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Viewing cable 06BRASILIA36, YOUR CONSULTATIONS WITH GOB MINISTERS ON BOLIVIA REF: BRASILIA 0024

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06BRASILIA36 2006-01-05 18:06 2010-12-30 00:12 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Brasilia
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 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