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Viewing cable 05SANJOSE2047, PRESIDENT MEETS WITH COMMISSION OF EMINENT PERSONS

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
05SANJOSE2047 2005-09-01 14:02 2011-03-03 16:04 UNCLASSIFIED 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 02 SAN JOSE 002047 
 
SIPDIS 
 
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, AMALITO 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: ETRD ECPS ECON PREL PGOV SOCI CS
SUBJECT: PRESIDENT MEETS WITH COMMISSION OF EMINENT PERSONS 
 
REF:  SAN JOSE 01819 
 
1.  (SBU) Summary.  On August 29, 2005, President Pacheco 
met with four of the five members of the Commission of 
Eminent Persons regarding their progress on reviewing the 
text of the U.S.-Central American-Dominican Republic Free 
Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR).  Franklin Chang, head of the 
Commission, stated that the Commission has decided to 
expand the topics on which it will focus, but still plans 
to submit its report to the President by September 16, 
2005.  Although the Commission has not studied the 
complementary agenda and implementation legislation for 
CAFTA-DR due to their incomplete status, Chang stated that 
the role these projects will play will be very important 
and will need to be implemented carefully and 
appropriately.  Whatever the Commission's recommendation, 
the ultimate decision will be left to President Pacheco as 
to whether or not to send CAFTA-DR to the Assembly before 
he leaves office.  End Summary 
 
2.  (U) According to Chang, the Commission has met with at 
least 30 people to consult with and hear their views about 
CAFTA-DR.  We note that with the exception of Anabel 
Gonzalez, the ex-lead Costa Rican negotiator of the 
agreement, and the "Chamber of Chambers" (the Union of 
Costa Rican Chambers and Private Sector Associations-- 
UCCAEP, http://www.uccaep.or.cr), the Commission has met 
exclusively with CAFTA-DR opponents.  These include Albino 
Vargas, President of the approximately 15,000-member 
National Association of Private and Public Employees (ANEP) 
who is vehemently against CAFTA-DR, and Otton Solis, the 
presidential candidate of the left-leaning Citizens' Action 
Party (PAC), whose official position is to pursue 
renegotiation of the agreement.  Chang also stated that the 
Commission has received hundreds of e-mails each day from 
citizens about CAFTA-DR. 
 
3.  (U) In addition to the thirteen topics on which the 
Commission previously stated they would focus (Reftel), 
Chang said the Commission will look at (1) the possibility 
of sending CAFTA-DR to a national referendum, (2) the 
option of renegotiating the agreement, (3) the option of 
withdrawing from the agreement once it is already entered 
into force, and (4) the status of approvals in the other 
CAFTA-DR signatory countries. 
 
4.  (U) In the August 30, 2005 edition of "La Republica," 
Chang referred to the need to learn more about the 
complementary and implementation agendas.  "The Commission 
of Eminent Persons is studying the topic of the agendas 
because they are not completely clear to us.  They are 
still being defined.  These projects should be used to 
better prepare the country and, therefore, it is necessary 
to study them with care," said Chang.  Chang specifically 
referred to the need to improve the global competitiveness 
of Costa Rican companies, to upgrade roads, highways, and 
ports, and to streamline the country's customs-clearing 
capabilities. 
 
---------------------------------------- 
AFTER THE COMMISSION DELIVERS ITS REPORT 
---------------------------------------- 
 
5.  (U) After the Commission delivers its report to the 
President on September 16, 2005, the Commission will 
present its findings to the various Ministers of the 
Cabinet.  This could occur as early as September 20. 
 
6.  (U) On August 29, 2005, the Administration submitted to 
the Assembly general information, including the funding 
sources, on the complementary agenda.  The implementing 
legislation that should ensure compliance with CAFTA-DR 
requirements in the telecommunications and insurance 
industries has not yet been officially submitted to the 
Assembly, and the status of these projects is unclear to 
Post.  The GOCR reportedly plans to submit the insurance- 
related legislation imminently, and the telecommunications- 
related legislation in November 2005. 
 
------- 
COMMENT 
------- 
 
7.  (SBU) Two pro-CAFTA-DR participants in the Commission 
interviews held last week told us they believe the 
Commission is trending toward a pronouncement along the 
lines of: "The agreement is basically positive and can be 
`fixed' if we do x, y, and z."  They could for instance say 
that there should be some trade adjustment assistance in 
the complementary agenda, which now focuses entirely on 
competitiveness issues. 
 
8.  (SBU) In the end, the ball will be back where it has 
always been, with the President.  Still unknown is how 
President Pacheco will incorporate the Commission's report 
into his decision-making process.  How he chooses to `spin' 
the report will be telling and perhaps decisive regarding 
his intentions to send CAFTA-DR to the Assembly during his 
Administration.  He will undoubtedly use the Commission's 
report to justify whatever course of action he ultimately 
decides to take. 
FRISBIE