Cablegate: Wha a/S Valenzuela Received by Eager Brazilian Government

DE RUEHBR #1447/01 3631716
R 291716Z DEC 09



E.O. 12958: DECL: 2019/12/29

CLASSIFIED BY: Lisa Kubiske, charge d'affaires a.i.; REASON: 1.4(D)

1. (C) Summary. On his first visit to Brazil as Assistant
Secretary, Arturo Valenzuela was received December 14 by senior
government officials eager to minimize differences and demonstrate
their interest in working with the USG on a range of topics.
Meetings with the Presidential Foreign Policy Advisor, Foreign
Ministry (Itamaraty) officials, and Defense Minister addressed
shared concerns with resolving the crisis in Honduras, the need to
lower tensions in South America (particularly between Colombia and
Venezuela), interest in working together in Haiti, and
possibilities for counternarcotics cooperation in Bolivia. Whereas
the Presidency highlighted Lula's efforts related to Iran and the
Middle East peace process, Itamaraty focused on the need to expand
our bilateral, regional, and trilateral cooperation, as well as our
discussions on global issues into new areas. The worried media
reports highlighting "tensions" in the U.S.-Brazil relationship
prior to A/S Valenzuela's arrival were replaced following his visit
with upbeat stories regarding the renewed possibilities for
cooperation. End summary.

Presidential Foreign Policy Advisor Garcia Focuses on Honduras...

2. (C) In a long and friendly meeting, Presidential Foreign Policy
Advisor Marco Aurelio Garcia laid out Brazil's position and ongoing
concerns regarding Honduras. He said President Zelaya's decision
to go abroad had given Brazil greater "flexibility" in dealing with
the crisis. Brazil believes it is essential for de facto leader
Micheletti to step down, and Garcia expressed his hopes that the
USG would "turn the screws" on him. Personally, Garcia said he
thought a constituent assembly would be a way to give legitimacy to
the political solution being crafted.

3. (C) A/S Valenzuela disagreed with Garcia's assertion that the
Honduras crisis had created "a division" between the United States
and Latin America. Rather, he said the failed effort by Mexico to
gain safe passage for Zelaya out of the country, of which the USG
had not been informed and which had negatively affected other
efforts on Zelaya's behalf, demonstrated the need for more fluid
communication. In later discussions at Itamaraty, Honduras was
also a leading topic of conversation. There, officials insisted
that they had no contact with the Micheletti regime and that their
ability to influence Zelaya was limited.

...Proposes U.S. Visit to Venezuela...

4. (C) Garcia made a point to reiterate a suggestion he had made to
NSA General Jones, that Valenzuela should go to Caracas to
establish a "direct link" and relationship with President Chavez.
Without such a move, Garcia said, "Chavez will respond to everyone"
(i.e., to USG officials whatever their position); "he has no sense
of proportion." Garcia said that, because of "ambiguity" and "a
bad process," the issue of the Colombia bases had complicated
matters in the region. Although the November 27 meeting of the
South American Defense Council (SADC) had reduced tensions, the
idea that the bases might be used to launch an action against
Venezuela "was common." Neither Colombia nor Venezuela was willing
to make a goodwill gesture toward the other, and Brazil's efforts
to mediate had been rebuffed by both sides. He predicted that
Venezuela "will maintain the pressure" on Colombia for several
months. Venezuelan FM Maduro had indicated to Garcia that a visit
by A/S Valenzuela would be "no problem" to arrange; Garcia felt it
would help reduce tensions and improve dialogue with the region.
A/S Valenzuela was noncommittal, and noted that it is difficult to
ignore both the provocative statements by Chavez and his
authoritarian tendencies.

...Assesses Regional Developments...

5. (C) Over the course of the conversation, Garcia expressed a

BRASILIA 00001447 002 OF 005

preference for former President Frei in Chile's elections;
described Ecuador's and Bolivia's political systems as "rotten";
said that Mujica's election in Uruguay was good as he would be
"more active"; and called the future of Argentina "a big question
mark," depending on whether the Kirchners recover or not, although
he did not foresee problems for relations with Brazil. Garcia
hoped to "revive Mercosur" during the upcoming Argentine
presidency. With regard to relations with the United States,
Garcia noted that the "delay" in USG initiatives toward the region
caused frustration and disappointment.

... And Indicates Middle East Peace and Iran Top Brazil's Global

6. (C) Beyond Latin America, Garcia described Brazil's priorities
as climate change and expanding participation in the Middle East
peace process "to put more air" into them. Brazil is concerned
with the success of the Israel-Palestine peace process both because
of the impact on its own global interests and because it
"contaminates" other issues in the region-including Iran,
Afghanistan, and Pakistan. Garcia said Brazil has encouraged Iran
to use its influence with Hamas to help move the process forward.
With regard to Iran itself, Garcia described Brazil's engagement as
"a bet" that might not work. In light of President Obama's request
to help, Brazil is trying to build a relationship with Iran. He
described Brazil's reception of President Ahmadinejad in November
as "not warm" and stressed that President Lula had delivered
"direct messages." Brazil is encouraging Iran to "submit to the
rules," regarding non-proliferation, but Brazil had abstained on
the recent IAEA vote on Iran as because of the timing; a vote in
favor at that moment would have neutralized their efforts to sway
Iran. In Brazil's view, the worst thing to do is to further
isolate Iran. A/S Valenzuela welcomed Brazil's efforts to
encourage Iran to comply with its international obligations but
expressed serious concerns with their nuclear aspirations. He
emphasized that Iran had a deficit of trust with the international
community but assured Garcia that the Administration would continue
to try to engage Iran, despite the difficulties.

Itamaraty: Eager to Move Forward Bilaterally...

7. (C) Over lunch with Under Secretary for Political Affairs Vera
Machado and acting Under Secretary for Latin America GonC'alo
MourC#o, and in a separate meeting with newly installed Deputy
Minister and former ambassador to the United States AntC4nio
Patriota, Brazilian officials stressed the need to move forward in
expanding our bilateral relationship. Patriota cited the
high-level dialogue we are hoping to start and said the GOB is glad
there is a broadening of the bilateral political agenda to match
the excellent dialogue on the economic side. With regard to
current cooperation, he praised the Economic Policy Dialogue, under
way at the same time in Washington, and said that Civilian
Household (Prime) Minister Dilma Rousseff wants to see more
bilateral cooperation on biofuels. He highlighted the success of
the Joint Action Plan to eliminate racial and ethnic discrimination
(JAPER) and suggested creating linkages with the CEO Forum. Both
he and Machado said Brazil has much to learn from the United States
regarding inclusion of civil society and the private sector in such
initiatives. Patriota noted the meeting of the Brazil Studies
Association (BRASA) next year as a good opportunity to do some
cross-fertilization between private sector and social initiatives.
Patriota hoped we could increase discussions on other social
issues, including human rights and advancement of women.

8. (C) Patriota and Machado both expressed interest in moving
forward with the Defense Cooperation Agreement (DCA) and asked for
serious consideration of language Brazil had just proposed on
"guarantees" of respect for sovereignty of third countries, which
Brazil was seeking to add in light of concerns over the
U.S.-Colombia DCA and commitments made at the November 27 meeting
of the South America Defense Council.

BRASILIA 00001447 003 OF 005

9. (C) Although even the suggestion of work on terrorism-related
programs has caused problems in Brazil for some USG agencies,
Machado acknowledged that Brazil would need to address potential
terrorism issues with Brazil's hosting of the 2014 World Cup and
the 2016 Olympics. A/S Valenzuela said the USG is willing to
cooperate and assist in any way we can and he suggested that State
and Itamaraty should increase our effort to coordinate cooperation
among our various agencies in advance of these events. ChargC)
d'Affaires Kubiske noted that the Olympics also open an avenue for
cooperation to advance social issues, for example, by ensuring that
efforts are made to secure English training and jobs for minorities
and the poor.


10. (C) A/S Valenzuela stressed that Secretary Clinton is committed
to working closely and more intently on Haiti. The United States
can benefit from Brazil's expertise in Haiti and the region, he
said. Acting U/S MourC#o said Brazil's focus in Haiti is on
policing, as it is important to strengthen Haiti's law enforcement
capabilities. Patriota noted the efforts of USAID and Brazil's
Cooperation Agency (ABC) to establish joint projects. He recalled
that, in the second paragraph of President Lula's letter to
President Obama last month, he had mentioned the priority of
constructing a hydroelectric dam and plant. Although the letter
had suggested a cost of $150 million to build, Patriota believed it
would actually cost $250 million. He felt this would be an
important project for the United States and Brazil to work on

11. (C) During lunch, Machado asked if Bolivia might be
re-certified next year for counternarcotics cooperation. A/S
Valenzuela noted some very strong U.S. opposition to this, but said
that strong communication with the Morales government is essential
and suggested that there is now an opportunity for trilateral
cooperation on counternarcotics. Machado raised the 3+1 Security
Dialogue between Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, and the United
States, saying the name of the talks should be changed to avoid a
sense of opposition.

...And Globally

12. (C) Patriota indicated Brazil's interest in expanding
"trilateral cooperation" between Brazil, the United States, and
third countries as a particularly valuable form of engagement,
particularly in Africa. As Brazil is entering the Security Council
in January, the GOB wants to coordinate agendas with the USG and
engage more on Security Council reform. Looking ahead to the NPT
Review Conference and Nuclear Security Summit, Patriota described
President Obama's speech in Prague on nuclear non-proliferation and
disarmament as "groundbreaking" and said it was very well received
in Brazil. For her part, Machado praised the U.S. announcement of
voluntary measures related to climate change, which had inspired
"moderate enthusiasm" and preserved the possibility for
"non-failure" at Copenhagen. She highlighted agreement for Brazil
to host a "Rio + 20" next year, which would allow for more
comprehensive debate.

Defense Minister Jobim Describes Brazil's Concern with Regional

13. (C) Following a one-on-one meeting, a friendly and engaged
DefMin Jobim was joined by senior military personnel for a broad
discussion of regional issues. Jobim raised the U.S.-Colombia DCA,
saying that, from a strictly Brazilian point of view, there was no
problem. The region was "sensitive," however, and as Brazil has no

BRASILIA 00001447 004 OF 005

problems with any of its neighbors, it tries to be a "moderator"
among them. Jobim had made an enormous effort, along with
Itamaraty and President Lula, to visit all South American countries
to gain agreement to establish the South American Defense Council,
which would help create a regional identity on defense issues,
advance "military diplomacy," link defense to the real economy by
establishing niches for each country in defense industries, and
encourage exchanges among military academies.

14. (C) Noting our common concern with stability in the region, A/S
Valenzuela asked how Jobim viewed the situation between Colombia
and Venezuela and the situation in Paraguay. Jobim said that he
did not see the tensions escalating, but that Lula's efforts to
mediate a discussion between Chavez and Uribe had not been
successful. With regard to Paraguay, he said that for political
reasons Brazil had made concessions on the price it was paying for
energy from Itaipu and would finance the construction of a
transmission facility on the Paraguayan side of the border. "This
is part of the game" with Paraguay, he said. Jobim encouraged A/S
Valenzuela to continue this dialogue on regional stability. He
said the United States needs to be "re-introduced" to Latin
America; although it might be a false impression, there is a
feeling in the region that the United States needs to build more
trust following a "difficult era" in the Bush Administration.

...And Provides an Update on FX2 Fighter Competition

15. (C) Jobim noted that delay in a decision on the FX2 fighter
competition, saying that he would be studying documents from the
Brazilian Air Force (BRAF) over the holidays and that the National
Defense Council would meet to make its recommendation after
congress reconvenes in early February. He was awaiting additional
documentation from Boeing later in the week and was particularly
intrigued by the possibilities of the Global Super Hornet program.
Jobim noted the importance of the purchase in Brazil's national
defense strategy, adding that technology transfer is the main
consideration and the U.S. "precedents" on this score are not good;
but he acknowledged that the portfolio of transfer items was large
and that it was a new U.S. government. Jobim reiterated the five
criteria they will be using to make a decision: the quality of the
platform, the technology being offered, the training being offered,
the price, and the life-cycle cost. A/S Valenzuela assured him the
Boeing was best on all counts.

Political Analysts See Less Aggressive Foreign Policy Post-Lula

16. (U) Three leading political analysts told A/S Valenzuela that
Dilma Rousseff, President Lula's choice to succeed him in 2011, has
at least a break-even chance of winning the October 2010 elections,
despite Serra's lead in the polls. They expect that many of the
GOB's current foreign policy positions - including on Iran and
Honduras - are facilitated by Lula's strong internal position and
personal reputation, and will not outlast his presidency. They
described in detail the failure of the delegation of Iranian
businessmen that accompanied Ahmadinejad, and argued that attempts
by Rousseff or anyone other than Lula to engage authoritarian
states in such a high-profile manner would not be tolerated
domestically, as it is seen as a departure from Brazil's
traditionally cautious approach to such matters. A Serra
presidency, they believed, would not alter Brazil's basic economic
strategy but would lead to a return to more traditional Brazilian
foreign policy stances, especially in Latin America.

Media Coverage Goes From Nervous and Negative to Hopeful and

17. (SBU) In advance of A/S Valenzuela's trip, media coverage
focused on "tensions" in the bilateral relationship, highlighting

BRASILIA 00001447 005 OF 005

differences over Honduras, Iran, climate change, and
non-proliferation. However, following a press roundtable by A/S
Valenzuela with leading news dailies and weeklies and comments to
the press by both Garcia and Itamaraty officials, press reports on
Tuesday, December 15 highlighted apparent points of agreement on
Honduras and Iran. BrasC-lia daily Correio Braziliense ran one of
the most powerful headlines: "Disagreements Between Good Allies."
These reports were reinforced by equally positive headlines in
online coverage from major news portals such as UOL and Terra.

18. (U) Although articles began to reappear within days reporting
views from both Washington and BrasC-lia that tensions persist in
the bilateral relationship, prominent columnists have supported the
conclusion that Valenzuela's visit put the U.S.-Brazil relationship
on a new footing. One of the more forceful columns came from Folha
de SC#o Paulo's Eliane Catanhede, who highlighted the contrast
between the prior expressions of "frustration" and "disappointment"
from Amorim and Garcia, and the much more friendly remarks they
made during his visit. Her conclusion was that the GOB knows who
is really in charge on issues such as Honduras, Iran, and
Copenhagen: "This is how diplomacy is done: Valenzuela was in
BrasC-lia yesterday; Secretary Hillary Clinton is on her way; Obama
should be here early in 2010. Deep down, Lula, Amorim, Jobim,
Garcia, and [former Itamaraty Secretary General; current Minister
of Strategic Planning] Samuel [Pinheiro Guimaraes] may bark, but
they never bite. And the 'pitbull' [the United States] knows its
own strength."

Youth Ambassadors Meeting Opens the Door for New Media Outreach

19. (U) A/S Valenzuela met with alumni of the Youth Ambassadors,
Student Leader Exchange, and English Immersion programs in an
informal gathering hosted by CDA Kubiske. Valenzuela explained his
role in over-seeing policy for the Western Hemisphere and fielded
questions from the young leaders on issues ranging from the value
of youth exchange programs, to the Obama administration's approach
to U.S.-Brazil relations and the best way to work with the various
types of democratic systems found in the region. "I think it was a
great opportunity to meet Dr. Valenzuela and discuss Brazil-U.S's interesting to see how diplomacy engages youth,"
said 2008 Youth Ambassador, Pedro Henrique Torres after his
discussion with the Assistant Secretary. The Public Affairs
Section posted photos of the meeting on the Mission's Flickr site
that were also carried on the Assistant Secretary's newly launched
blog. PA recorded the event and will create short clips to post on
the Mission's YouTube channel and to distribute to youth contacts.

20. (U) A/S Valenzuela cleared this message.

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