AIRLINE EXECUTIVES DETAINED, MADRID FEVER RISES

Código Fecha Clasificación Origen
07LAPAZ855 29 March 2007 Solo uso oficial Embassy La Paz

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VZCZCXYZ0001
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHLP #0855 0881649
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 291649Z MAR 07
FM AMEMBASSY LA PAZ
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 2988
INFO RUEHAC/AMEMBASSY ASUNCION 6665
RUEHBO/AMEMBASSY BOGOTA 3988
RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA 7875
RUEHBU/AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES 5129
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS 2353
RUEHPE/AMEMBASSY LIMA 2468
RUEHMD/AMEMBASSY MADRID 3396
RUEHMN/AMEMBASSY MONTEVIDEO 4509
RUEHZP/AMEMBASSY PANAMA 0255
RUEHQT/AMEMBASSY QUITO 4998
RUEHSG/AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO 9579
RUEHUB/USINT HAVANA 0236
RHMFIUU/HQ USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL
RUMIAAA/USCINCSO MIAMI FL
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHINGTON DC
RULSDMK/DEPT OF TRANSPORTATION WASHINGTON DC
RUEANHA/FAA NATIONAL HQ WASHINGTON DC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHINGTON DC

UNCLAS LA PAZ 000855

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR EB/TRA/OTP, EB/TRA/AN, WHA/AND LPETRONI
STATE PASS TO DOT FOR CCOLDREN AND BHEDBERG
STATE PASS TO FAA FOR CCAPESTANY AND KBERQUIST
COMMERCE FOR JANGLIN

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAIR, ECON, PGOV, BL
SUBJECT: AIRLINE EXECUTIVES DETAINED, MADRID FEVER RISES

REF: LA PAZ 850

1. (U) Bolivian authorities detained three Lloyd Aereo
Boliviano executives March 28 on charges of fraud.
Passengers have accused the carrier of collecting an
estimated $2.4 million in ticket sales for flights it never
intended to operate; according to the Santa Cruz district
attorney, the money has disappeared.

2. (U) An estimated 500 passengers remain camped out in Santa
Cruz’ international airport, angrily demanding refunds after
having abandoned hope of traveling to Spain before the April
1 imposition of new EU/Shengen visa requirements (reftel).
With just two days of visa-free travel remaining, many
Bolivians continue to hope for a last-minute miracle or,
failing that, to reach Spain via Brazil, Argentina, or
Venezuela. Demand for alternative routes has reportedly
driven up ticket prices, with tickets via Brazil and
Argentina selling for $2,000, up from approximately $1,400
normally.

3. (U) Bolivian Defense Minister Walker San Miguel,
meanwhile, defended the GOB’s March 26 decision to use
Bolivian Air Force-operated Transporte Aereo Militar (TAM)
aircraft to transport would-be Bolivian immigrants to Sao
Paolo to catch connecting flights to Europe. The minister
highlighted TAM’s successful completion of its first
international flight, accused domestic airlines of seeking a
"monopoly" over air travel, and said that while everyone
considered the TAM flight "something bad, in reality it was
providing a service" to Bolivians desperate to reach Spain.
According to press reports, TAM is not backing down; instead,
it is offering $390 tickets for a March 30 flight to Sao
Paolo, just in time to get to the EU before the April 1
deadline.

3. (SBU) Comment: As the sense of urgency intensifies, the
GOB is stepping up its assistance, facilitating rather than
trying to prevent the travel of thousands of illegal
immigrants — a spectacle that may only worsen as the April 1
cut-off approaches. End comment.
GOLDBERG