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Viewing cable 07BUENOSAIRES2345, ARGENTINE FUROR CONTINUES OVER U.S. ALLEGATIONS

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07BUENOSAIRES2345 2007-12-14 19:07 2010-11-30 16:04 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Buenos Aires
VZCZCXYZ0002
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHBU #2345/01 3481907
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 141907Z DEC 07
FM AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 9909
INFO RUCNMER/MERCOSUR COLLECTIVE
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS 1623
RHMFISS/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHINGTON DC
RHMCSUU/FBI WASHINGTON DC
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC
C O N F I D E N T I A L BUENOS AIRES 002345

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/14/2017
TAGS: PREL SNAR CJAN ECON ASEC KJUS VE AR
SUBJECT: ARGENTINE FUROR CONTINUES OVER U.S. ALLEGATIONS
THAT VENEZUELAN MONEY WAS INTENDED FOR CRISTINA KIRCHNER

REF: (A) BUENOS AIRES 2336 (B) MCWHIRTER 12/14/07

E-MAIL TO DS COMMAND CENTER

Classified By: Ambassador Wayne for reasons 1.4 (b) & (d).

Summary
-------

1. (C) The GOA has repeatedly suspended Ministerial-level
contacts and has cut off some law enforcement contacts with
the USG in wake of the continuing furor (ref a) over DOJ
allegations that $800,000 intercepted August 4 by Argentine
officials was a BRV cash contribution for Cristina Kirchner's
(CFK) presidential campaign. The press reports that the GOA
is considering further responses, including the staging of a
massive protest in front of the Embassy which could involve
radical and sometimes violent groups. The Argentine Deputy
Foreign Minister advised the Ambassador that he would be
called in to the MFA on December 18. The Ambassador used a
previously scheduled holiday reception for more than 100
journalists to roll out Washington-cleared guidance
reinforcing the message that the recent arrests in Miami do
not constitute a U.S. conspiracy against the GOA and that the
United States wants a good relationship with Argentina. End
Summary.

GOA Ire Against USG Dominates Headlines
---------------------------------------

2. (SBU) Argentine media on December 14 continued to give
extensive coverage to the GOA's furious reaction (ref a) to
FBI allegations that $800,000 intercepted August 4 by
Argentine officials was a BRV cash contribution for Cristina
Kirchner's (CFK) presidential campaign. According to several
sources, CFK was very angry and upset, interpreting U.S.
arrests and charges as rejection of her overtures for better
relations, an attempt to destabilize
her new administration, and an effort to force her to
distance Argentina from Venezuela. Following the lead of
President Kirchner, her chief of staff and Justice Minister
-- whose remarks (ref a) were broadcast and re-broadcast
throughout the day and night -- a broad array of CFK's
congressional, gubernatorial, and mayoral allies have accused
the USG of slandering CFK and the GOA in premeditated fashion
in its effort to get Chavez.

3. (SBU) Opposition leader and presidential candidate Elisa
Carrio, who finished the October 28 polling in second place,
ridiculed the GOA's attempt to portray the arrests as part of
an anti-CFK conspiracy. "President Kirchner does not seem to
understand that the justice system in the U.S. is autonomous.
Thank God, (CFK) cannot stop the U.S. justice system. I am
happy that the Americans are investigating, because they're
the best guarantee (of an
impartial inestigation). Not even the U.S. president can
intervene." Leaders of other opposition parties questioned
CFK's ties to Caracas and criticized the GOA for having let
Antonini-Wilson leave the country before completing its own
investigation.

GOA Gives the USG the Silent Treatment
--------------------------------------

4. (SBU) The press is further reporting that cabinet
ministers have been instructed not to meet with the
Ambassador, and that all U.S. requests for high-level
meetings with GOA officials must be coordinated through the
MFA. We are also hearing from our law enforcement contacts
that they are being instructed by the GOA leadership to
minimize contacts with us. Several bilateral meetings were
cancelled under instruction on December 13. The Airport
Security Police told Embassy they had been instructed not to
meet with U.S. officials. On the afternoon of December 14,
the GOA ended more than 24 hours of shunning contacts with
the Embassy when Deputy Foreign Minister Garcia Moritan
called the Ambassador. He advised the Ambassador that he
should come to the MFA to meet Foreign Minister Taiana on the
evening of December 18. We anticipate this will entail a
protest and an explanation of the steps the GOA plans to
undertake.


GOA-Organized Anti-USG Protest in the Offing?
---------------------------------------------

5. (SBU) "La Nacion," the newspaper of record, and other
media have reported that CFK and her top advisers repeatedly
huddled Wednesday night and Thursday morning on how to deal
with "the worst moment of the bilateral relationship with the
United States" in the last four and a half years. According
to "La Nacion," "the Casa Rosada (presidential palace)
Thursday considered ordering mayors, social organizations,
and activists ("piqueteros") to organize a mass demonstration
of protest in front of the U.S. embassy." The article quotes
an unnamed official at Casa Rosada who said, "We have not
ruled it out. There is a great deal of anger with the United
States, but it has not yet been decided." (Mission ARSO sent
a report on this development and Mission counter-measures to
DS Command Center -- ref b.)

6. (SBU) The press reported remarks by WHA A/S Shannon that
the case was a law enforcement matter, not a political issue,
and that it should not be allowed to affect bilateral
relations. The press also quoted Department spokesman
McCormack on the strength of the bilateral relationship and
the independence of federal prosecutors, as well as similar
statements by the Embassy's spokesperson.

The Empire Strikes Back: Mission PD Response
---------------------------------------------

7. (U) The Ambassador used a previously scheduled holiday
reception for more than 100 print, radio, and TV journalists
December 14 to roll out Washington-cleared guidance on the
case. Several of the radio journalists used their cell
phones to transmit the Ambassador's words on the air through
their stations, and many rushed out after the Ambassador
concluded to call in stories. Several stories reporting on
the Ambassador's reception remarks have already hit the
wires. We expect that the Ambassador's remarks will dominate
Argentine headlines Saturday.

8. (U) We also gave the journalists recent quotes by
Assistant Secretary Shannon, Secretary Chao, Dana Perino, and
the Ambassador on the U.S.-Argentine relationship. We are
posting the Ambassador's remarks on the Mission's web page.

Comment
-------

9. (C) What began as a black day for the U.S. image in
Argentina -- with headlines filled with attacks by CFK and
others about our supposedly dark intentions -- is ending on a
more hopeful note, as the quick work by State, Justice, and
the FBI to review and clear our draft guidance on the issue
enabled us to get our story out to a captive group of
Argentine journalists. As the first week of the CFK
administration draws to a close, we have given pragmatists
within the GOA material to work with in their effort to
convince CFK to climb back from the precipice and re-engage
with the USG as she begins the second week of her
presidential term. We will see their reaction and response
in the days ahead.

WAYNE