Keep Us Strong WikiLeaks logo

Currently released so far... 5408 / 251,287

Articles

Browse latest releases

Browse by creation date

Browse by origin

A B C D F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W Y Z

Browse by tag

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
QA
YM YI YE

Browse by classification

Community resources

courage is contagious

Viewing cable 06SANJOSE2779, CAFTA RATIFICATION BILL FINALLY CLEARS COMMITTEE

If you are new to these pages, please read an introduction on the structure of a cable as well as how to discuss them with others. See also the FAQs

Understanding cables
Every cable message consists of three parts:
  • The top box shows each cables unique reference number, when and by whom it originally was sent, and what its initial classification was.
  • The middle box contains the header information that is associated with the cable. It includes information about the receiver(s) as well as a general subject.
  • The bottom box presents the body of the cable. The opening can contain a more specific subject, references to other cables (browse by origin to find them) or additional comment. This is followed by the main contents of the cable: a summary, a collection of specific topics and a comment section.
To understand the justification used for the classification of each cable, please use this WikiSource article as reference.

Discussing cables
If you find meaningful or important information in a cable, please link directly to its unique reference number. Linking to a specific paragraph in the body of a cable is also possible by copying the appropriate link (to be found at theparagraph symbol). Please mark messages for social networking services like Twitter with the hash tags #cablegate and a hash containing the reference ID e.g. #06SANJOSE2779.
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06SANJOSE2779 2006-12-19 22:10 2011-03-03 16:04 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy San Jose
Appears in these articles:
http://www.nacion.com/2011-03-03/Investigacion/NotasDestacadas/Investigacion2697430.aspx
http://www.nacion.com/2011-03-03/Investigacion/NotaPrincipal/Investigacion2697496.aspx
http://www.nacion.com/2011-03-03/Investigacion/NotasSecundarias/Investigacion2697489.aspx
http://www.nacion.com/2011-03-03/Investigacion/NotasSecundarias/Investigacion2697532.aspx
http://www.nacion.com/2011-03-03/Investigacion/NotasSecundarias/Investigacion2697535.aspx
http://www.nacion.com/2011-03-03/Investigacion/NotasSecundarias/Investigacion2701964.aspx
http://www.nacion.com/2011-03-03/Investigacion/Relacionados/Investigacion2701965.aspx
VZCZCXYZ0006
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHSJ #2779/01 3532228
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 192228Z DEC 06
FM AMEMBASSY SAN JOSE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6859
INFO RUEHZA/WHA CENTRAL AMERICAN COLLECTIVE
UNCLAS SAN JOSE 002779 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPARTMENT FOR WHA/CEN AND WHA/EPSC 
 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE PASS TO USTR FOR AMALITO 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: ETRD EINV ECIN PGOV CS
SUBJECT:  CAFTA RATIFICATION BILL FINALLY CLEARS COMMITTEE 
 
REF: SAN JOSE 2617 (NOTAL) 
 
1. (SBU) SUMMARY.  The bill to ratify CAFTA-DR was approved by the 
legislative assembly's Committee on International Relations by a 6-3 
vote on December 12, ending over a year of hearings and debate. 
Although the results were anticipated, the atmosphere during the 
vote was tense, with a small group of rowdy protesters maintaining a 
vigil outside the building.  Once majority and minority reports are 
published and the holiday recess completed, the action shifts to the 
full legislature o/a January 15.  Rules that facilitate 
obstructionism could allow hundreds of motions, potentially leading 
to weeks of debate.  Anti-CAFTA demonstrations are threatened in the 
new year, as well.  The Arias administration has shown political 
leadership in getting this far, but will need more of the same to 
shepherd CAFTA-DR to ratification and move ahead on its full 
legislative agenda.  END SUMMARY. 
 
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 
 
FINALLY OUT OF COMMITTEE 
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 
 
 
2.  (U) Thirteen months and 21 days after former president Pacheco 
sent CAFTA-DR to the legislative assembly (Asamblea) for 
consideration, a bill (dictamen) to ratify the treaty was voted 
favorably from committee at 11:31 p.m. on December 12.  The 6-3 vote 
took place one minute past the close of debate deadline set by a 
two-thirds vote of the Asamblea on October 31 (Reftel).  President 
Arias's party, Partido Liberacion Nacional (PLN), plus the 
Movimiento Libertario (ML) and Partido Union Social Cristiano (PUSC) 
voted in favor, while the Partido Accion Ciudadana (PAC) voted 
against.  Media reports described the mood inside the hearing room 
as tense, and during the proceedings a small group of rowdy 
protestors maintained a well-televised vigil outside the building. 
The vote came after 278 hours of hearings and debate, testimony from 
46 different individuals and entities, and the receipt of volumes of 
written testimony. 
 
3.  (U) Using powers available to the executive branch during 
extraordinary sessions of the Asamblea (which run from December 
1-April 30 annually), the GOCR worked with legislature leadership to 
defer other agenda items and schedule additional committee sessions 
in order to concentrate full attention on CAFTA-DR.  President Arias 
himself was engaged throughout, following the late-night 
developments from his home, working the phones with PLN committee 
members. 
 
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 
 
MANAGING THE MOTIONS 
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 
 
 
4.  (U) Next, the committee must prepare and publish its majority 
and minority reports.  Staff expects plenary deliberations will 
begin o/a January 15, 2007.  The major challenge may be in managing 
the motions.  The committee has faced more than 400 (so far), the 
vast majority submitted in the last days (and hours) of debate by 
CAFTA-DR opponents.  The committee adopted 17 motions and rejected 
47.  The remainder (totaling 340 according to media reports), plus 
any of the rejected motions, can be reintroduced in the full plenary 
discussion, according to legislative rules.  Administration sources 
and Asamblea staff thus predict that the debate could last several 
weeks, with the first of two required plenary votes taking place in 
mid-late February. 
 
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 
 
TAKIN' IT TO THE STREETS, AND THE COURT 
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 
 
 
5.  (U) Among the noisy crowd outside the Asamblea the night of the 
vote was shrill-sounding PAC party leader Otton Solis, who embraced 
national union leader Albino Vargas and predicted an "enormous" 
anti-CAFTA protest in San Jose (which is highly unlikely until after 
the end-year holidays).  In an earlier press conference, surrounded 
by PAC legislators, Solis claimed the committee vote marked the 
"Cubanization" of Costa Rica, i.e., that the GOCR was unwilling to 
confront "new" ideas.   Separately, PAC legislator (and 
International Affairs Committee member) Alberto Salom publicly 
hinted of a constitutional challenge in the Supreme Court, even 
prior to the Court's mandatory review of the CAFTA-DR legislation 
(which will take place between the two plenary votes next year). 
 
6.  (U) Minister of the Presidency Rodrigo Arias quickly dismissed 
the PAC's allegations.  In a statement issued on December 13, he 
noted that no other country had held such an extensive committee 
debate (in which PAC legislators spoke 976 times).  If that was not 
sufficient time for the PAC (and other opponents) to say what they 
had to say, he did not know what was.  Arias also criticized PAC's 
"change of strategy," which, based on Solis's comments, appeared to 
be headed out of the Asamblea and "to the streets". 
 
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 
 
THE REST OF THE AGENDA(S) 
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 
 
 
7.  (U) The Arias administration has a full legislative plate beyond 
ratification of CAFTA-DR.  First, there is an implementation agenda, 
which includes the bills the GOCR believes it must enact in order to 
make Costa Rican law CAFTA-compliant.  This agenda covers highly 
controversial subjects such as opening the telecom and insurance 
monopolies.  Passage of these bills is subject to a slightly 
different and potentially longer approval process than CAFTA-DR 
ratification. The GOCR must adopt numerous changes to regulations to 
be consistent with the agreement. 
 
8. (U) In addition, there is the GOCR's so-called complementary 
agenda, which is not required by CAFTA-DR, but is a package of 
measures the GOCR believes is necessary to position the country to 
take advantage of the benefits of the agreement - such as increased 
education spending, fiscal reform, strengthening the telecom 
monopoly so that it can compete in an open market and other reforms 
it believes are necessary to advance Costa Rican society in 
general. 
 
- - - - 
COMMENT 
- - - - 
 
9.  (SBU) So far, so good.  Getting CAFTA-DR out of committee is an 
important step, even if late in coming.  The GOCR used its 38-seat 
working coalition in the asamblea to set a deadline, then exercised 
political discipline to stick to it.  In a welcome change from the 
Pacheco administration, the Arias team has been more willing to 
shape and manage its agenda during the extraordinary session.  In 
contrast, the PAC-led opposition sounds increasingly desperate, and 
is increasingly perceived by the public as filibustering, with no 
substantive alternative to offer.  Solis's "take it to the streets" 
announcement, for example, completely reverses his well-publicized 
assurances at the time of the anti-CAFTA rallies in October that PAC 
was the responsible opposition, who would work in the legislature to 
advance its agenda. 
 
10.  (SBU) Street demonstrations to date have been small and without 
meaningful consequence.  There is more to be done, in a fairly short 
time.  The Arias administration will have to work hard to overcome 
the systemic inertia that naturally slows the rule-bound 
legislature.  Rodrigo Arias has hinted publicly of rule changes that 
might be needed to speed debate.  This is another good sign.  The 
GOCR may have to use all the political tools at its disposal to 
shepherd CAFTA-DR to ratification and move ahead on the remainder of 
its challenging and necessary legislative agenda. 
Langdale