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Viewing cable 06BOGOTA2030, VALLE GOVERNOR PREDICTS URIBE VICTORY, CRITICIZES

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06BOGOTA2030 2006-03-07 18:06 2011-02-26 16:04 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Bogota
Appears in these articles:
http://www.elespectador.com/wikileaks
VZCZCXYZ0005
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHBO #2030/01 0661838
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 071838Z MAR 06
FM AMEMBASSY BOGOTA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2847
INFO RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA PRIORITY 6600
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS PRIORITY 7284
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ MAR 7762
RUEHPE/AMEMBASSY LIMA PRIORITY 3327
RUEHMN/AMEMBASSY MONTEVIDEO PRIORITY 2805
RUEHQT/AMEMBASSY QUITO PRIORITY 3963
RUEHSG/AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO PRIORITY 1963
C O N F I D E N T I A L BOGOTA 002030 

SIPDIS 

SIPDIS 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/06/2016 
TAGS: PGOV ETRD ECON CO
SUBJECT: VALLE GOVERNOR PREDICTS URIBE VICTORY, CRITICIZES 
HIS POLO COLLEAGUES, SAYS CONGRESS WILL RATIFY FTA 


Classified By: Ambassador William B. Wood.
Reason: 1.4 (b,d) 

------- 
Summary 
------- 

1.  (C) Prominent moderate leftist Governor of Valle del 
Cauca Department, Angelino Garzon, predicted to poloffs that 
Uribe would win reelection on the first ballot.  Garzon will 
vote for the Polo DemocraticoAlternativo candidate out of 
loyalty rather than conviction.  He criticized national Polo 
Democratico leaders many times, saying they make radical 
statements but have no responsibility for taking tough 
decisions that affect peoples' lives.  Garzon placed himself 
in the "Lula/Vasquez/Bachelet" pragmatic leftist tradition 
and explicitly criticized Venezuelan President Chavez's 
management, which he said was undermining democratic 
institutions.  Garzon said the Congress would ultimately 
ratify the Free Trade Agreement after much debate.  End 
summary. 

--------------------------------------------- -------------- 
Uribe Will Win Reelection on First Round, Polo Out of Touch 
--------------------------------------------- -------------- 

2.  (C) Garzon predicted Uribe would win reelection in May on 
the first ballot.  During a lunch with poloffs in Cali, he 
said he has supported Uribe many times when the president has 
been attacked unfairly, including when the attacks have 
originated from his own party, the Polo Democratico.  Garzon
useduribista phrases occasionally, such as, "social 
development cannot take place without security."  He 
characterized his personal relationship with Uribe as 
excellent. 

3.  (C) While Garzon said he would support the Polo candidate 
for president (Antonio Navarro or Carlos Gaviria), he said he 
would do so out of loyalty rather than conviction.  Garzon
made  a number of negative comments about the Polo, 
suggesting several times that Governors like himself and 
Bogota's Mayor LuchoGarzon were more able representatives of 
the center left because they had to make numerous executive 
decisions that made a difference in peoples' lives.  He said 
he meets regularly with constituents to listen to their 
grievances and insists his staff attend as well so that he 
can assign responsibility for addressing specific voter 
concerns.  In contrast, he said, the Polo's other nationally 
known figures (he mentioned Gustavo Petro) found it easy to 
make "radical" statements because they had no responsibility 
for carrying them out. 

------------------------- 
Model is Lula, not Chavez 
------------------------- 

4.  (C) Garzon said he was firmly in the 
"Lula/Vasquez/Bachelet" strand of pragmatic leftist thought 
("a positive trend"), and explicitly rejected the manner in 
which Chavez is managing Venezuela.  He said the pragmatic 
left knows the importance of building strong democratic 
institutions, while Chavez personalizes power and weakens 
institutions. 

--------------------------------------------- ---------- 
Congress Will Ratify FTA, but Public Outreach Essential 
--------------------------------------------- ---------- 

5.  (C) Garzon said he expects the Congress to ratify the 
Free Trade Agreement after much debate, but insisted that 
Uribe must educate the public and interest groups on the 
benefits of the treaty and address the concerns of those who 
expect to be losers.  Garzon said the FTA was very good for 
Valle's prominent sugar producers and would help Colombia 
export ethanol to the U.S.  Agriculture and cereal sector 
representatives had already complained to him about the FTA, 
however.  Garzon has discussed ratification with Uribe, 
suggesting that the president hold many public forums to hear 
first hand from affected interests.  The Governor wants to 
host an "academic-type seminar" in Cali at which he plans to 
invite an embassy official and a GOC representative to make 
presentations.  He gave the strong impression that he 
supported the FTA when he said, "we face commercial 
realities," but he was anxious to ensure that perceived 
losers are taken into account.  Garzon said he was prepared 

to play a role in the debate over ratification but he said he 
was not sure what that role would be. 

------- 
Comment 
------- 

6.  (C) Garzon is mentioned as a possible presidential 
contender in 2010, if the political pendulum swings left 
after eight years of Uribe.  His comments on issues were 
thoughtful and pragmatic.  Garzon could be a key ally on the 
FTA.  He insisted that Uribe and the GOC more generally must 
conduct extensive outreach, which the president has started 
to do. 


WOOD 

=======================CABLE ENDS============================