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Viewing cable 09CARACAS1284,

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09CARACAS1284 2009-10-05 20:08 2011-02-22 01:01 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Caracas
VZCZCXRO2285
PP RUEHAG RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHPA RUEHRN RUEHROV RUEHSL RUEHSR
RUEHTRO
DE RUEHCV #1284/01 2782000
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 052000Z OCT 09
FM AMEMBASSY CARACAS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3779
INFO RUEHZO/AFRICAN UNION COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHWH/WESTERN HEMISPHERIC AFFAIRS DIPL POSTS PRIORITY
RUMIAAA/HQ USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 CARACAS 001284 

SIPDIS 

HQSOUTHCOM ALSO FOR POLAD 
DEPARTMENT PASS TO AID/OTI (RPORTER) 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/05/2029 
TAGS: PGOV PHUM PREL KDEM VE UNCHC EAID

REF: A. CARACAS 1230 B. CARACAS 1059 CARACAS 00001284 001.2 OF 003 

Classified By: Political Counselor Robin D. Meyer, for reasons 1.4 (B) and (D). 

1. (C) Summary: Venezuela played host to 28 heads of state and representatives from 33 other countries at the Second Africa-South America (ASA) Summit on September 26-27 on the island of Margarita. Portrayed by President Chavez before and afterwards as an historic display of unity between long-oppressed continents, the Summit appears to have instead highlighted differences among participants over both substance and style. Despite efforts by Venezuela and Libya, the Summit declaration itself contained few unexpected provisions. Following the Summit, President Chavez signed a series of bilateral energy and mining agreements, and joined six other South American Presidents in signing a "constituting agreement" for his proposed regional development bank, Banco del Sur. Some Summit participants reported that their most lasting memory may well be the preparatory and logistical mess that the delegates encountered. End Summary. 

---------------------------- 
BOLIVARIAN IDEALS GO NOWHERE 
---------------------------- 

2. (C) Heads of state from eight South American and twenty African nations headlined the two-day summit on Margarita Island, including Presidents Lula da Silva (Brazil), Bachellet (Chile), Correa (Ecuador), Zuma (South Africa), Mugabe (Zimbabwe), and al-Gaddafi (Libya). President Chavez's stated hope for the Summit was to unify the disparate countries around their common colonially-oppressed histories. But Chavez found few takers for his anti-American and anti-capitalist rhetoric. As a South African delegate noted to PolOff, "Venezuela's original ideas for the Summit did not progress." A concerted effort by the Venezuelan Foreign Ministry to control the language of the Summit's Declaration (refs A and B) irritated many delegations. Media reported that a Senegalese representative asserted late in the Summit's first day that discussions about the declaration were pointless, claiming: "We don't understand what we're discussing because the majority of us haven't seen the text." Several delegations, including Colombia, Algeria, and other African countries, expressed frustration when a provision condemning terrorism disappeared from the text late in the negotiations. (Note: A provision condemning terrorism does appear in the final version, although it remains unclear if the wording was the same as what was originally proposed. End Note.) 

3. (C) When the declaration's draft language was opened to debate, according to Brazilian, Chilean, and South African diplomats, numerous articles promoting Chavez's "Bolivarian" agenda were rejected. A last-minute attempt by the Libyan delegation to insert what one participant referred to as "nasty language" condemning Israel, among other things, was similarly thwarted. In the end, the 96-article Declaration does not mention the U.S., the Bolivarian Revolution, or state a preference for any particular economic framework. It does call for increased South-South cooperation, United Nations reform, an end to the U.S. embargo of Cuba, and protection of the environment, among many other unremarkable provisions. Even the language on U.N. Security Council reform reflects the differences among the wide range of participants, who apparently could only agree on extremely general language calling for greater representation and transparency, rather than on an endorsement of a specific reform proposal. 

--------------------------------------------- ------- 
THE RESULTS: ASA HQ, BANCO DEL SUR, AND ENERGY DEALS --------------------------------------------- ------- 

4. (C) The GBRV made considerable fanfare about a handful of developments. Chavez ensured a "permanent" link between Venezuela and the African countries by sealing an agreement to establish an ASA Summit Secretariat on Margarita Island. Energy Minister Rafael Ramirez announced that the GBRV signed bilateral accords on energy and/or mining with eight African countries. (Note: the countries cited were Libya, South Africa, Sudan, Niger, Mauritania, Sierra Leone, Guinea Bissau, and Cape Verde. End Note.) Chavez also proposed a 

CARACAS 00001284 002.2 OF 003 

petroleum-related alliance between the continents, "PetroSur-Sur." 

5. (C) On the Summit's margins, Presidents Chavez, Lula, Fernandez de Kirchner, Correa, Morales, Lugo, and Vazquez signed a "constituting agreement" of the Chavez-proposed regional development bank, Banco del Sur. Chavez also announced a Venezuelan commitment of $4 billion to the bank-- equivalent to the promised contributions of Brazil and Argentina -- as part a total $20 billion capital commitment by the subscribing parties. The language of the new agreement was not immediately available, and the GBRV offered no clarification regarding how this document differed from previous accords on the subject, nor how it brought the Banco del Sur any closer to operability. 

---------------------------------- 
LOGISTICAL INCAPACITY WREAKS HAVOC ----------------------------------

 6. (C) The GBRV's preparatory and logistical work for the Summit was universally criticized by participants. South African and Brazilian attendees noted that the GBRV provided no advance information on the agenda, despite repeated requests; GBRV officials were not in Margarita to help Presidential advance teams until shortly before the Summit began; and hotel rooms were not set aside for Summit delegations. In the case of Brazil, this poor planning resulted in daily threats to President Lula's advance team of expulsion from their hotel due to an alleged lack of available space, according to Brazilian DCM Rafael Vidal (protect). Vidal also reported that none of the workspaces available to the delegations were equipped with Internet access, and that security restrictions were both extreme and irregular. Vidal called the Summit arrangements "a horrific organizational effort, even by Venezuelan standards." South African DCM Wessel Mulder (protect) noted that the fuel supply at Margarita's airport ran out as Presidential delegations were leaving, forcing South African President Zuma's departure to be delayed more than an hour while additional fuel was procured.
 --------------------------------
 BRAZIL-VENEZUELA BILAT POSTPONED
 -------------------------------- 

7. (C) A Chavez-Lula bilateral meeting previously scheduled to take place on September 28 was postponed at Brazil's request. The Brazilians cited Lula's plan to travel to Copenhagen this week to advocate for Brazil's 2016 Summer Olympics bid. Brazilian DCM Vidal told PolOff that Lula was "tired" by the end of the Summit, and that the Olympic bid was a major priority. Vidal noted that the bilat was immediately rescheduled, and even lengthened to two days, October 16-17. (Note: One day of the meeting will take place in Caracas, while the second day will be in El Tigre, a central Venezuelan town where a Brazilian soybean production facility operates. End Note.) When asked about the likelihood of signing a previously announced bilateral agreement to finance construction of a petroleum refinery in Brazil's Pernambuco state, Vidal asserted it was almost a done deal: "We received good news on that this weekend." 

--------------------------------------------- -
 GADDAFI AND CHAVEZ -- "REVOLUTIONARY BROTHERS" --------------------------------------------- 

 8. (C) After the Summit's official conclusion, Chavez hosted a number of bilateral discussions with African countries, with the feature event a lengthy ceremony between Chavez and Libyan President Gaddafi. (Note: Libya will be the host for the Third ASA Summit, scheduled for 2011. End Note.) The two Presidents congratulated each other on their "revolutions," with Chavez asserting, "What Simon Bolivar is to the Venezuelan people, Gaddafi is to the Libyan people." Chavez also awarded Gaddafi the "Orden del Libertador," Venezuela's highest civilian decoration, and presented him with a replica of Simon Bolivar's sword. Gaddafi praised Chavez for "having driven out the colonialists," just like he had driven out those in Libya. "We share the same destiny, the same battle in the same trench against a common enemy, and we will conquer."

 9. (C) Comment: Local press coverage of the Summit was less than expected considering its A-list cast. Some diplomats 
CARACAS 00001284 003.2 OF 003 

speculated that the government intentionally kept the media away from the disgruntled delegates. The meeting with Gaddafi, however, provided the opportunity for rhetorical assaults on capitalism, colonialism, and imperialism. Despite Brazilian DCM Vidal's comments to the contrary, many diplomats and journalists believe the Brazilian decision to postpone the Lula-Chavez bilateral meeting reflected Lula's concern about appearing too close to Chavez at a time when he was being criticized for his alleged collusion with Chavez in the covert return of President Zelaya to Honduras. End Comment. DUDDY