US embassy cable - 00HARARE3084

DETENTION OF CUBAN DEFECTORS BY ZIMBABWE

Identifier: 00HARARE3084
Wikileaks: View 00HARARE3084 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Harare
Created: 2000-06-08 11:41:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Tags: PREL PREF CMGT ZI CU
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.



                           CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ0916

PAGE 01        HARARE  03084  01 OF 02  081137Z 
ACTION WHA-00   

INFO  LOG-00   NP-00    AF-00    AID-00   AMAD-01  ACQ-00   CA-02    
      CIAE-00  SMEC-00  INL-01   DODE-00  DOEE-00  ANHR-00  SRPP-00  
      DS-00    EB-00    FBIE-00  VC-00    H-01     TEDE-00  INR-00   
      INSE-00  IO-00    L-00     VCE-00   AC-01    NSAE-00  OIC-02   
      OMB-01   PA-00    PM-00    PRS-00   ACE-00   P-00     SP-00    
      SSO-00   SS-00    TRSE-00  T-00     USIE-00  FMP-00   PMB-00   
      DSCC-00  PRM-01   DRL-02   G-00     NFAT-00  SAS-00     /012W
                  ------------------608802  081138Z /38    
FM AMEMBASSY HARARE
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 6241
INFO NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE
USMISSION GENEVA IMMEDIATE 
AMEMBASSY PRETORIA IMMEDIATE 
AMEMBASSY NAIROBI IMMEDIATE 
AMEMBASSY OTTAWA IMMEDIATE 
USINT HAVANA IMMEDIATE 
AMEMBASSY LUSAKA IMMEDIATE 
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 003084 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPARTMENT FOR CA A/S MARY RYAN, CA/VO/F/P DARIA 
DARNELL, AF PDAS NANCY POWELL, AF DAS WITNEY SCHNEIDMAN, 
AF/S DIRECTOR ARLENE RENDER, AF/S DEPUTY DIRECTOR DON 
BOOTH, AND AF/S ZIMBABWE DESK 
OFFICER CHARLES GURNEY 
 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 02        HARARE  03084  01 OF 02  081137Z 
NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR GAYLE SMITH 
 
GENEVA FOR RMA 
 
NAIROBI FOR REFCOORD AND INS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/08/10 
TAGS: PREL, PREF, CMGT, ZI, CU 
SUBJECT: DETENTION OF CUBAN DEFECTORS BY ZIMBABWE 
 
REF: STATE 108703 (NOTAL) 
 
CLASSIFIED BY AMBASSADOR TOM MCDONALD FOR REASONS 1.5 
B/D. 
 
1. (U) THIS IS AN ACTION REQUESTED MESSAGE.  PLEASE SEE 
PARAGRAPH 7. 
 
2. (C) PER REFTEL INSTRUCTION, ON JUNE 8 AMBASSADOR 
MCDONALD TELEPHONED MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS 
PERMANENT SECRETARY MACHIVENYIKA MAPURANGA, THE HIGHEST 
AVAILABLE OFFICIAL, TO REGISTER THE USG'S SERIOUS 
CONCERN WITH THE WELFARE OF CUBAN DOCTORS LEONEL CORDOVA 
RODRIGUEZ AND NORIS PENA MARTINEZ.  THE AMBASSADOR 
EXPLAINED THAT THE USG HAD AN INTEREST IN THE CASE AS 
THE CUBANS HAD EXPRESSED A DESIRE TO SETTLE IN THE 
UNITED STATES.  THE AMBASSADOR CONTINUED THAT HE HOPED 
THE ZIMBABWEAN REFUGEE COMMITTEE WOULD GRANT THE CUBANS 
REFUGEE STATUS SO AN AMERICAN IMMIGRATION OFFICIAL COULD 
COME TO HARARE TO INTERVIEW THEM ON JUNE 9.  THE 
AMBASSADOR STRESSED THAT HE HOPED ZIMBABWE WOULD NOT 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 03        HARARE  03084  01 OF 02  081137Z 
EXPEL THEM BACK TO CUBA IN THE MEANTIME OR TO ANOTHER 
COUNTRY FOR FORCIBLE REPATRIATION TO CUBA.  IN RESPONSE, 
MAPURANGA TOOK NOTE OF THE AMBASSADOR'S DEMARCHE, BUT 
STRESSED ZIMBABWE'S SOVEREIGNTY TO DECIDE THE QUESTION. 
 
3.  (C) AFTER UPDATING CANADIAN HIGH COMMISSIONER JAMES 
WALL ON JUNE 8 ON ACTIONS WE HAD TAKEN ON THE CASE, DCM 
ASKED WHAT CANADA INTENDED TO DO WITH RESPECT TO THE 
CUBANS.  WALL SAID THAT HIS COUNTRY'S INTEREST WAS 
LIMITED, SINCE THE DOCTORS HAVE NEITHER FAMILY NOR ANY 
OTHER TIES IN CANADA AND HAD MADE NO APPLICATION TO 
ENTER CANADA.  THE HIGH COMMISSIONER REPORTED THAT ON 
JUNE 7 HE HAD MADE A REPRESENTATION TO MINISTRY OF 
FOREIGN AFFAIRS DIRECTOR FOR EUROPE AND THE AMERICAS 
NGONI CHIDEYA TO THE EFFECT THAT HIS GOVERNMENT VIEWED 
ZIMBABWE AS BEING RESPONSIBLE FOR THE CUBANS' WELL- 
BEING.  WALL NOTED THAT IF THE PRESS ACCOUNTS OF THEIR 
FORCIBLE REPATRIATION WERE TRUE, THEN ZIMBABWE WAS IN 
VIOLATION OF THE CONVENTION ON REFUGEES. 
 
4.  (C) UNITED NATIONS RESIDENT COORDINATOR CARLOS LOPES 
EXPLAINED TO AMBASSADOR MCDONALD ON JUNE 8 THAT THE 
LOCAL UN HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR REFUGEES (UNHCR) 
REPRESENTATIVE, JOHN ADU, WAS TRYING HIS BEST TO RESOLVE 
THE CASE IN SUCH A WAY THAT THE ZIMBABWEAN GOVERNMENT 
DID NOT SEE IT AS AN "AMERICAN" ONE.  THE ZIMBABWEANS 
WERE MOVING IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION, LOPES REPORTED.  HE 
SAID THAT BY ALLOWING THE UNHCR REPRESENTATIVE ACCESS TO 
THE PAIR ON JUNE 7, THE ZIMBABWEANS IMPLICITLY 
RECOGNIZED THAT FOLLOWING PROPER PROCEDURES WAS 
IMPORTANT.  LOPES CONFIDED THAT THE ZIMBABWEANS ALSO HAD 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 04        HARARE  03084  01 OF 02  081137Z 
FROZEN OUT CUBAN AMBASSADOR, RODOLFO SARRACINO, BECAUSE 
THE LATTER HAD COME TO HIM FOR INFORMATION ON 
DEVELOPMENTS IN THE CASE AS RECENTLY AS JUNE 8.  THE 
REFUGEE COMMITTEE WOULD MEET ON JUNE 8 AND MAKE A 
DECISION ON THE FATE OF THE CUBANS, BUT THAT DECISION 
MIGHT TAKE A COUPLE OF DAYS TO BE COMMUNICATED, PROBABLY 
THROUGH A POLITICAL FILTER.  THE ZIMBABWEANS, THE UN 
RESIDENT COORDINATOR, NOTED WOULD NOT ADMIT TO 
WRONGDOING IN ATTEMPTING TO REPATRIATE THE CUBANS. 
 
5.  (C) WHATEVER DECISION THE ZIMBABWEANS MADE COULD 
WORK OUT WELL FOR THE CUBANS, LOPES CONTINUED.  IF THE 
ZIMBABWEANS GRANTED THEM REFUGEE STATUS, THE CUBANS 
COULD APPLY FOR RESETTLEMENT IN A THIRD COUNTRY, 
SOMETHING THAT IS DOABLE IF TIME-CONSUMING.  IF THE 
ZIMBABWEANS DO NOT, THEN UNHCR GETS CUSTODY OF THEM AND 
ATTEMPTS TO PLACE THEM IN A COUNTRY WILLING TO RECEIVE 
THEM.  IT'S QUITE RARE TO HAVE A READY HOST, AS THE 
UNITED STATES IS IN THE PRESENT CASE, LOPES AVERRED. 
 
6.  (C) AMBASSADOR MCDONALD ASKED THAT LOPES INSTRUCT 
THE LOCAL UNCHR REPRESENTATIVE TO OBTAIN THE IMMEDIATE 
RELEASE OF THE CUBANS FROM JAIL TO A TRANSIT CAMP OR 
OTHER SAFE HOUSING, PENDING RESOLUTION OF THE CASE. 
 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
                           CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ0917 
 
PAGE 01        HARARE  03084  02 OF 02  081137Z 
ACTION WHA-00 
 
INFO  LOG-00   NP-00    AF-00    AID-00   AMAD-01  ACQ-00   CA-02 
      CIAE-00  SMEC-00  DODE-00  DOEE-00  ANHR-00  SRPP-00  DS-00 
      EB-00    FBIE-00  VC-00    H-01     TEDE-00  INR-00   INSE-00 
      IO-00    L-00     VCE-00   AC-01    NSAE-00  OIC-02   OMB-01 
      PA-00    PM-00    PRS-00   ACE-00   P-00     SP-00    SSO-00 
      SS-00    TRSE-00  T-00     USIE-00  FMP-00   PMB-00   DSCC-00 
      PRM-01   DRL-02   G-00     NFAT-00  SAS-00     /011W 
                  ------------------608804  081138Z /38 
O 081141Z JUN 00 
FM AMEMBASSY HARARE 
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 6242 
INFO NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE 
USMISSION GENEVA IMMEDIATE 
AMEMBASSY PRETORIA IMMEDIATE 
AMEMBASSY NAIROBI IMMEDIATE 
AMEMBASSY OTTAWA IMMEDIATE 
USINT HAVANA IMMEDIATE 
AMEMBASSY LUSAKA IMMEDIATE 
 
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 02 OF 02 HARARE 003084 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPARTMENT FOR CA A/S MARY RYAN, CA/VO/F/P DARIA 
DARNELL, AF PDAS NANCY POWELL, AF DAS WITNEY SCHNEIDMAN, 
AF/S DIRECTOR ARLENE RENDER, AF/S DEPUTY DIRECTOR DON 
BOOTH, AND AF/S ZIMBABWE DESK 
OFFICER CHARLES GURNEY 
 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 02        HARARE  03084  02 OF 02  081137Z 
NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR GAYLE SMITH 
 
GENEVA FOR RMA 
 
NAIROBI FOR REFCOORD AND INS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/08/10 
TAGS: PREL, PREF, CMGT, ZI, CU 
SUBJECT: DETENTION OF CUBAN DEFECTORS BY ZIMBABWE 
 
LOPES REPLIED THAT THAT IS WHAT HE AND JOHN ADU HAD BEEN 
TRYING TO DO FOR SEVERAL DAYS NOW.  THE AMBASSADOR ALSO 
SAID THAT THE USG WAS VERY CONCERNED THAT THE GOZ 
PREVENT NEITHER THE TWO CUBAN DOCTORS FROM HAVING A FAIR 
ASYLUM HEARING NOR THE UNHCR FROM DOING ITS JOB. 
 
7.  (C) ACTION REQUESTED: WHILE WE ARE HOPEFUL THAT THE 
CASE IS PROCEEDING AS IT SHOULD, THERE ARE SEVERAL 
POSSIBLE STAGES AT WHICH THINGS COULD GO SERIOUSLY 
WRONG.  ONE PLAUSIBLE SCENARIO WE CAN IMAGINE IS 
PRESIDENT MUGABE, WHO HAS IGNORED WESTERN PUBLIC OPINION 
ON ISSUES THAT MATTER MORE TO HIM, DECIDING TO 
REPATRIATE THE CUBANS AT THE REQUEST OF FIDEL CASTRO. 
IN THE EVENT THAT THE ZIMBABWEAN GOVERNMENT DOES NOT 
GRANT CORDOVA AND PENA REFUGEE STATUS, WE REQUEST THAT 
INS PAROLE THE PAIR IMMEDIATELY INTO THE UNITED STATES, 
SO THAT THEY MAY REMAIN IN THE UNITED STATES WHILE THEIR 
CASE FOR REFUGEE STATUS IS BEING REVIEWED. 
 
MCDONALD 
 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 03        HARARE  03084  02 OF 02  081137Z 
 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
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