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Viewing cable 05SANJOSE1639, FIRST MEETING OF THE COMMISSION OF EMINENT PERSONS

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
05SANJOSE1639 2005-07-19 15:03 2011-03-03 16:04 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy San Jose
Appears in these articles:
http://www.nacion.com/2011-03-03/Investigacion/NotasDestacadas/Investigacion2697430.aspx
http://www.nacion.com/2011-03-03/Investigacion/NotaPrincipal/Investigacion2697496.aspx
http://www.nacion.com/2011-03-03/Investigacion/NotasSecundarias/Investigacion2697489.aspx
http://www.nacion.com/2011-03-03/Investigacion/NotasSecundarias/Investigacion2697532.aspx
http://www.nacion.com/2011-03-03/Investigacion/NotasSecundarias/Investigacion2697535.aspx
http://www.nacion.com/2011-03-03/Investigacion/NotasSecundarias/Investigacion2701964.aspx
http://www.nacion.com/2011-03-03/Investigacion/Relacionados/Investigacion2701965.aspx
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS SAN JOSE 001639 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SENSITIVE 
 
WHA/CEN 
EB FOR WCRAFT, BMANOGUE 
E FOR DEDWARDS 
WHA FOR WMIELE 
WHA/EPSC FOR KURS, LGUMBINER 
H FOR JHAGAN 
STATE PASS TO USTR FOR RVARGO, CPADILLA, AMALITO 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: ETRD ECPS ECON PREL PGOV SOCI CS
SUBJECT: FIRST MEETING OF THE COMMISSION OF EMINENT PERSONS 
 
REF:  SAN JOSE 01587 
 
1.  (U) On July 17, 2005, President Pacheco met for the 
first time with all five members of the commission of 
eminent persons ("junta de notables") whom he tasked to 
review the text of the U.S.-Central American-Dominican 
Republic Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR).  This meeting 
officially began the work of the commission that was first 
proposed by the President on April 26, 2005.  At the 
meeting President Pacheco signed a proclamation officially 
creating the commission and presided over the swearing in 
of each member. 
 
2.  (U) Following the 4-hour meeting, the President and 
commission members took part in a press conference in which 
the commission's chairman, Dr. Franklin Chang, stated that 
they would present a written report to the president in 60 
calendar days (September 16, 2005).  The President stated 
that, even though the report will have no legal role in the 
CAFTA-DR ratification process, it will weigh heavily in his 
decision on whether or not to send the agreement to the 
Legislative Assembly.  The President stated that he expects 
the commission to offer a general opinion as to whether 
CAFTA-DR is an instrument that facilitates the goals of 
integrated development of the country. 
 
3.  (U) Dr. Chang stated that the commission wants to 
discern the most important aspects of the agreement and 
will do so with the help of both those who oppose and those 
who support the agreement.  He also stated that the 
commission will do what is necessary to complete its work 
successfully.  Despite his obvious commitment to the task, 
it is not certain whether Dr. Chang, a retired NASA 
astronaut who resides in the U.S. and has just started his 
own company, will remain in Costa Rica during the work of 
the commission.  Commission member Dr. Rodrigo Gamez, the 
president of the Costa Rican Institute of Biodiversity, 
acknowledged that one challenge is that of time; all of the 
members have other obligations.  He went on to state that 
despite this challenge, the commission members will give as 
much time as possible to this effort. 
 
4. (U) The Commission is permitted one extension of its 60- 
day deadline, buy it was not stated how long this extension 
could be. 
 
------- 
Comment 
------- 
 
5. (SBU) Prior to yesterday's meeting, Post had some 
concerns that the President or some commission members may 
make negative comments about CAFTA-DR (reftel); however, 
the tone of the public comments was neither negative nor 
positive.  This is the best result that could have been 
expected.  President Pacheco's public comments about CAFTA- 
DR have ranged from expressing clear support, while 
visiting the U.S. in May 2005 with other Central American 
Presidents, to questioning the fairness of the agreement 
regarding effects on the poor, when speaking to Costa Rican 
audiences.  He has never stated unequivocal support for 
CAFTA-DR while in Costa Rica. 
 
6.  (SBU) With the official commencement of the 
commission's duties underway, the real question now is how 
the commission will proceed.  Many aspects of the 
commission's work remain unclear; for instance, the 
methodology the commission will use to evaluate the 
agreement.  In addition, this first meeting of the 
commission was delayed from June 15, when the commission 
members' names were made public, until July 17, 2005 
because of the unavailability of Dr. Chang.  It is unclear 
how his probable absence over the next few months due to 
other responsibilities will affect the progress of the 
commission's work.  It is possible that each member of the 
commission will perform his own investigation, consult 
persons of their own choosing, and come to their own 
conclusions.  The commission would then meet to come to 
some sort of consensus to generate the report. 
KAPLAN