US embassy cable - 99CARACAS3882

CHAVEZ TO RUN AFTER ALL

Identifier: 99CARACAS3882
Wikileaks: View 99CARACAS3882 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Caracas
Created: 1999-11-22 17:19:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Tags: PGOV PREL VE
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
P 221719Z NOV 99
FM AMEMBASSY CARACAS
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6348
INFO NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
DIA WASHDC PRIORITY
CIA WASHDC PRIORITY
USCINCSO MIAMI FL
AMEMBASSY BOGOTA 
AMEMBASSY BRASILIA 
AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES 
AMEMBASSY GEORGETOWN 
AMEMBASSY LIMA 
AMEMBASSY MEXICO 
AMEMBASSY MONTEVIDEO 
AMEMBASSY PARAMARIBO 
AMEMBASSY PORT OF SPAIN 
AMEMBASSY LA PAZ 
AMEMBASSY QUITO 
AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO 
AMEMBASSY TEGUCIGALPA 
AMEMBASSY GUATEMALA 
AMEMBASSY SAN SALVADOR 
AMEMBASSY SAN JOSE 
AMEMBASSY PANAMA 
AMEMBASSY MANAGUA 
AMEMBASSY MADRID 
C O N F I D E N T I A L CARACAS 003882 
 
USCINCSO ALSO FOR POLAD 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/22/09 
TAGS: PGOV, PREL, VE 
SUBJECT: CHAVEZ TO RUN AFTER ALL 
 
CLASSIFIED BY JOHN F. MAISTO, AMBASSADOR.  REASON 1.5 (D) 
 
1. (U) SUMMARY: CHAVEZ HAS SAID HE WILL STAND FOR REELECTION. 
THE DECEMBER 15 REFERENDUM WILL ONLY CONTAIN ONE QUESTION: ON 
THE APPROVING OR NOT APPROVING THE NEW CONSTITUTION.  END 
SUMMARY. 
 
2. (U) REVERSING A POSITION HE HAD PUBLICLY REAFFIRMED EARLIER 
THE SAME DAY, PRESIDENT CHAVEZ ANNOUNCED NOVEMBER 19 THAT HE 
WOULD RUN IN THE GENERAL ELECTIONS TO BE HELD SOME TIME THIS 
SPRING.  DURING HIS CAMPAIGN, ANC PRESIDENT LUIS MIQUILENA WILL 
SERVE AS PRESIDENT.  AS A RESULT OF CHAVEZ' DECISION, THE 
DECEMBER 15 REFERENDUM WILL CONTAIN ONLY ONE QUESTION FOR THE 
VOTERS: ON WHETHER OR NOT THE APPROVE THE CONSTITUTION.  THERE 
WILL NOT RPT NOT BE -- AS PREVIOUSLY ANNOUNCED -- ADDITIONAL 
QUESTIONS ASKING THE VOTER WHETHER CHAVEZ SHOULD BE EXCUSED FROM 
RUNNING, OR WHETHER THE VOTER WANTS THE GOVERNOR OF HIS STATE TO 
RUN. 
 
3. (C) NATIONAL ELECTORAL COUNCIL HEAD ANDRES CALECA TOLD THE 
AMBASSADOR THE FOLLOWING THAT HE HAD BEEN SEEKING FOR A WHOLE 
WEEK TO CONVINCE CHAVEZ TO AGREE TO RUN RATHER THAN SEEK 
CONFIRMATION VIA THE REFERENDUM, SINCE THE LEGALITY OF PUTTING 
ANY OTHER QUESTION THAN THAT OF APPROVAL OF THE CONSTITUTION IN 
THE REFERENDUM IS CERTAINLY QUESTIONABLE.  IN ADDITION, CALECA 
NOTES THAT CONFIRMATION OF CHAVEZ IN OFFICE VIA THE REFERENDUM 
WOULD SMACK OF THE PLEBISCITE WITH WHICH DICTATOR MARCOS PEREZ 
JIMENEZ SOUGHT TO LEGITIMIZE HIS RULE IN THE 1950'S (AND OTHER 
VENEZUELAN DICTATORS BEFORE HIM.) 
 
4. (C)  ASKED WHY CHAVEZ HAD BEEN HESITANT TO RUN, CALECA SAID 
CHAVEZ CITED THE ADDITIONAL COST OF A PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION, AS 
WELL AS THE DISTRACTION OF HAVING TO CAMPAIGN AT A TIME WHEN 
THERE WAS MUCH SUBSTANTIVE WORK FOR HIM TO DO.  CALECA ALSO 
NOTED THAT CHAVEZ MIGHT FEAR GETTING A LOWER SCORE THAN HE DID 
IN THE LAST ELECTION, DUE TO THE ONGOING DETERIORATION OF THE 
ECONOMIC SITUATION BETWEEN NOW AND NEXT SPRING WHEN THE 
ELECTIONS ARE HELD.  (CALECA SAID HE THOUGHT IT MIGHT NOT BE 
POSSIBLE TO GET THEM ORGANIZED BEFORE APRIL.)  FINALLY, WE HAVE 
ALSO HEARD THAT GOVERNORS OF CHAVEZ POLO PATRIOTICO COALITION 
HAD OBJECTED TO HAVING TO RUN IF HE DID NOT AND WAS NOT 
PROVIDING HIS COATTAILS. 
 
 
MAISTO 

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