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Viewing cable 08SANTIAGO118, NEW INTERIOR MINISTER SEEKS HELP ON INDIGENOUS

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08SANTIAGO118 2008-02-07 11:11 2010-12-13 21:09 SECRET Embassy Santiago
VZCZCXYZ0000
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHSG #0118/01 0381107
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
P 071107Z FEB 08
FM AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2744
INFO RUEHAC/AMEMBASSY ASUNCION 3320
RUEHBO/AMEMBASSY BOGOTA 1940
RUEHBU/AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES 0791
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS 1666
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ FEB LIMA 5448
RUEHMD/AMEMBASSY MADRID 0923
RUEHQT/AMEMBASSY QUITO 1806
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RUEAHLC/HOMELAND SECURITY CENTER WASHINGTON DC
RUEAWJA/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHINGTON DC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC
RHMCSUU/FBI WASHINGTON DC
RHMFISS/HQ USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
S E C R E T SANTIAGO 000118

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/05/2018
TAGS: PGOV PINR PREL PTER SOCI CI
SUBJECT: NEW INTERIOR MINISTER SEEKS HELP ON INDIGENOUS
ISSUE WHILE CONTINUING CLOSE COORDINATION WITH USG ON
SECURITY MATTERS, INCLUDING VENEZUELA

REF: A. A) SANTIAGO 00098
B. B) SANTIAGO 00015
C. C) SANTIAGO 00021

Classified By: E/Pol Counselor Juan A. Alsace for reasons 1.5 (b & d).

-------
Summary
-------

1. (S) Interior Minister Perez Yoma told the Ambassador
February 6 that he is concerned about the potential
radicalization of Chile's indigenous population, including
funding from foreign terrorist groups and/or Venezuela. The
GOC would like to draw on U.S. experience in addressing
indigenous issues. Perez Yoma said U.S.-Chile cooperation on
security matters is excellent but would like his Ministry to
serve as a central clearinghouse for coordination between the
various USG and GOC agencies, including training and
information sharing. End summary.

2. (U) Ambassador Simons paid a courtesy call February 6 on
new Minister of Interior Edmundo Perez Yoma, who took office
January 6, as part of President Bachelet's third cabinet
change (ref C). The Ambassador was accompanied by E/Pol
Counselor, RAO Chief, Legatt, and Acting DEA Chief.

-------------
I'm In Charge
-------------

3. (C) After exchange of pleasantries - Perez Yoma was
curious about the previous day's U.S. "Super Tuesday"
electoral results and appreciated the Ambassador's readout -
the Minister agreed with Ambassador's assessment that the
bilateral security relationship is excellent. He preferred,
however, to have his Ministry "more fully informed"
concerning the nature and scope of programs offered to
Chilean police and security organs by individual USG
agencies. Perez Yoma stressed he did not seek to impede
direct contacts between USG agencies and the national police
(Carabineros) or investigative police (Policia de
Investigaciones de Chile), both of which fall under
Interior's operative and administrative control, but that top
levels of Interior should be apprised to better ensure GOC
coordination. The Carabineros, for example, will sometimes
"act independently," Perez Yoma said, implying that if
Interior has a global view of USG programming with the
Carabineros and other GOC security organs, he would be better
able to ensure all are working from the same page. He
suggested he and the Ambassador talk regularly; "our
objectives are 100 percent the same as yours." The
Ambassador agreed, adding that USG training programs,
coordination with GOC security organs, and sharing of
information are both effective and purposefully low-key.

--------------------------------------
Indigenous Radicals Funded Externally?
--------------------------------------

4. (S) As had Secretariat General of the Presidency Minister
Viera-Gallo the week before (ref A), Perez Yoma raised with
the Ambassador GOC concern with the "Mapuche issue," Chile's
largest indigenous group and one that has over the past
several months seemingly taken a turn to radical and
sometimes violent action (ref B). While intelligence is
unclear, funding of the Mapuche by the FARC "and Chavez" is
possible although, he noted, he wasn't sure some of the
monies aren't being funneled off to other activities since
Mapuche radicals remain "weak and disorganized." Potential
Mapuche ties to ETA are also possible. "I would like," he
said, "your help in following the money." RAO Chief noted
his agency is working with Chilean colleagues to identify
FARC and ETA actors outside Chile who might have potential
links to Mapuche radicals. Legatt added that the FBI is


coordinating with the Carabineros to assist in identification
and potential prosecution of actors within Chile.

5. (C) Perez Yoma said he would appreciate drawing on the
broader experience of USG experts on indigenous issues.
E/Pol Counselor replied the Embassy is currently coordinating
internally on how to best provide assistance to the GOC.
Besides intelligence sharing, we are considering how to use
public diplomacy assets. The U.S. has experience at both
national and state levels on the integration of indigenous
peoples into the broader U.S. society. We want to identify
and share with the GOC what has and hasn't worked for us.
Perez Yoma suggested the Embassy work closely with Deputy
Secretary Felipe Harboe on this issue. (Note: Embassy has

SIPDIS
an excellent working relationship with Harboe on other law
enforcement issues.)

-------
Comment
-------

6. (C) Perez Yoma was reportedly brought on as seasoned
political operator intended to bring discipline and focus to
Bachelet's sometimes unruly administration. As Interior
Minister he directs cabinet meetings when Bachelet is not
present; press reports suggest he used his first meeting to
hammer home the message he is in charge. He was all business
in this initial call and very clearly concerned that the
Mapuche issue has the potential to underscore Bachelet's
perceived weakness on public security, an issue that falls
squarely within his bailiwick. End comment.
SIMONS