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Viewing cable 06CARACAS1276, BRAZIL STILL INTERESTED IN TUCANO SALES, PROPOSES

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06CARACAS1276 2006-05-11 19:07 2010-12-05 12:12 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Caracas
VZCZCXRO1909
RR RUEHAG
DE RUEHCV #1276/01 1311924
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 111924Z MAY 06
FM AMEMBASSY CARACAS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 4443
INFO RUCNMEM/EU MEM COLLECTIVE
RUEHAC/AMEMBASSY ASUNCION 0650
RUEHBO/AMEMBASSY BOGOTA 6439
RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA 5455
RUEHBU/AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES 1203
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ 1984
RUEHPE/AMEMBASSY LIMA 0216
RUEHMU/AMEMBASSY MANAGUA 1200
RUEHME/AMEMBASSY MEXICO 3751
RUEHOT/AMEMBASSY OTTAWA 0706
RUEHZP/AMEMBASSY PANAMA 1076
RUEHQT/AMEMBASSY QUITO 2064
RUEHSJ/AMEMBASSY SAN JOSE 1197
RUEHSG/AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO 3503
RUEHDG/AMEMBASSY SANTO DOMINGO 0169
RUEHAO/AMCONSUL CURACAO 0798
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 0184
RUEHMI/USOFFICE FRC FT LAUDERDALE 3072
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RUMIAAA/HQ USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL
RUEHUB/USINT HAVANA 0701
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 CARACAS 001276 

SIPDIS 

SIPDIS 

HQOUTHCOM ALSO FOR POLAD 
FOR FRC LAMBERT 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/12/2016 
TAGS: ECON EPET PREL PTER BL BR IR VE UN CU
SUBJECT: BRAZIL STILL INTERESTED IN TUCANO SALES, PROPOSES 
TRADE 

REF: BRASILIA 882 AND PREVIOUS 

CARACAS 00001276 001.2 OF 003 


Classified By: AMBASSADOR WILLIAM R. BROWNFIELD FOR REASON 1.4 (b and d ) 

1. Actions requested - see para 12. 

Summary 
------- 

2. (C) Brazilian Ambassador Joao Carlos da Sousa Gomes, 
acting on instructions, proposed that we trade licensing for 
U.S. components in the Tucano aircraft for Brazilian support 
for Sumate with the BRV. That sounds like a bad trade to us, 
but we asked whether GOB would be willing to discuss help 
regarding the BRV's push for a non-permanent UNSC seat. Da 
Sousa Gomes said the Bolivarians were unhappy with Brazilian 
FM Amorim's criticism of the BRV role in the nationalization 
of the Bolivian hydrocarbon industry, resulting in a call 
from a nervous FM Rodriguez demanding a "retraction." The 
Brazilian made clear that despite this rough patch, Brasilia 
had a lasting interest in maintaining good relations with 
Caracas. Da Sousa Gomes, in the mood to chat, also shared 
the details of a "chilling" conversation he had had with 
Iranian Ambassador Sobhani, who was apparently unconcerned 
about the prospects of a broader conflict over the nuclear 
impasse. Finally, da Sousa Gomes told us of a recent talk 
with Cuban Ambassador Sanchez, who attacked Sumate and 
related details of the carnal activities of fellow 
ambassadors. We leave to the Department whether to consider 
an approach on the UNSC, as well as whether to offer the GOB 
a briefing on Iranian support for terrorism in the 
hemisphere. End summary. 

Tucanos for Sumate 
------------------ 

3. (C) Ambassador and DCM met with Brazilian Ambassador 
Joao Carlos da Sousa Gomes on May 10 at his request to 
discuss a number of issues. Da Sousa Gomes was principally 
interested in proposing a "deal" to permit licensing of U.S. 
components of Tucano aircraft to Venezuela. Stating that his 
message came direct from Brazilian FM Amorim, he said that 
Brazil was still deeply interested in selling the Tucanos to 
the BRV. He argued that permitting the sale would give the 
GOB the ability to influence the BRV; taken the other way, 
the inability to complete the sale undercut Brazil's 
moderating influence in Caracas. Admitting that this was a 
"difficult issue for USG," da Sousa Gomes said he was 
authorized to propose a trade: the United States gives on 
the Tucanos, and GOB takes a more proactive stance with the 
BRV on Sumate. Da Sousa Gomes said this help would be 
particularly useful now, because he believed another BRV 
assault on Sumate was likely in the near future. 

4. (C) The Ambassador replied that he could not speak to 
the Tucanos; that was a decision made in Washington. Having 
said that, he noted the proposed Brazilian action on Sumate 
was symbolic, whereas the Tucanos were real. It would be 
difficult to sell such a linkage to Washington. On the other 
hand, there was one very concrete issue that Brazil could be 
helpful on: Venezuela's bid for a non-permanent seat on the 
UNSC. While he emphasized he was not speaking on 
instructions, the Ambassador said that such a linkage would 
be more concrete and, therefore, perhaps compelling to the 
USG. Da Sousa Gomes was skeptical, noting that the BRV's 
early commitment to permanent seat for Brazil on UNSC made it 

CARACAS 00001276 002.2 OF 003 


difficult for the GOB to fail to back the BRV for a temporary 
seat. 

5. (C) The Ambassador delved further. GRULAC is obviously 
split over the issue of its candidate for the nonpermanent 
seat. If pushed by a large, influential nation interested in 
ensuring consensus, the GRULAC might find a candidate other 
than Venezuela who might receive consensus support. He 
concluded this part of the discussion by indicating that he 
doubted that Washington would reopen Tucano decision, but 
might be more inclined to do so if it were part of a package 
to solve our mutual problem of the BRV's candidacy for a 
non-permanent UNSC seat. 

Brazilian Push-back Touches Bolivarian Nerve 
-------------------------------------------- 

6. (C) We began the conversation discussing the news of the 
day, FM Amorim's strong push-back against the BRV for its 
role in the nationalization of the Bolivian gas industry. Da 
Sousa Gomes made a number of observations about the GOB's 
views that were identical to those already reported by 
Embassy Brasilia (refs). He took credit for the idea of 
Amorim's strong words, saying he'd argued that the BRV 
respected a government that stood up for itself. That said, 
da Sousa Gomes said that Brasilia had no interest in 
provoking a further crisis over this matter. Venezuela was a 
neighbor, and they needed to find ways to get along. 

7. (C) The Brazilian ambassador said that the BRV was 
stirred up by Amorim's words. BRV FM Ali Rodriguez called 
him even before Amorim had finished speaking to demand a 
"retraction." da Sousa Gomes told him that was impossible, 
so a flustered Rodriguez insisted on speaking with Amorim 
directly, to make the same points. He got no satisfaction in 
that call. According to da Sousa Gomes, President Chavez 
himself called Brasilia, seeking to speak with President 
Lula, but Lula did not take the call. (Note: Both 
presidents will be at the EU-Latin America summit, so Chavez 
will doubtless corner Lula, there if not before.) 

Iran 
---- 

8. (C) da Sousa Gomes then turned to a recent conversation 
he had with Iranian Ambassador Ahmad Sobhani. According to 
da Sousa Gomes, Sobhani told him that there was a great deal 
of misinformation about Iran's activities in Venezuela. 
There was no collaboration on nuclear matters, and Sobhani 
derided Venezuela's tiny nuclear research program as 
unserious. Sobhani said that the stories about a uranium 
mining operation were also untrue. When the Brazilian 
queried about the impasse in the IAEA and now the UN on the 
Iranian nuclear program, Sobhani said that Iran had a problem 
with the United States and "all of Europe" on this issue, and 
would not back down. The ability to run its own peaceful 
nuclear program was a point of principle for Iran. Da Sousa 
Gomes said that he came away from the conversation chilled by 
the Iranian's unconcern over the prospect that his 
government's actions might provoke a broader conflict. The 
Brazilian offered to give us a written summary of his report 
to Brasilia for our information. 

9. (C) The Ambassador was grateful for the information, and 
underlined our strong concerns about Iran-Venezuela links. 
Our concerns focused in three separate areas. First, on the 
nuclear front, for reasons well known to all. Second, the 

CARACAS 00001276 003 OF 003 


United States is increasingly concerned that Iranian 
know-how, both technical and in terms of avoiding U.S. 
prohibitions on the sale of military parts to Iran, would 
help the BRV evade any limitations on the sale of military 
parts to the BRV. Finally, and most importantly, we are 
concerned about terrorism. Iran has a well-known link with 
Hezbollah, a deadly terrorist organization. The Iranian 
government has pledged to attack the U.S. homeland if 
attacked. We are worried that an Iranian-supported Hezbollah 
or other terrorist presence in Venezuela could represent a 
threat to the United States. Da Sousa Gomes clearly had not 
thought this last issue through, and asked if we could 
provide additional information. The Ambassador agreed to 
look into the matter, noting that obviously any such 
discussions would occur in Brasilia or Washington. 

Cuba 
---- 

10. (C) Finally, the chatty da Sousa Gomes gave us his 
readout on a recent lunch with Cuban Ambassador German 
Sanchez Otero. (Note: Da Sousa Gomes said that he could 
attest to the long-serving (over 11 years in Caracas) 
Sanchez' close ties to Cuban dictator Fidel Castro; the old 
rascal called Sanchez three times during the course of the 
lunch!) According to da Sousa Gomes, Sanchez is totally 
plugged in to the Bolivarian government, relating in a 
detailed fashion the inner workings of various ministries. 
Sanchez also eagerly discussed Venezuelan internal political 
developments, focusing of course on the upcoming presidential 
elections. Sanchez had nice things to say about left-wing 
candidate Teodoro Petkoff, at least at a personal level; da 
Sousa Gomes noted that he's heard similar expressions of 
personal affection for Petkoff from Bolivarian officials. 

11. (C) da Sousa Gomes was particularly struck by two 
elements of his conversation with Sanchez: first, a deep 
hatred for Sumate, which Sanchez claimed was a subversive 
organization funded by the CIA which had to be stopped. (da 
Sousa Gomes' earlier warning that the BRV might have planned 
a fresh assault on Sumate (para 3) may have in part been 
informed by Sanchez harsh words for the NGO). Second, 
Sanchez delighted in relating the prurient details of the 
personal lives of other ambassadors accredited here. Da 
Sousa Gomes added that he believed that some ambassadors 
actually submitted written reports to the BRV on the 
peccadilloes of their fellow ambassadors. 

12. (C) Actions requested: 

-- Tucano trade: We oppose reconsidering the Tucano decision 
for a promise to be proactive on Sumate. It is the 
Department's call whether to pursue a possible Tucano-UNSC 
connection. 

-- Briefing to the GOB on Iran: da Sousa Gomes seemed 
genuinely taken aback by the notion that an Iranian 
diplomatic presence might support Hezbollah or another FTO in 
the Western Hemisphere. Washington and Embassy Brasilia may 
want to consider a detailed briefing on this matter to 
relevant GOB officials. 

BROWNFIELD