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courage is contagious

Viewing cable 06LAPAZ886, EVO AND HIS ADVISORY CIRCLE (PART 1 OF 3)

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06LAPAZ886 2006-03-30 16:04 2010-12-03 21:09 SECRET Embassy La Paz
VZCZCXRO7448
PP RUEHLMC
DE RUEHLP #0886/01 0891647
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
P 301647Z MAR 06
FM AMEMBASSY LA PAZ
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8662
INFO RUEHAC/AMEMBASSY ASUNCION 5737
RUEHBO/AMEMBASSY BOGOTA 3015
RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA 6887
RUEHBU/AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES 4124
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS 1437
RUEHPE/AMEMBASSY LIMA 1377
RUEHMN/AMEMBASSY MONTEVIDEO 3691
RUEHQT/AMEMBASSY QUITO 4079
RUEHSG/AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO 8611
RHMFISS/HQ USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL
RUMIAAA/USCINCSO MIAMI FL
RUEHLMC/MILLENNIUM CHALLENGE CORP
RHEBAAA/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHINGTON DC
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHINGTON DC
S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 LA PAZ 000886 

SIPDIS 

SIPDIS 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/17/2016 
TAGS: ECON PGOV PREL BL PINR
SUBJECT: EVO AND HIS ADVISORY CIRCLE (PART 1 OF 3) 


Classified By: Amb. David N. Greenlee for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d). 

1. (C) Summary: President Morales is an astute domestic 
political operator but lacks confidence in his economic and 
international relations abilities. As a result, Morales has 
surrounded himself with three compartmented groups of 
advisers. The first are domestic political operators who 
implement his political vision and serve as the attack dogs 
for the President. The second group are Bolivian 
intellectuals that help shore up his decisionmaking in 
economics, intelligence and security, and international 
relations, and implement policies on the ground, including 
the Cuban doctors program, Venezuelan identification program, 
and Bolivian land reform. The third group is his Cuban and 
Venezuelan advisers, who seem to have growing influence with 
the President, trumping even his intellectual advisers. This 
cable is part one of three cables that looks at the 
President, who is in his circle of domestic advisers, and how 
he uses them, and their competition with the Cubans and 
Venezuelans for the President's confidence. End summary. 

-------------------------------------- 
Evo: The seasoned Bolivian politician 
-------------------------------------- 

2. (C) Radical cocalero union leader turned President Evo 
Morales Ayma is a pragmatic leader whose domestic political 
instincts are extraordinarily acute. Morales is an expert at 
spinning stories in his favor, co-opting the platforms of his 
adversaries, dividing his opposition, and appealing to his 
bases. A leader with strong anti-democratic tendencies, over 
the years he has been known to bribe, threaten, and even 
physically intimidate anyone who has stood in his way, 
including government officials, politicians, and cocalero 
colleagues. He has shown great tactical flexibility and an 
ability to out maneuver even his most formidable political 
opponents to consolidate his own political power. Morales 
has developed a reputation for consulting advisers and social 
groups on domestic political issues, but is confident that he 
is the expert, the advisor and the final decision maker for 
those issues. (Comment: This is particularly true on the 
coca issue.) His cadre of domestic political advisers 
(SEPTEL), which include Senate President Santos Ramirez, 
lower chamber President Edmundo Novillo, his personal 
assistant Ivan Iporre, and Vice Minister of Government 
Coordination and personal attorney Hector Arce, tends to 
operate more as "yes men" who carry out the President's 
orders than as advisers with real influence on the 
President,s decisions. 

---------------------------- 
Evo: The struggling student 
---------------------------- 

3. (C) While Morales excels at domestic political 
machinations, he is more like a struggling student in the 
areas of economics and international relations 
decisionmaking. A man who likes to be in control, Morales 
has shown an eagerness for learning what he needs to make his 
own decisions in these areas. He has sought out intellectual 
"experts," primarily from Bolivia,s public universities, to 
provide him tutoring in the areas he lacks. Morales often 
tunes out detailed economic discussions with foreign 
officials and will at times defer to his "experts" when 
speaking to the press, large groups, and even US officials on 
issues he is uncertain about. His domestic intellectual 
advisers (SEPTEL), who include Vice President Alvaro Garcia 
Linera, Minister of the Presidency Juan Ramon Quintana, and 
Minister of Planning Carlos Villegas, are largely leftist 
ideologues and have tended to have more influence with the 
President compared to his domestic political advisers because 
of his difficulty grasping complex economic theories and lack 
of experience in the international arena. Unfortunately, 
some of this advice borrows from a storehouse of discredited 
ideas and fantasyland assumptions. 

------------------------------------------ 

LA PAZ 00000886 002 OF 002 


Evo: The Cuban and Venezuelan conspirator 
------------------------------------------ 

4. (S//NF) The third group is a pandora's box of Cuban and 
Venezuelan advisers, who may have growing influence with the 
President. While we do not know the extent of their 
presence, sensitive reporting indicates that Morales meets 
privately with his foreign advisers multiple times a week 
without any domestic advisers present. The same reporting 
also indicates that he receives both political and economic 
advice from the Cubans. Morales is implementing several 
programs initiated by the Cubans and Venezuelans in the areas 
of education, health, and citizen registration. Several of 
the President's domestic advisers are working hand in hand 
with the Cubans and Venezuelans, seeking to replace US 
markets with Venezuelan trade deals, and sensitive reporting 
says that they are regularly traveling to Cuba for political 
training. 

5. (C) Comment: Morales has had a roller-coaster 
relationship with several of his key domestic advisers, 
especially Vice President Garcia Linera. He is highly 
suspicious by nature and is unlikely to tolerate advisers 
with their own agenda for power and recognition. Morales 
likely sees the Cuban and Venezuelan advisers as 
non-threatening to his domestic power. In addition, as an 
admirer of Cuban President Fidel Castro and Venezuelan 
President Hugo Chavez, Morales probably is drawn by the 
longevity of their time in power and seeks to emulate their 
"success." If Morales grows wary of his domestic advisers he 
is likely to rely more heavily on his foreign advisers to 
carry out his vision. End comment. 
GREENLEE