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Viewing cable 06BOGOTA5297, PROFILE: ANGELINO GARZON, GOVERNOR OF VALLE DEL

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06BOGOTA5297 2006-06-13 18:06 2011-02-26 16:04 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Bogota
Appears in these articles:
http://www.elespectador.com/wikileaks
VZCZCXYZ0007
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHBO #5297/01 1641841
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 131841Z JUN 06
FM AMEMBASSY BOGOTA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5900
INFO RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS 7826
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ JUN LIMA 3891
RUEHQT/AMEMBASSY QUITO 4536
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
C O N F I D E N T I A L BOGOTA 005297 

SIPDIS 

SIPDIS 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/12/2016 
TAGS: PGOV PREL PINR CO
SUBJECT: PROFILE: ANGELINO GARZON, GOVERNOR OF VALLE DEL 
CAUCA 

REF: BOGOTA 002030 

Classified By: CDA Milton K. Drucker
Reason: 1.4 (b,d) 


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

1.  (C) Valle del Cauca Governor Angelino Garzon is one of 
the most prominent representatives of the moderate left in 
Colombia and regarded as a possible presidential candidate 
from the Polo DemocraticoAlternativo party in 2010.  Garzon
has privately scorned more radical members of the Polo.  He 
said a Polo leader who has had executive responsibility in 
office making concrete decisions (i.e., like a governor or 
mayor), rather than a member of Congress, would be Polo's 
most effective standard bearer in a presidential contest. 
Garzon demurred when asked recently about his own national 
ambitions, instead lauding the performance of Bogota's Polo 
Mayor, LuchoGarzon.  End summary. 

----------------------------------- 
Background: Constructive Negotiator 
----------------------------------- 

2. (C)  Garzon's early career was as a trade unionist, most 
recently as President of Colombia's largest labor federation, 
the Central Unitaria de Trabajadores (CUT).  He served as an 
executive of two left-wing movements, the Union Patriotica
(1988-90) and the political arm of the M-19 guerrillas 
(1991-4).  Garzon's roots in collective bargaining and 
activism later served him in his role as constituyente, or 
member of the 1991 assembly that followed a peace accord 
between the GOC and M-19 armed rebels.  In that assembly he 
co-authored Colombia's current constitution.  In the late 
1990s President Pastrana appointed Garzon Minister of Labor, 
involving him in the (failed) peace talks with the FARC at 
Caguan.  In recent years Garzon has been active in several 
high-level commissions seeking humanitarian exchange with the 
guerillas and negotiated solutions to the conflict.  Analysts 
said his 2003 election as governor (with a record-breaking 
number of votes) was a blow to the FARC, as proof that a 
leftist candidate could achieve power through democratic 
means. 

-------------------------------------- 
Disciplined, Bipartisan, and Pluralist 
-------------------------------------- 

3. (C)  In person, Garzon is slow to make an impression.  He 
speaks quietly and sedately without the usual animation of a 
politician.  As he warms to his subject, however, he speaks 
with conviction, not just of immediate issues but also making 
reference to the principles behind his policies.  He 
emphasized three core values to poloffs in recent meetings: 

- Hard work and duty.  Garzon said too many mayors and 
governors see their jobs as honorary posts of prestige and 
status; they "still don't get it," he said, that they are in 
public service.  The governor is well known for working long 
hours.  He openly admires President Uribe's renowned work 
ethic, and credits Uribe for influencing the public sector 
towards greater discipline.  When asked about his future 
plans, he replied that his only focus is to meet his goals as 
Governor, to run for future office on a substantive record of 
accomplishments. 

- Bipartisan governance.  The Governor is a prominent member 
of the Polo, but in practice is more pragmatic than partisan. 
 He emphasized his institutional role over his political 
affiliation, stressing the need for departmental and local 
authorities to work with national governments of any stripe. 
He distinguished between the candidate Alvaro Uribe, from 
whom he kept a proper distance, versus President Uribe with 
whom he collaborated.  He expressed frustration with Polo 
members who had criticized him for cooperating with Uribe. 
The business community in Cali that initially distrusted his 
labor roots has come to appreciate his pragmatic approach. 

- Dialogue with citizens.  Garzon has instituted forums in 
which representatives of economic and social interest groups 
talk to each other and with the government.  Forums are held 
before a direct audience of citizens and are relayed to the 
broader community by public television.  The governor 
emphasized his "pedagogical" role in the development of 
civic-mindedness and public institutions.  Public contact 

seemed to be a welcome respite from the isolation of his 
office: referring to the elite circles in which he now 
travels, he spoke of being a "prisoner in stratum six." 

------------- 
FTA Supporter 
------------- 

4.  (C) Garzon disagreed with his party's rejection of the 
Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the U.S., saying the Uribe 
Administration needed to do a better job of explaining the 
text.  In Garzon's view, the FTA would benefit some sectors 
and harm others.  Those who would benefit (like major sugar 
and ethanol producers in Valle) should help make the case, 
while the national government should help those who stand to 
lose.  Garzon said the GOC should hold public meetings to 
listen to the concerns of those negatively affected.  He said 
many times critics needed to believe their concerns had been 
aired and that their interests were taken into account. 

----------------------- 
Presidential Ambitions?
----------------------- 

5.  (C) Garzon was noncommital when asked recently about his 
own presidential ambitions in 2010, instead praising the work 
of Bogota's Polo Mayor, LuchoGarzon (no relation).  The 
Valle Governor said Lucho had performed responsibly in office 
and understood the need to improve citizens' lives through 
concrete, practical initiatives.  He distinguished such 
efforts from the "irresponsible" actions of "radical" members 
of Congress, among whom he named leading Polo congressman 
Gustavo Petro (soon to be Senator).  According to Garzon, 
Petro and others in the Polo were not in a position of making 
hard management choices and not the party's best candidates 
for higher office. 

DRUCKER 

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



 
Classified By: CDA Milton K. Drucker 
Rea...