges are common, particularly among students. There are no exchanges of Cuban doctors. KUBISKE