YOUR CONSULTATIONS WITH GOB MINISTERS ON BOLIVIA

Código Fecha Clasificación Origen
06BRASILIA36 5 January 2006 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 000036

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR WHA A/S SHANNON FROM CHARGE CHICOLA

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/04/2016
TAGS: PREL, BR, Bilateral Relations with the US
SUBJECT: YOUR CONSULTATIONS WITH GOB MINISTERS ON BOLIVIA

REF: BRASILIA 0024

Classified By: CHARGE PHILLIP CHICOLA. REASONS: 1.4(B)(D).

1. (C) We look forward to your visit on 10-11 January, and
senior GOB officials seem keen to discuss the situation in
Bolivia with you. Our requests for meetings with Foreign
Minister Celso Amorim, Presidency International Affairs
Advisor Marco Aurelio Garcia, Finance Minister Antonio
Palocci, Civil Household Minister Dilma Rousseff and
Institutional Security Cabinet Minister Jorge Armando Felix
were enthusiastically received and have been confirmed.
Reftel analyzes current Brazilian views of energy sector
investments in Bolivia, which you can discuss further with
Ministers Rousseff (who previously was Brazil’s mines and
energy minister) and Palocci. In your other meetings, you can
focus on the GOB’s outlook for what a Morales presidency
means for regional integration, political stability and law
enforcement. In particular, you can stress with all
interlocutors our concerns about a possible dramatic
expansion in cocaine production and export — concerns that
many GOB officials quietly share, given the already heavy
influx of Bolivian cocaine into Brazil.

2. (C) Presidential International Affairs Advisor Marco
Aurelio Garcia was in Bolivia during the elections, and has
been Lula’s envoy in earlier missions there. He has had
contact with a range of key Bolivian actors, including
Morales. In meetings late last year with Deputy Secretary
Zoellick and other USG officials, Garcia repeatedly
underscored Brazil’s primary concern that the elections be
seen as transparent and produce a clear winner, in order to
stave off an immediate period of instability and protests.
Now that such a result has been achieved, you can ask Garcia
for his perspective on Morales’ ability to govern, especially
with regard to managing pressures from his radical flank and
reaching out to Santa Cruz. Garcia is the most ideological
of Lula’s foreign policy advisors (Rousseff also has
pronounced leftist views), and is quite sympathetic to
political forces like those Morales represents. Hence it
will be interesting to press Garcia for explanations of
statements by Lula last year that appeared to welcome
Morales’ looming "populist" victory, and of how the GOB sees
itself now in relation to the "Axis of Evo" (Morales, Chavez,
Castro).

3. (C) In that context, it is interesting to note that both
Lula and Amorim made statements to a meeting of senior
Brazilian diplomats this week — widely reported in the press
here on 5 January — in which they claimed the GOB intends to
maintain "strong relations" with Venezuela, Bolivia and Cuba,
but does not intend to "abandon" or "contaminate" its good
bilateral relationship with Washington. Amorim stated that
Brazil had exercised an informal mediation role in the past
between Washington and Chavez, and wants to continue to be
helpful. He implied Brazil does not want to be perceived as
directly associated with a Bolivia-Venezuela-Cuba alliance:
"Brazil is Brazil. There is no reason to be worried..." he
affirmed. Such statements and the alacrity with which senior
ministers accepted requests for meetings with you suggest the
GOB is eager to reassure us. Your meeting with Amorim will
present an excellent opportunity to probe for how Brazil will
operationalize this independent "mediation" role, how
Itamaraty plans to coordinate with other agencies and
Petrobras in dealing with Morales’ "nationalization" agenda,
and preview the upcoming Morales inauguration (Lula
reportedly may attend), Lula’s meetings in coming weeks in
Brasilia with Morales (13 January) and with Chavez and
Kirchner (at a 19 January energy summit). We expect that you
will have 15 or 20 minutes with Amorim, immediately before or
just after an expanded discussion with Under Secretary for
South American Affairs Jose Eduardo Felicio. With U/S
Felicio, it may be worth highlighting the importance of
continued consultation between our missions in La Paz
(Brazil’s Ambassador there, Antonino Mena Goncalves, is a
seasoned and pro-U.S. diplomat who has regular contact with
our Ambassador).

4. (C) Finally, your meeting with Institutional Security
Cabinet Minister Felix offers a chance to discuss in detail
the grittier, real-world worries of Brazilian law enforcement
and intelligence services about the increased threats a
Morales presidency may bring in the arenas of
narcotrafficking and other cross-border criminal activities.
Bolivian cocaine products are a mainstay of low-cost drugs
consumed in Brazil and trafficked by Rio and Sao Paulo’s
violent gangs, and senior personnel in Felix’s GSI have
expressed deep concern to us and Washington visitors that
trends will worsen under Morales. Your meeting with Felix
(who recently returned from consultations in Washington on
counter-terrorism issues) is a venue for discussing bilateral
cooperation to deal with Bolivia-origin narcotrafficking and
present our initial assessments of where Morales is likely to
go in terms of regulating coca production and continuing to
work with us, the Brazilians and others on counternarcotics
programs.

CHICOLA