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Viewing cable 05SANJOSE1720, CHORUS OF VOICES SINGING SEND CAFTA-DR TO THE

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
05SANJOSE1720 2005-07-29 22:10 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 SECTION 01 OF 03 SAN JOSE 001720 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SENSITIVE 
 
WHA/CEN 
EB FOR WCRAFT 
E FOR TSMITHAM 
WHA FOR WMIELE 
WHA/EPSC FOR KURS 
H FOR JHAGAN 
STATE PASS TO USTR FOR JYOUNG, CPADILLA, AMALITO 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: ETRD ECPS ECON PREL PGOV SOCI CS
SUBJECT: CHORUS OF VOICES SINGING SEND CAFTA-DR TO THE 
COSTA RICAN ASSEMBLY 
 
REF: A. (A) SAN JOSE 01713 
 
     B. (B) SAN JOSE 01636 
     C. (C) SAN JOSE 01455 
 
1. (U) Summary.  The second day after the U.S. Congress 
approved the CAFTA-DR implementing legislation, many Costa 
Ricans are expressing the urgent need for President Pacheco 
to send the agreement to the Costa Rican Legislative Assembly 
for ratification (Ref A).  Those asking the administration to 
hasten the process include many of the 57-member Assembly, 
including its president, Gerardo Gonzalez, at least four 
candidates in the upcoming presidential election, 
representatives of business, and many members of the 
President,s own party, the Social Christian Union Party 
(PUSC).  Statements from the administration remain consistent 
with its previous position; that the President will send 
CAFTA-DR for ratification at the time he deems appropriate. 
End Summary. 
 
2.  (U) The amount of media coverage given to the status of 
CAFTA-DR in Costa Rica has increased since the U.S. Congress 
approved it on July 27, 2005 (local time).  This coincides 
with a definite growing intensity of the debate about the 
status of CAFTA-DR ratification.  Local media coverage has 
shifted its focus from the vote in the U.S. to the GOCR,s 
plan and timetable to ratify CAFTA-DR.  The daily La Nacion
 not only placed this issue on the front page but 
also dedicated its first 8 pages to it.  The call for 
President Pacheco to send the agreement to the Assembly as 
soon as possible was the common theme of many articles. 
Those advocating this position, among many others, include, 
Gerardo Gonzalez, a PUSC Assembly member (deputy) and 
President of the Assembly, Oscar Arias, ex-president of the 
country and front-runner in the next presidential election, 
and Alberto Trejos, the ex-Minister of Foreign Trade (COMEX). 
 Of course, there are still those who oppose the agreement 
and who have made their opinions known in the media. 
 
--------------------------------------------- --- 
THE CHORUS SINGS SEND CAFTA-DR TO THE ASSEMBLY 
--------------------------------------------- --- 
 
3.  (U)  On July 28, deputies from the National Liberation 
Party (PLN), the Libertarian Movement Party (ML), and the 
National Renovation (RN) Party requested the president to 
send CAFTA-DR to the Assembly so that the deputies could 
start studying it in preparation for the ratification 
process.  The PLN, in a letter to the President wrote, we 
find ourselves in a critical situation where the country 
cannot delay a decision on this issue.  You cannot continue 
to ignore Costa Rican society,s right to debate and decide 
its future on an issue this important(.  The PLN 
representatives specifically stated that they would like 
President Pacheco to introduce CAFTA-DR by August 1, 2005. 
Rolando Lacle, a PUSC deputy who is President of the 
Assembly,s International Relations Commission, recommended 
that President Pacheco not delay in this matter because the 
country could suffer consequences. 
 
4.  (U) Gerardo Gonzalez, the PUSC Assembly President, 
believes that this issue is so important that he is exploring 
Assembly rules and regulations to determine if it is possible 
for a deputy to introduce CAFTA-DR to the Assembly if 
President Pacheco will not.  Gonzalez stated that if it is 
permitted, he will present the agreement in September 2005. 
(Note: Most political observers and legal scholars agree that 
only the President can introduce a treaty for ratification.) 
 
5.  (U) Five of the top presidential candidates in the next 
election, including front-runner Oscar Arias (PLN), Ricardo 
Toledo (PUSC), Otto Guevara, (ML), Antonio Alvarez 
Desanti(UPC), and Jose Manuel Echandi (UN), also expressed 
the need for President Pacheco to take action.  Oscar Arias 
stated, I call upon the  Administration and Assembly to 
start discussions of CAFTA-DR as soon as possible.  Ricardo 
Toledo, the PUSC presidential candidate and a fellow 
party-member of President Pacheco, stated that the country is 
lagging behind, and he is worried because the necessary 
legislation to prepare for CAFTA-DR has not been presented. 
 
6.  (U) Ex-Minister of COMEX, Alberto Trejos, warns that it 
would be devastating for the country to remain outside 
CAFTA-DR.  When asked what he would recommend to President 
Pacheco, he stated that he would recommend that he send the 
agreement to the Assembly immediately.  The President is the 
author of this agreement, he gave instructions on its 
negotiation, he authorized the initiation of the 
negotiations.  He was consulted and gave recommendations; it 
was presented to him.  We have an excellent agreement because 
of this; he played his role. 
 
7.  (U) Local business leaders are concerned that they may 
begin to lose their competitive edge because of the GOCR,s 
delay in the CAFTA-DR ratification process.  The many 
business chambers are looking for ways to increase  pressure 
on the Administration, the Assembly, and the Commission of 
Eminent Persons (Ref B), all of whom are to make decisions 
about CAFTA-DR.  Jack Liberman, the manager of Costa Rican 
Mills, said that there is a lot at stake here and the only 
forum in which to discuss this issue democratically is in the 
Assembly.  Samuel Yankelewitz, president of UCAAEP, an 
association of business chambers, and General Manager of the 
plastics company Yanber, said that the discussions about 
CAFTA-DR will be a long process ) they will last a minimum 
of six or 8 months in the Assembly.  For this reason, it is 
urgent to send the agreement now in order to have an adequate 
debate. 
 
8.  (U) In an official press release, the pro- 
CAFTA-DR, Costa Rican-business-backed group, Por Costa Rica, 
stated the 13,886 partners of our organization are 
convinced that the time has arrived to have a serious and 
responsible debate about CAFTA-DR.  The Coalition for 
Development Initiatives (CINDE) made clear its position 
regarding implications of the current situation on foreign 
direct investment (FDI):  Our relation with the United 
States is vital.  In 2004 more that seventy percent of total 
FDI ($446.3 million or $617.3 million) came from U.S. 
sources.  Even more, in the last three years 78.9 percent of 
new business in Costa Rica originated with investment from 
the U.S.
 
------------------------------- 
THE BEAT OF A DIFFERENT DRUMMER 
------------------------------- 
 
9.  (U)  Those who oppose even sending CAFTA-DR to the 
Assembly continue to voice their opinions.  Albino Vargas, 
President of the approximately 15,000-member National 
Association of Private and Public Employees (ANEP),stated 
that if the agreement is sent to the Assembly, it would be 
taken as a declaration of war.  We will use all of our 
available resources, including those that we have never used 
before, to defeat CAFTA-DR. Prominent trade union leader 
Fabio Chavez was equally emphatic:  If CAFTA-DR goes to the 
Assembly, there will be a general strike, marches, and civil 
disobedience never before seen in this country. Otton 
Solis, the presidential candidate for the left leaning 
Citizens, Action Party (PAC) still pursues the idea of 
renegotiating CAFTA-DR.  He said that (this agreement is 
not good for Costa Rica and we should renegotiate 
bilaterally.  It shouldn,t be sent to the Assembly until 
after it is renegotiated.
 
-------------------------- 
THE ADMINISTRATION,S VOICE 
-------------------------- 
 
10.  (U)  President Pacheco maintains his lukewarm support 
for the agreement by saying that we will move at a slow but 
sure pace on CAFTA-DR.  He further stated that I will not 
decide to approve or reject (CAFTA-DR).  I will send it to 
the Assembly at the right moment which is my duty as 
President.  In an interview with La Nacion, Manuel 
Gonzalez, the Minister of Foreign Trade (COMEX), admitted 
that Costa Rica is the country farthest behind in the 
ratification process of CAFTA-DR, but he goes on to say that 
what is most important is that those who have to make the 
decision to approve or reject CAFTA-DR are the deputies who 
need to weigh the consequences of saying yes or no to the 
agreement.  I, at least, am doing an analysis, and see the 
balance much more in favor of yes. 
 
11.  (U) When asked if he had spoken with the President about 
this issue since the U.S. House of Representatives, vote, 
Gonzalez stated that he had, and that the President,s 
position is that the approval in the U.S. was expected and is 
a positive and important step.  Minister Gonzales further 
stated that my objective is to present CAFTA-DR to the 
Assembly, let them discuss it and approve it. When asked 
if this was also the Government,s objective, Minister 
Gonzalez reportedly laughed and said, I believe that it is, 
and it continues to be an aspiration of the Executive branch. 
 It is the goal that I have always shared with the President, 
and I have never received any indication otherwise, nor have 
I received any instruction to work in another direction(. 
 
------- 
COMMENT 
------- 
 
12.  (SBU) The U.S. House of Representative,s vote approving 
the CAFTA-DR implementing legislation was heard loud and 
clear by those who support CAFTA-DR and those who do not. 
The tone of the discussions about the status in Costa Rica 
has definitely sharpened. The strength of voices of those in 
favor of sending CAFTA-DR to the Costa Rican Assembly is 
growing, with support from Assembly members, business people, 
and presidential candidates.  The Administration of President 
Pacheco is maintaining its go-slow approach, still fearful of 
the threats from CAFTA-DR opponents. 
KAPLAN