AMBASSADOR’S MEETING WITH PRESIDENTIAL ENVOY MARCOS AURELIO GARCIA, 24 JANUARY 2005

Código Fecha Clasificación Origen
05BRASILIA233 26 January 2005 Confidencial Embassy Brasilia

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This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 BRASILIA 000233

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/26/2015
TAGS: PREL, BR, External Relations
SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR’S MEETING WITH PRESIDENTIAL ENVOY
MARCOS AURELIO GARCIA, 24 JANUARY 2005

REF: A. BRASILIA 210

B. STATE 11483
C. LA PAZ 193 AND 194

Classified By: AMBASSADOR JOHN J. DANILOVICH. REASONS: 1.4(B)(D).

1. (C) Ambassador, accompanied by PolCounselor, met on 24
January with Marcos Aurelio Garcia, Senior Foreign Affairs
Advisor to President Lula da Silva. Garcia had just returned
from a weekend meeting in Caracas with President Chavez and
provided a briefing on Brazil’s efforts to facilitate a
resolution to the dispute between Venezuela and Colombia
following the rendition to Colombia from Venezuela of a
senior FARC official.

2. (C) Garcia said Lula’s conversations with Presidents Uribe
and Chavez last week (ref A) had been positive and the GOB
believes both sides want a resolution. Garcia met on
Saturday, 22 January in Caracas with President Chavez (a
meeting previously scheduled to advance Lula’s February
official visit). Garcia said that he, speaking for Lula, had
suggested "rather insistently" that both sides needed to
lower the tone at once. Chavez seemed receptive and, in
Garcia’s presence, made a phone call directing the leaders of
a demonstration planned for that weekend to avoid passing in
front of the Colombian embassy (Note: We have no further
information on this. End note.) Chavez told Garcia that he
does not want to aggravate the crisis, saying a lack of
progress in resolving the dispute will result in continued
cool relations, but not in a deterioration beyond that.

3. (C) Garcia said the GOB has told both sides that they need
to work toward "common language" for a communique or
statement that will serve as the basis for a face-saving
closure to the dispute. The GOB is prepared to serve as the
communication channel and informal facilitator to work out
that language, although Garcia said the GOB will not draft
texts itself for the two sides to consider. Progress toward
the common statement needs to occur in the next 10 to 15
days, in the GOB’s view, and it is paramount that there be no
new incidents that exacerbate tensions between the countries,
Garcia said. Once a common statement is agreed, the next
step probably should be a meeting between the presidents,
Garcia said.

4. (C) Ambassador noted Brazilian news stories suggesting
that a USG paper sent on 19 January to the GOB regarding the
crisis and supporting Peru’s mediation was a criticism of
Brazil’s efforts. He said the articles were unfounded, that
the nonpaper reflected general points made to a number of
capitals early last week, and that Brazil’s efforts are
welcome. Garcia dismissed the news reports as erroneous and
irrelevant, and indicated he had taken pains to say as much
to the media. He claimed not to know when or how the
journalist who instigated the story had received access to
the U.S. paper. The GOB welcomes Peru’s efforts as well,
Garcia said, and noted also that both President Lagos of
Chile and President Zapatero of Spain (who visited Brasilia
on 24 January) had indicated to the GOB their desire to help
resolve the dispute.

5. (C) Ambassador asked Garcia for his views of Chavez’s
relationship with opposition leader Evo Morales in Bolivia,
and for his assessment of the situation there. Garcia (who
has traveled to Bolivia as Lula’s envoy) said the GOB is
deeply concerned that political dialogue seems to have
degenerated to "high-stakes bluffing" and that the country is
floating along on this "stream of radical discourse." The
GOB will continue to try to positively influence Morales and
opposition figures toward staying on the democratic path,
Garcia said. Garcia added he does not believe there is
particularly strong connection between Morales and Chavez,
claiming that Chavez had said to Garcia in the recent past
that "Evo is crazy" for his insistence on heavy taxation on
hydro-carbon operations.

6. (C) Comment. Per above and ref a, the GOB is confident
that this dispute can be managed and that both sides want a
resolution. Brazil is well-positioned to play a facilitator
role and seems committed to doing so in a focused if informal
way. We will stay in touch this week with Garcia’s deputy,
Marcel Biato, to monitor possible further GOB contacts on the
issue with Chavez, who will be speaking at the Porto Alegre
Social Forum on 30 January (Lula speaks on 27 January).
Garcia has met several times with Chavez, and would appear to
have established some degree of rapport, so we hope his
optimistic assessment of Chavez’s willingness to lower the
tone of his rhetoric on Colombia will be borne out,
especially when Chavez ascends to the pulpit this week in
Porto Alegre. We also find Garcia’s assertion that there is
little meaningful connection between Chavez and Morales to be
a curious one, in light of rather different assessments by
informed observers, including Brazil’s own diplomats in La
Paz (ref C).

DANILOVICH