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Viewing cable 06LAPAZ906, THE ROLE EVO'S "INTELLECTUALS" PLAY (PART 2 OF 3)

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06LAPAZ906 2006-03-31 13:01 2010-12-03 21:09 SECRET Embassy La Paz
VZCZCXRO8861
PP RUEHLMC
DE RUEHLP #0906/01 0901326
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
P 311326Z MAR 06
FM AMEMBASSY LA PAZ
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8688
INFO RUEHAC/AMEMBASSY ASUNCION 5747
RUEHBO/AMEMBASSY BOGOTA 3025
RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA 6897
RUEHBU/AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES 4134
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS 1447
RUEHPE/AMEMBASSY LIMA 1390
RUEHMN/AMEMBASSY MONTEVIDEO 3701
RUEHQT/AMEMBASSY QUITO 4087
RUEHSG/AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO 8623
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 03 LA PAZ 000906 

SIPDIS 

SIPDIS 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/17/2016 
TAGS: ECON PGOV PREL BL PINR
SUBJECT: THE ROLE EVO'S "INTELLECTUALS" PLAY (PART 2 OF 3) 

REF: A. LA PAZ 00691 

B. LA PAZ 00600 
C. LA PAZ 00406 

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

1. (C) Summary: President Evo Morales' circle of Bolivian 
intellectual advisers occupies half of the President's 
Cabinet, including the top three positions: the Vice 
President, the Minister of the Presidency, and the Minister 
of Sustainable Development and Planning. While the 
intellectuals have more influence over the President than his 
domestic political advisers, they also compete with Cuban and 
Venezuelan advisers for Morales' confidence. The second tier 
of intellectual advisers is critical for implementing the 
government's policies, including the Cuban-sponsored 
education program, negotiating new contracts with 
international hydrocarbons companies, and carrying out land 
reform. This cable is part two in a three-part series on how 
Morales has structured his advisory system. End summary. 

-------------------------------------------- 
First Tier of Bolivian Intellectual Advisers 
-------------------------------------------- 

2. (C) The first tier of President Evo Morales' domestic 
intellectual advisers is headed by Vice President Alvaro 
Garcia Linera, followed by Minister of the Presidency Juan 
Ramon Quintana and Minister of Planning Carlos Villegas. All 
three were professors at the Greater University of San Andres 
(UMSA) before joining the Morales administration. Morales' 
intellectual advisers have more sway with the President than 
do his domestic political advisers (SEPTEL), but they also 
compete with Cuban and Venezuelan consultants for Morales' 
confidence. They have pursued their own agenda at times, 
which has angered the President in the past and could push 
him to rely more on his foreign advisers if these practices 
continue. 

-------------------- 
Alvaro Garcia Linera 
-------------------- 

3. (C) Vice President Alvaro Garcia Linera is the gatekeeper 
for Bolivian advisers and moderates and adds intellectual 
spin to the President's vision. Nonetheless, Garcia Linera 
is a committed, even devout ideologue and in the past has 
criticized Morales' lack of discipline to leftist ideals 
(NFI). At odds with Morales on several occasions, including 
disagreeing over Cabinet picks, the Vice President has 
struggled to find his niche in the Morales administration and 
may have found it as the MAS go-to-person for the Constituent 
Assembly. 

4. (C) Garcia Linera, ambitious in his own right, was the 
puivotal political orchestrator of the Constituent Assembly 
(CA) process. Garcia Linera, who views the CA as the 
ultimate forum for reforming the state, is working to build 
his reputation as the expert on the issue. He was a gifted 
negotiator during the congressional debate over the convoking 
CA legislation. Embassy contacts say that he was key in 
talking down radical proposals offered by the MAS and 
opposition members, and in forging the final consensus. They 
also note that he had impressive patience and focus during 
the highly charged negotiations. (Comment: Some observers 
say that Garcia Linera has presisdential aspirations; if so, 
recent precedents suggest that the vice presidency is a good 
place to be. It also suggests that he may be competing with 
Morales for public support. End comment.) 

5. (C) A sharp intellectual steeped in largely discredited 
political, philosophical, and economic theory, Garcia Linera 
appears to see Bolivia through the prism of the French 
revolution. In a recent press interview, he said that he 
sees himself as the last Jacobin and Evo as Robbespierre. 
(Comment: The Jacobins and Robbespierre were notorious for 
their reign of terror. They arrested and executed political 

LA PAZ 00000906 002 OF 003 


adversaries and allies alike and ultimately met their demise 
from the same instrument used to execute the opposition: the 
guillotine. To extend the analogy, many pundits have argued 
that Morales may meet his own demise at the hands of 
protestors, just as he was a force during protests to oust 
Presidents Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada and Carlos Mesa. End 
comment.) 

------------------- 
Juan Ramon Quintana 
------------------- 

6. (C) Embassy contacts have said that Minister of the 
Presidency Juan Ramon Quintana is responsible for 
intelligence and military issues, and for coordinating 
Venezuelan and Cuban support. Garcia Linera brought Quintana 
into his position. 

7. (S//NF) Quintana is a disgruntled former military officer 
who was fired from his position in the Ministry of Defense in 
2000 during the Banzer regime. He long suspected that the US 
was behind his firing, a suspicion that has some merit, and 
became stridently anti-U.S. as a result. Quintana, upon 
assuming his current duties, was responsible for the recent 
removal of 29 flag-rank members of the armed forces, most of 
whom were cooperating with the United States. The Minister 
also has been seeking out other officers who have had contact 
with U.S. officials, probably with the intent to fire them. 

8. (S//NF) Quintana's disdain for the United States is so 
deep that he withheld from Morales sensitive information 
passed to him by U.S. intelligence agencies to prevent the 
President from knowing that the Americans were helping him. 
The already suspicious Morales is aware that Quintana 
withheld information, and sensitive reporting indicates that 
he is monitoring the Minister. Morales may choose to 
sideline the Minister if the behavior continues. Sensitive 
reporting also indicates that Quintana has had other problems 
with Morales for paying more attention to getting jobs for 
his friends than focusing on his substantive duties, 
something that could further aggravate the relationship. 

--------------- 
Carlos Villegas 
--------------- 

9. (C) Minister of Planning Carlos Villegas oversees all 
economic coordination and decisionmaking. The Minister of 
Finance reports to Villegas, and not to Morales. Villegas, 
an economics professor from UMSA, is steeped in out-dated 
socialist economic theories and has yet to accept the 
practical realities of a globalized economy. (REF C) 

10. (C) While Villegas may be beginning to understand the 
real impact of free trade on job creation, he appears to 
believe that markets in Venezuela and China serve as 
alternatives to U.S. markets. He has told Bolivian exporters 
to seek markets outside the United States, unconvinced that 
the U.S. is crucial to their trade (REF B). He recently 
returned from Venezuela after negotiating an agreement for 
Venezuela to buy Bolivian soy. Additionally, he has 
regularly antagonized other businesses, telling them that the 
President's Dignity Tariff, a new lower price mean to provide 
cheap electricity to Bolivians is a done deal, remarking that 
the private sector should either get on board or suffer. 
(REF A). 

--------------------------------------------- ------------ 
Second Tier of Bolivian Intellectuals Implementing Policy 
--------------------------------------------- ------------ 

11. (C) The second tier of intellectual advisers includes 
Minister of Hydrocarbons Andres Soliz Rada, Minister of 
Agriculture Hugo Salvatierra, Minister of Education Feliz 
Patzi, Minister of Finance Luis Arce Catacora, and the palace 
spokesman Alex Contreras. They appear to take instructions 
from the top tier and from Morales himself. At times they 

LA PAZ 00000906 003 OF 003 


appear more like political "operators" (SEPTEL) doing the 
President's bidding. In contrast to the political operators, 
however, the second tier of intellectuals does not tend to 
engage in strong-arming or undermining the opposition. They 
appear to focus almost exclusively on implementing 
policy--including coordinating the Cuban doctors program and 
pursuing land reform. (Comment: Soliz, Salvatierra, and 
Patzi are all associated with UMSA.) 

-------------------------------- 
And then there's FM Choquehuanca 
-------------------------------- 

12. (C) While Foreign Minister David Choquehuanca Cespedes is 
considered one of Morales' most prominent intellectuals after 
Garcia Linera and Villegas, he is more of a figurehead who 
represents the indigenous face of Bolivia. He appears to be 
mostly hot air with no real substantive advisory role in 
traditional foreign policy issues, except for possibly 
maintaining contacts with European NGOs. An overly eccentric 
official, who an Embassy adviser says has a sulfuric 
relationship with most people, Choquehuanca's curious 
statements about his ancestors living for over 200 years and 
replacing milk with coca in a school nutrition program have 
drawn criticisms. Morales' largely discredited arch-nemesis 
Felipe Quispe Huanca has been a vocal supporter of the 
Minister, which only adds to Choquehuanca's trivial role. 
Indeed, Choquehuanca appears to have been only marginally 
involved in Bolivia's key foreign policy issues to date. 
GREENLEE