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Viewing cable 06LIMA2366, CONGRESSMAN MEEKS DISCUSSES TRADE AND DEMOCRACY

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06LIMA2366 2006-06-13 21:09 2011-02-20 12:12 CONFIDENTIAL//NOFORN Embassy Lima
Appears in these articles:
http://elcomercio.pe/
VZCZCXYZ0002
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHPE #2366/01 1642102
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 132102Z JUN 06
FM AMEMBASSY LIMA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0996
INFO RUEHBO/AMEMBASSY BOGOTA 3549
RUEHBU/AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES 2460
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS 9592
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ JUN QUITO 0453
RUEHSG/AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO 0643
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHINGTON DC
C O N F I D E N T I A L LIMA 002366 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 
 
USTR FOR AUSTR EEISSENSTAT AND BHARMAN,DEPT FOR WHA/AND, 
EB/TPP, WHA/EPSC 
COMMERCE FOR 4331/MAC/WH/MCAMERON 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/08/2016 
TAGS: ETRD ECON AA EINV PGOV PE
id: 67870
date: 6/13/2006 21:02
refid: 06LIMA2366
origin: Embassy Lima
classification: CONFIDENTIAL//NOFORN
destination: 
header:
VZCZCXYZ0002
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHPE #2366/01 1642102
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 132102Z JUN 06
FM AMEMBASSY LIMA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0996
INFO RUEHBO/AMEMBASSY BOGOTA 3549
RUEHBU/AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES 2460
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS 9592
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ JUN QUITO 0453
RUEHSG/AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO 0643
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHINGTON DC


----------------- header ends ----------------

C O N F I D E N T I A L LIMA 002366 

SIPDIS 

SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 

USTR FOR AUSTR EEISSENSTAT AND BHARMAN,DEPT FOR WHA/AND, 
EB/TPP, WHA/EPSC 
COMMERCE FOR 4331/MAC/WH/MCAMERON 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/08/2016 
TAGS: ETRD ECON AA EINV PGOV PE
SUBJECT: CONGRESSMAN MEEKS DISCUSSES TRADE AND DEMOCRACY 
WITH PRESIDENT TOLEDO 

Classified By: Amb. Curt Struble for Reason 1.4 (b&d) 

1. (U) Summary: During an official visit to Peru, 
Congressman Gregory Meeks met with President Toledo to 
discuss the Peruvian Trade Promotion Agreement (PTPA), 
democracy and other issues.  Toledo observed that the  recent 
shift towards populism in the region would be  temporary and 
the Chavez experiment would fail.  He  described the 
Peru-U.S. relationship as deeper than just  trade, 
incorporating shared democratic values and a  commitment to 
eradicating poverty and fighting terrorism  and 
narco-trafficking.  The trade accord would play a big  role 
in reducing poverty. End Summary. 

2. (U) Congressman Gregory Meeks visited Peru on May 26 to 28 
for meetings with some of Peru,s most important economic 
sectors to discus the PTPA, democracy, poverty eradication, 
the status of the Afro-Peruvian people and other issues. 
President Toledo received Congressman Meeks at his home.  The 
Congressman's Legislative Director,  Sophia King, and 
Ambassador Struble accompanied him.  The  President was 
joined by his Minister of Foreign Trade and Tourism, Alfredo 
Ferrero, and by First Lady Eliane Karp.  Septels will report 
on the other meetings. 

Shared Values 
---------------------- 

3. (U) President Toledo opened with the observation that  the 
U.S.-Peruvian relationship was not just about the Free Trade 
Agreement; rather the two countries had shared values in 
democracy, human rights, respect for freedom of the press and 
separation of powers.  The Free Trade Agreement is a piece of 
the puzzle of poverty eradication, the President added.  He 
wanted history to judge him for having  been on the right 
side of that issue. 

Poverty, Democracy and Hugo 
--------------------------------------------- - 

4. (SBU) Toledo declared that the region was going through a 
short-term swing of populism.  Congressman Meeks noted that 
he was one of the few members of the US Congress who had a 
good relationship with Hugo Chavez, but added that  Chavez, 
was not offering Latin American countries a useful solution. 
Toledo agreed, saying that the region was undergoing 
turbulence related to the failure of political  leaders, 
including himself, to convert economic growth into social 
development.  This had created a progressive lack of faith in 
democracy itself. 

5. (SBU) Toledo said he had made some headway against 
poverty, bringing down the number of Peruvians living on $2 a 
day or less from 54 to 48 percent during his five-years in 
office.  In rural areas, that rate decreased from 77 to 68 
percent.  That was not enough, though, to arrest frustration. 
 The health of democratic government was tied to poverty 
reduction.  It  was not an ideological issue, Toledo said, 
nor one of capitalism versus communism; it was about jobs. 

6. (C) Like Congressman Meeks, Toledo said, he was a  friend 
of Hugo Chavez, but he would not let Chavez destabilize the 
region.  "We either share the values of democracy or we do 
not," Toledo said.  The President complained that Chavez was 
interfering with electoral processes by financing candidates 
in Peru, Mexico, Bolivia and Nicaragua. 

7. (SBU) Toledo emphasized that both the number of poor and 
the rate of inflation were up in Venezuela.  The poor cannot 
protect themselves from inflation, he added.  He said he took 
a different route, looking toward the future rather than 
engaging in populism and burning Peru,s foreign reserves. 
The result was a tripling of Peru,s exports and a doubling 
of its reserves. 

Trade, Jobs and Drugs 
---------------------------------- 

8. (U) Toledo said that the United States and Peru also had a 
strong common interest in fighting narco-trafficking.  The 

drug trade was financing terrorism in the Andean region, he 
stated, and Peru needs to substitute jobs for coca 
plantations.  He said he wants the U.S. Congress to help him 
free his people.  Freedom was not just having the right to 
vote, rather it required the capacity to choose.  It meant 
having an education, because if you could not defend your 
rights, you were not free. 

Trade, Labor and Opportunities 
--------------------------------------------- - 

9. (U) Congressman Meeks said that he wanted to help, but 
noted that some problems might come from the U.S. side rather 
than from Peru.  Some people in the U.S. believed that the 
FTA might take advantage of the poor.  These people were 
particularly concerned about the issue of labor rights and 
the lack of an enforcement mechanism in our trade agreements. 
 The were concerned that the next administration in Peru 
might undercut progress the Toledo government had made in 
that area. 

10. (U) President Toledo said that he had talked to President 
Bush and knew that the President believed in democracy.  The 
FTA was a partnership.  Peru, Toledo said, did not deserve 
charity but rather opportunity.  The country was a member of 
the International Labor Organization (ILO) and was fully 
complying with the ILO commitments it had signed.  He 
recalled that he met with the Black Caucus and was impressed 
with their concern for Peru.  He wanted to assure them that 
he would not allow  anyone to take advantage of his country. 

Venezuelan Meddling 
-------------------------------- 

11. (C) President Toledo spoke of Venezuelan President 
Chavez, intervention in Peruvian politics, claiming that he 
had put $6.5 million into the Peruvian Presidential campaign, 
and another $16 million into Mexico's contest.  Chavez wanted 
leadership and had money, but the poor would become poorer 
under the policies he was promoting.  Toledo pointed to 
Chavez' actions in Bolivia, saying that Brazilian President 
Lula was very disappointed by the results.  According to 
Toledo, Chavez was also putting up money to create problems 
in Peru, "100  Soles per family to create trouble". 

The Legacy 
------------------ 

12. (U) Toledo said that he was proud that he had not taken 
the populist course and, according to the latest poll, his 
approval rating was now at 52 percent.  (Note: The highest 
poll we have seen puts Toledo's approval rating at 32 
percent. End Note)  "I'm leaving a solid economy," Toledo 
said, "with average growth over five years of 5.5 percent, 
inflation of 1.5 percent, a fiscal deficit of .002 percent, 
and market openings in China, the European Union, Chile and 
Mexico." 

13. (U) Congressman Meeks said that President Toledo enjoyed 
the respect of many Democratic members of Congress,  but some 
of his colleagues were uncertain what would happen after 
Toledo, since historically Peru,s presidents left the 
country when their terms finished.  Toledo said that he would 
not go either to an international organization nor to 
academia; "I'm going to be a soldier for democracy and 
against poverty," he said.  Congressman Meeks recommended 
that he join forces with former President Clinton. 

Passing the Trade Accord 
--------------------------------------- 

14. (U) Congressman Meeks concluded the meeting by saying he 
was uncertain before his trip whether it would be better to 
approve the FTA now or wait until later in the year.  He was 
now convinced that the U.S. Congress needed to do it while 
Toledo was still in office. 

Comment: Peru On The Cusp 
------------------------------------------- 


15. (U) A proud and reflective President Toledo provided a 
broad case for the trade agreement and the strength of the 
U.S.-Peru relationship.  He described a country in 
transition, leaving behind a turbulent past and on the cusp 
of big advances in democratic stability and poverty 
reduction.  He sees the U.S.-Peruvian trade accord as a key 
element if Peru is to advance. 

Congressman Meeks' office did not clear on this cable. 
STRUBLE 

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