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Viewing cable 06SANTIAGO1000, FOREIGN MINISTRY OFFICIAL SAYS BACHELET IS ""70 PERCENT THERE ON OPPOSING VENEZUELA'S UNSC CANDIDACYOFFERS OBSERVATIONS ON BACHELET'S STYLE

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06SANTIAGO1000 2006-05-12 21:09 2011-02-24 07:07 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Santiago
VZCZCXYZ0010
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHSG #1000 1322107
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 122107Z MAY 06
FM AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 9099
INFO RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS PRIORITY 0946
RHMFISS/HQ USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 0169
C O N F I D E N T I A L SANTIAGO 001000 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR WHA/BSC, IO 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/12/2016 
TAGS: PREL PGOV UNSC PINR VZ CI
SUBJECT: FOREIGN MINISTRY OFFICIAL SAYS BACHELET IS ""70 PERCENT THERE ON OPPOSING VENEZUELA'S UNSC CANDIDACYOFFERS OBSERVATIONS ON BACHELET'S STYLE 

Classified By: Ambassador Craig A. Kelly.  Reasons: 1.4 (b and d). 

1. (C) Summary: A mid-level, well-connected Foreign Ministry 	official told the Embassy on May 11 that in his view President Bachelet was ""70 percent there"" on opposing Venezuela's UNSC candidacy.  Acknowledging how difficult it is to know what Bachelet is thinking, because of her close-to-the-vest style, the official predicted that Bachelet's meetings with European leaders this week in Spain and Vienna would reinforce the anti-Venezuela vote.  He characterized Bachelet as ""her own leader"" and cautioned that her ministers may not always know where she stands on a given issue.  End summary. 

2. (C) A mid-level Foreign Ministry official told the Embassy on May 11 that he thought President Bachelet was ""70 percent there"" on opposing Venezuela's UNSC candidacy.  The official, who is close to Foreign Ministry DG for External Relations Portales and has shared his opinions in the past, offered that his political associates and colleagues in the presidential palace had told him that Bachelet shared several USG concerns regarding Venezuela.   Acknowledging that most European nations would likely oppose Venezuela, he predicted that Bachelet's discussions this week with European leaders in Spain (State visit) and Vienna (the European-South American Summit) would reinforce her views. 

3. (C) The MFA official (who does not know Bachelet personally) commented that more so than past center-left 	Concertacion presidents, Bachelet is ""her own person who will make her own decisions"" and is not operating within political 	party circles.  In terms of style, Bachelet is a synthesizer who prefers to consult widely and consider different points of view before taking a decision.  As an example, the official noted that Bachelet chose her own ministers and deputy ministers, much to the dismay of the four-party 	Concertacion coalition.  Specifically on Venezuela, the official predicted Bachelet would continue to consult widely, both domestically and abroad, before finalizing her decision. By mid-June, Bachelet will have consulted with her neighbors (e.g. Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay in April), Europeans and the U.S. (during her June 8 visit to Washington).  When asked if Bachelet already had made up her mind, the official said While no one other than the President herself really knows, I believe she is leaning toward opposing Venezuela."" 

4. (C) The official added that given Bachelet's close inner circle and personal decision-making style, her ministers may not always know where the President stands on a given issue. This is especially true during these early days of her administration.  The official added that Chile's top-down, centralized decision-making process on foreign policy, where the President has considerable latitude, can also limit what other senior officials know about the President's thinking. 

5. (C) The official downplayed the influence of internal 	Concertacion coalition politics on Bachelet's thinking on Venezuela.  While acknowledging there were individuals within Chile's Socialist Party who ""sympathize"" with Chavez, it was important ""to distinguish between sympathy and support.""  The official said ""regional considerations"" (e.g. Brazil), rather than domestic politics, were more important considerations for Bachelet. 

6. (C) The official noted that Chile's domestic energy needs, and Bachelet's desire to develop a regional approach to energy, might be part of the equation.  Chile's bilateral commercial relations with Venezuela were ""minor,"" but Venezuela's ability to supply energy to Argentina and Brazil -- and thus free up other regional supplies for Chile could be a factor. 

KELLY