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 09SANTIAGO1122, AES-GENER: Chilean Minister of Housing Promises to Resolve Campiche Power Plant Problem By the End of 2009

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. #09SANTIAGO1122.
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09SANTIAGO1122 2009-11-20 19:07 2011-03-01 14:02 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Santiago
VZCZCXYZ0000
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHSG #1122/01 3241947
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 201946Z NOV 09
FM AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO
TO RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHINGTON DC
RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0306
INFO MERCOSUR COLLECTIVE
RHEBAAA/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHINGTON DC
RUEHPE/AMEMBASSY LIMA
UNCLAS SANTIAGO 001122 
 
SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 
STATE FOR WHA/BSC, WHA/EPSC AND EEB/ESC/IEC 
COMMERCE FOR KRISTEN MANN 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: EINV ECON ENRG PGOV SENV CI
SUBJECT: AES-GENER: Chilean Minister of Housing Promises to Resolve Campiche Power Plant Problem By the End of 2009 

REF: SANTIAGO 1026
 SANTIAGO 893
 SANTIAGO 783 

1.  (SBU) Summary:  The Minister of Housing assured the Ambassador 	that by year's-end she will resolve the regulatory confusion that has undermined a large investment by AES-Gener, a U.S. electric 	company.  In delivering a letter from Commerce Secretary Locke to President Bachelet on AES, the Ambassador met with Bachelet's foreign policy advisor and Ministers of Interior, Commerce, Energy, and Housing to urge prompt resolution of the problem.  The GOC clearly recognizes the potential the AES case has to damage its 	favorable investment climate and the need to correct the situation. End summary. 

Message Delivered:  Letter from Secretary Locke to President Bachelet	
--------------------------------------------- ----------------------------------------- 

2.  (SBU) On October 30, the Ambassador provided Marcos Robledo, President Bachelet's senior foreign policy advisor, with the letter from Commerce Secretary Locke to President Bachelet regarding the problems facing AES, a U.S. electric company (reftels). Construction at the company's Campiche power plant project was shut down due to the Chilean Supreme Court's invalidation of an environmental permit.  The letter acknowledges the GOC's efforts to develop a solution to AES's situation, and requests that it take appropriate, timely measures to develop a positive outcome for the company and its investment project.  Stating that the GOC is committed to finding a solution, Robledo promised to pass the letter to President Bachelet and other interested parties. 	

Ministers All Point to Ministry of Housing 
--------------------------------------------- ------- 

3.  (SBU) The Ambassador delivered copies of the Locke letter to Minister of Interior Edmundo Perez Yoma (November 4), Minister of Energy Marcelo Tokman (November 6) and Minister of Economy, Development, and Reconstruction Hugo Lavados (November 9).  All the ministers indicated that they were aware of the situation and the need for the GOC to resolve the matter to avoid a negative impact on Chile's investment climate.  They also all indicated that the issue was within the purview of the Ministry of Housing, and Perez Yoma opined that the company had not done enough to burnish its public image or build relations with the community around the Campiche project. 	

Housing Minister Promises to Resolve Matter by End of 2009 
--------------------------------------------- ---------------------- 

4.  (SBU) The Ambassador met with Minister of Housing Patricia Poblete on November 9 to deliver a copy of the letter and to press 	for a solution on Campiche as quickly as possible.  Claiming to have received many requests to find a way forward so that AES Gener could resume work on the plant, including a call from President Bachelet and a letter from the Government of South Korea, Poblete took great pains to reassure the Ambassador it is her top priority and that the GOC aims to resolve the issue before the end of the year. 	

5.  (SBU) Poblete also noted, however, that under the zoning plan or ""Plan Regulador"" (""the Plan"") for the Valparaiso Region, where Campiche is located, there are very clear and strict limitations on industrial projects.  She alleged that AES Gener never had permission to build at Campiche, and maintained that the company should have approached her ministry long before it began work on the project.  She lamented that, instead of coming to her directly, the company had wasted time in trying to work out a solution with the Ministry of Energy and claimed the solution at this stage is to amend the Plan to accommodate the Campiche project. 

6.  (SBU) Poblete explained that Ministry of Housing staff had already proposed changes to the Plan once on behalf of the regional environmental council (COREMA), which holds jurisdiction over Campiche.  The General Controller's office, which assesses the legality of GOC decisions and decrees, returned the draft with 66 queries and requested changes.  The Ministry recently finished addressing those questions and changes, and used back-channel 	communications with the General Controller's office to ensure the 	responses will be acceptable.  The document still needs to be formally resubmitted to the General Controller's office by the COREMA.  Poblete seemed confident that this step would clear the way to amend the Plan. 

7.  (SBU) Poblete was scheduled to meet with Ministers Perez Yoma and Tokman, as well as the Mayor of Valparaiso Jorge Castro on November 10 [Note:  Post later learned that this meeting took place and also included Minister of Environment Ana LyaUriarte.  End 	note.].  She said they would use the meeting to strategize about expediting a resolution to the AES Gener issue.  Poblete vowed the GOC would solve the situation, resorting to an executive decree, if necessary.  Pobleteemphasized that preserving Chile's favorable investment climate is critical to continued growth and promised to follow up with the Ambassador on any significant developments. 

AES-Gener Guardedly Optimistic on Resolution before March 2010 
--------------------------------------------- ---------------------- 

8.  (SBU) On November 19, Emboffs met with AES-Gener Director General Felipe Ceron, who had met with Poblete after the Ambassador and learned that amending the Plan would likely take longer than previously expected.  He explained that it was decided, at the November 10 meeting between the ministers and mayor, that the amendments to the Plan would require both a 60-day public comment period and an environmental review.  These steps make February 2010 the earliest possible date for changes to the Plan that would allow AES to resume construction. 

9.  (SBU) Ceron believes that in order to resolve the issue before the next Chilean administration takes office in March 2010,Poblete will have to amend the zoning ordinances by executive decree.  This process, which is also subject to review by the General Controller's office, can be done much more quickly, possibly in a matter of weeks.  However, he does not think the measure is likely to be considered before the December 13 presidential and congressional elections. 

10.  (SBU) While the company continues to face financial hardship due to stopping construction on the project, it is unclear exactly 	when it would be forced to pull out of Campiche if there is no resolution.  Ceron cautioned that the situation would become dire if AES's South Korean contractors should at any given moment demand payment.  According to Ceron, the South Korean embassy has also been advocating with the GOC to resolve the matter. 

11.  (SBU) In contrast to several prior meetings, Ceron responded affirmatively to questions about public outreach saying that AES has been meeting with the Mayor of Valparaiso and community groups, including environmentalists.  Citing no movement on an offer AES made to the mayor to help on a much-needed sewage treatment project, he seemed somewhat pessimistic that these efforts would mitigate the (false) impression that the company is a major area polluter.  [Note:  In fact, AES inherited many environmental challenges from the previous occupier of the site, and there is a large state-owned copper smelter that has caused many of the environmental problems blamed on AES.  End note.] 

Comment:  Resolution Likely Before March 2010 
--------------------------------------------- --------------- 

12.  (SBU) The open-ended timeframe to clarify zoning laws continues to be a concern for AES because, if the matter is not resolved before the change in Chilean administration in March 2010, the issue would likely drag on as key players will no longer be in place.  However, the Bachelet administration is clearly aware of the importance of correcting a troubling investment setback and maintaining Chile's reputation as a safe place to invest.  The GOC is actively looking for a solution, and post is cautiously optimistic that the legal framework will be corrected, likely by executive decree, before March 2010, if not by the end of this year.  End comment. 

SIMONS