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Viewing cable 06BOGOTA10112, A/S BURNS' OCTOBER 24 MEETING WITH REINTEGRATION

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06BOGOTA10112 2006-11-01 15:03 2011-02-20 12:12 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Bogota
VZCZCXYZ0001
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHBO #0112/01 3051523
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 011523Z NOV 06
FM AMEMBASSY BOGOTA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0379
INFO RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA 7259
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS 8402
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ NOV LIMA 4449
RUEHZP/AMEMBASSY PANAMA 9731
RUEHQT/AMEMBASSY QUITO 5120
RUEHGL/AMCONSUL GUAYAQUIL 3769
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RUEAWJA/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHDC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC
RHEHOND/DIRONDCP WASHDC
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
C O N F I D E N T I A L BOGOTA 010112 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/25/2016 
TAGS: KJUS PGOV PINR PREL PTER CO
SUBJECT: A/S BURNS' OCTOBER 24 MEETING WITH REINTEGRATION 
CZAR FRANK PEARL 
 
 
Classified By: Charge d'Affaires Milton K. Drucker 
Reasons: 1.4 (b) and (d) 
 
1.  (U) October 24, 2006; 8:45PM. 
 
2.  (U) Participants: 
 
U.S. 
 
Under Secretary Burns 
Ambassador William Wood 
USAID Deputy Assistant Administrator Mark Silverman 
USAID Director Liliana Ayalde 
Political Officer Liliana Gabriel (notetaker) 
 
COLOMBIA 
 
Reinsertion Commissioner Frank Pearl 
National Planning Advisor Maria Eugenia Pinto 
Advisor Juliana Correa 
 
------- 
Summary 
------- 
 
3.  (C) Reintegration Commissioner Frank Pearl told U/S Burns 
one of the biggest challenges in his first month has been to 
reorient the program to ensure effective long term 
reintegration of 43,000 demobilized illegal armed group 
members.  Pearl said he wanted to change the program's 
"one-size-fits-all" approach to a more tailored process for 
each demobilized person.  He highlighted his efforts to seek 
additional encourage donors, such as Microsoft Corporation 
and European countries.  U/S Burns said he respected the 
GOC's accomplishments thus far, and encouraged stronger 
implementation to counter skepticism of the process from 
civil society groups and some in the U.S. Congress.  U/S 
Burns suggested the U.S. and Colombia needed to do a better 
job of defending the demobilization and reintegration 
process.  End summary. 
 
------------------------ 
Reintegration Challenges 
------------------------ 
 
4.  (C) Pearl told U/S Burns his initial efforts involved 
reorienting the reintegration process to ensure the effective 
reintegration of 43,000 demobilized illegal armed group (IAG) 
members.  The 43,000 included over 31,000 collectively 
demobilized paramilitaries and more than 11,000 individual 
deserters from other IAGs, 50 percent of whom were FARC. 
Pearl predicted reintegration would take longer than 
anticipated and said communities to which the demobilized 
were returning must be involved. 
 
5.  (C) Pearl said the GOC had devoted unprecedented 
financial resources to the reintegration effort.  Still, 
until his recent appointment, divided and overlapping 
responsibilities within the GOC had made coordination and 
policy implementation difficult.  The Ambassador emphasized 
the US had pressed for such a position for almost a year 
before the GOC created it.  Pearl said more than 80 percent 
of the reintegration program's budget went for the monthly 
stipend and administrative costs.  As a result, little of the 
budget went to psychosocial, educational, and occupational 
assistance, limiting access to those services. 
 
---------------- 
Pearl's Strategy 
---------------- 
 
6.  (C) Pearl said he wanted to change the program's 
"one-size-fits-all" approach to a more tailored process for 
each demobilized.  He is considering building psychological, 
educational, and occupational profiles on each individual. 
He said a bloc commander cannot be treated the same as an 
ex-paramilitary rank and file member, since their backgrounds 
 
vary considerably.  The Ambassador noted he had met both 
leaders and regular foot soldiers during his visit to 
Medellin.  Some of the paramilitary leaders were former 
lawyers, and their educational background separated them from 
the rank and file.  Pearl suggested differentiating each 
demobilized according to their different skills could more 
effectively dismantle their structures.  In addition, Pearl 
wanted to condition eligibility for benefits (including 
stipend) on participation in the program. 
 
7.  (C) Pearl noted the success of Medellin's reintegration 
program, which he hoped to adapt in other regions.  The first 
step was to transfer the majority of the program's officers 
in Bogota to other regions.  The second step was to work 
closely with local authorities and communities, which for the 
most part had been reluctant to work with the national 
government.  Lastly, the GOC needed to create better 
reconciliation programs in areas where the demobilized have 
returned. 
 
------------------------------------------ 
Reaching Out to Donors, Microsoft on Board 
------------------------------------------ 
 
8.  (C) Pearl highlighted his efforts to hire top talent and 
encourage donors to participate in the process.  Microsoft 
Corporation had agreed to further develop systems to track 
and manage the demobilized, which would build on the USAID 
funded SAME and would help assess the impact of each dollar 
invested.  The European Union recently donated 5 million 
euros to help communities on reconciliation-related efforts 
and has expressed an interest in working with child soldiers. 
 Still, the GOC will be primarily responsible of supporting 
the program.  He was also organizing a team to develop their 
long-term strategy.  The team is composed of experts from 
Harvard, Princeton and Columbia Universities, EU officials, a 
Belgian who has worked on 70 different similar processes 
worldwide, and a Briton who just came back from Afghanistan. 
The strategy will be completed in December. 
 
---------------------------------------- 
Burns Encourages Stronger Implementation 
---------------------------------------- 
 
9.  (C) U/S Burns said he respected demobilization 
accomplishments but urged stronger reintegration 
implementation to counter skepticism from civil society 
groups and some in the U.S. Congress.  He noted the U.S. 
plans to maintain current aid levels to Colombia, ratify the 
U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement, and to seek extension of 
the Andean Trade Preference Drug Eradication Act.  He warned, 
however, that sustaining U.S. congressional support for 
continued U.S. assistance would require GOC progress on human 
right cases and effective implementation of the Justice and 
Peace Law (JPL).  The Ambassador noted that while it is not 
Pearl's responsibility, it would be useful if he pressed the 
Prosecutor General to begin to apply the JPL. 
 
11.  (C) Burns said U.S. and GOC should do a better job of 
communicating the progress made on demobilization and 
reintegration.  Pearl said one must compromise some justice 
in a peace process and "you simply cannot have a stick 
without a carrot."  The challenge was to prevent the 
demobilized from returning to crime or joining the FARC. 
Burns said it would be useful for Pearl to visit Washington 
and brief Congressional representatives.  After the meeting, 
Pearl said he was ready to go to Washington to discuss the 
reinsertion program. 
 
12.  (U) This cable has been cleared by U/S Burns. 
DRUCKER 

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