AGRICULTURAL DEMARCHES DELIVERED, BOLIVIAN FOOD SAFETY PRECARIOUS

Código Fecha Clasificación Origen
08LAPAZ1175 21 May 2008 Confidencial Embassy La Paz

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C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 LA PAZ 001175

SIPDIS

EEB/TPP/MTA, CHEVER VOLTMER; EEB/TPP/ABT, GARY CLEMENTS;
AND EEB/TPP, MIKAEL LURIE

E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/20/2018
TAGS: ECON, PGOV, AGR, FAO, FAS, IFAD, IICA, BL
SUBJECT: AGRICULTURAL DEMARCHES DELIVERED, BOLIVIAN FOOD
SAFETY PRECARIOUS

REF: A. SECSTATE 50336
B. SECSTATE 52628
C. LA PAZ 1053

Classified By: ADCM Chief Mike Hammer for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).

1. (U) This is an action request. Please see paragraph 5.

2. (SBU) EconOff delivered demarche regarding the U.S.
candidate for Chairperson FAO/WHO Codex Alimentarius
Commission (Ref. A) to Carmen Timeo, the new head of the
Bolivian Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
(SENASAG). The demarche on the President’s global food
security initiative (Ref. B) was delivered to the Director
General of the PL-480 Secretariat, Dr. Cesar Ayala. The
PL-480 directorate is functioning as the Bolivian
government’s lead organization for food imports, in
particular wheat.

3. (C) May 19 was Timeo’s first day as head of Senasag. Her
predecessor, Rolando Cazol, resigned the position on May 16.
In Cazol, Post had a consistent interlocutor within the
Ministry of Agriculture, the most hostile of Bolivian
ministries toward US cooperation. We had been able to meet
with him on several occasions and he had been willing to try
to work with us to revamp how remaining Title I funding could
be used to support technical programs at Senasag.
Additionally, he had expressed interest in using the Title I
monies to send Senasag personnel to training programs as
recommended by the USDA regional counselor in Lima, Eugene
Philhower. While a small gesture, it was one of the first
acts of possible cooperation regarding the Title I monies
over the past year. In a conversation with Timeo, EconOff
offered to use USDA funding to send a member of Senasag to
the three day outreach event in Antigua, Guatemala on June
11-13 for members of the Codex Coordinating Committee for
Latin America and the Caribbean (CCLAC). Timeo was
noncommittal.

4. (C) In a conversation with Cazol following his
resignation, he was very pessimistic as to the direction that
Senasag was headed. He reported that reorganization plans
were not advancing and that there was no sincere interest in
advancing a technical agenda for the agency; political
considerations were always at the forefront Moreover, he
said that his efforts to make Senasag an autonomous part of
the Ministry of Agriculture, independent from foreign aid and
funded by the government of Bolivia were not heeded. When
asked if his openness to at least try to work with the U.S.
Embassy to help maintain Senasag technical programs was a
part of why he left the agency, he said that Minister of
Agriculture Rivero did not agree with his approach. In a
private meeting on May 16, Rivero was adamant that no
"conditions" should be placed on American aid. This
disagreement, as well as his frustration in trying to push a
technical agenda at Senasag, led to his resignation. He said
that the Timeo is a very good "foot soldier for Minister
Rivero". Post expects difficulties in establishing effective
cooperation with the Timeo, and does not anticipate Bolivian
support for the US candidate for the Codex chairmanship.

5. (C) Regarding the President’s global food security
initiative, Ayala listened politely. He was grateful to hear
that a request for a wheat donation to Bolivia had been made
by the Embassy. Ayala explained that in agriculture policy
wheat production and importation is the priority of the
Morales administration. They have launched several programs
to expand domestic production and are working to import both
raw wheat and flour from Argentina. Ayala hoped to avoid
restrictions on raw wheat exports from Argentina and said

LA PAZ 00001175 002 OF 002

that the two governments were currently negotiating an
exception for Bolivia. Ayala noted that Argentina already
had granted an export exemption for raw wheat to Brazil. He
also expressed interest in resuming imports of U.S. wheat and
Post provided the contact information for the U.S. Wheat
Association Regional Representative in Chile. Action
Request: Post requests an update on request for wheat (Ref.
C).
URS