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Viewing cable 06MONTEVIDEO1179, LEFT USING HUMAN RIGHTS TO DISCREDIT US

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06MONTEVIDEO1179 2006-12-13 11:11 2010-12-14 21:09 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Montevideo
VZCZCXYZ0000
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHMN #1179/01 3471145
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 131145Z DEC 06
FM AMEMBASSY MONTEVIDEO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6628
INFO RUCNMER/MERCOSUR COLLECTIVE
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS 0469
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ DEC LIMA 4870
RUEHQT/AMEMBASSY QUITO 1913
RUEHSG/AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO 2951
RUMIAAA/CDR USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL
C O N F I D E N T I A L MONTEVIDEO 001179

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR WHA/BSC AND DRL

E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/11/2016
TAGS: PROP PHUM PREL PINR KPAO UY
SUBJECT: LEFT USING HUMAN RIGHTS TO DISCREDIT US

REF: MONTEVIDEO 1103 (NOTAL)

1. (SBU) Summary: Uruguay's leftist groups increasingly
resort to human rights as an anti-U.S. rallying cry.
Uruguayan press coverage of Augusto Pinochet's death on Human
Rights day serves to reinforce the local assertion that
leftists are the only "true" defenders of human rights.
Recently declassified U.S. documents from the period around
the Uruguayan dictatorship have fueled the fire, and they
will be prominently featured in the prosecution of two senior
Uruguayan officials accused of conspiring to murder four
people in 1976. Venezuela's Telesur continues to broadcast
accusations that the U.S. sponsored "Plan Condor," while it
flashes snippets of declassified documents on its cable
broadcasts as "proof." The anti-U.S. propaganda machine is
rumbling more loudly, and the time for some sort of response
may be approaching. End Summary.

PRESS REACTION TO PINOCHET'S DEATH
----------------------------------
2. (SBU) Uruguayan press coverage of Augusto Pinochet's death
on December 10 reinforces the local assertion that leftists
are the only "true" defenders of human rights. Papers exude
a great deal of nostalgia for the presidency of Salvador
Allende and a vilification of those who mourn Pinochet's
passing. Socialist and Communist legislators demonize him as
the inspiration for other dictatorships in the region,
including in Uruguay, and papers convey a sense of joy in his
death. Most reports imply a vindication of leftist ideology
at the death of the man many consider to be the movement's
greatest enemy. Chile's economic success or the very real
threat posed by international Communism during the Cold War
are seldom, if ever, mentioned.

HIGH PROFILE TRIAL BEGINS
-------------------------
3. (SBU) U.S. declassified documents from the period around
the Uruguay dictatorship have fueled leftist allegations that
the U.S. is an enemy of human rights. Prosecutors are using
declassified U.S. documents to bolster their case against
Former Uruguayan President Juan Bordaberry and Former ForMin
Juan Blanco. The two men served during the early
dictatorship and are charged with conspiracy to murder two
opposition congressmen and two Tupamaros in Argentina
(reftel). While the U.S. documents we have seen do not
explicitly link the U.S. to any regional conspiracy against
opposition leftists, the case brings new attention to the
aging issue. Commentators sloppily and regularly presume
U.S. complicity in Plan Condor's campaign of crushing
guerrilla movements in the 1970s and endorsement of brutal
methods.

4. (SBU) In the current trial, one an important witness for
the prosecution is Martin Almeda, a Paraguayan lawyer who
reportedly discovered "the Terror Archives" of strongman
Alfredo Stroessner's 1954-89 dictatorship. The other is
Carlos Osorio, an Information Systems Manager at "The
National Security Archive," an independent non-governmental
research institute and library at George Washington
University. The media refers to Osorio as "one of the most
important declassifiers of the State Department's private
documents."

TELESUR HERE
------------
5. (SBU) Meanwhile, Venezuela's Telesur has been running a
steady stream of high-quality, anti-American propaganda
pieces. The "Injerencia" series about CIA "meddling" in
Latin America is a particularly slick product that
incorporates documentary segments, present day interviews
with witnesses and liberal use of selected declassified FOIA
documents. We note that Uruguay has a ten percent stake in
Telesur (which it pays by donating content) and that the
local government-owned channel has increased its broadcasting
of conspiratorial, anti-U.S. propaganda in recent weeks.

COMMENT:
--------
6. (C) The legacy of human rights abuses committed during the
1973-84 dictatorship is not a new theme in Uruguay. In the
immediate post-dictatorship period, many writers and editors
accused the U.S. of sponsoring Plan Condor and of complicity
in the dictatorship's abuses. What is new is that the Frente
Amplio is now in power and has the political and media
resources to make the old charges more uncomfortable for the
U.S. The dredging up of the past appears to be morphing into
something more than mere "closure" or a politically
convenient public distraction. The barrage of sophisticated
propaganda links the U.S. to the past abuses and paints it as
the intellectual author of Plan Condor. We do not believe
that President Vazquez sanctions this development; we also
doubt that he will do anything to dissuade it.

7. (C) Comment continued: Meanwhile, the U.S. appears to
have abandoned the field on this discussion and has said that
the declassified documents speak for themselves. Scandals at
U.S. anti-terror detention facilities have not helped to
promote engagement either. Nevertheless, there may come a
time when we might need to defend ourselves against this
assault on U.S. credibility and intentions. We are not at
that point yet, but the trials of Bordaberry and Blanco may
make it necessary to respond. After all, our core interests
in the region (fostering economic growth, stability and
democracy and fighting narcotics) greatly depend on our
reputation. End Comment.
Baxter