US embassy cable - 08BRASILIA523

BRAZIL: SENATE FOREIGN AFFAIRS CHAIRMAN CONCERNED ABOUT POSSIBLE TERRORIST PRESENCE IN BRAZIL

Identifier: 08BRASILIA523
Wikileaks: View 08BRASILIA523 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Brasilia
Created: 2008-04-18 15:34:00
Classification: SECRET
Tags: PTER PREL FARC BR VE EC CO XR BO
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
VZCZCXRO2005
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INFO RUEHAC/AMEMBASSY ASUNCION 6720
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S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 BRASILIA 000523 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/14/2038 
TAGS: PTER, PREL, FARC, BR, VE, EC, CO, XR, BO 
SUBJECT: BRAZIL: SENATE FOREIGN AFFAIRS CHAIRMAN CONCERNED 
ABOUT POSSIBLE TERRORIST PRESENCE IN BRAZIL 
 
REF: BRASILIA 507 
 
Classified By: AMBASSADOR CLIFFORD SOBEL, REASON 1.4 B/D 
 
1.  (S)  Summary.  Senate Foreign Relations and National 
Defense Committee Chairman Heraclito Fortes (strictly 
protect) (Democrats Party, opposition; of Piaui) told 
Ambassador Sobel on March 28 he is deeply concerned about 
signs of terrorists in Brazil.  He cited a published report 
(reftel) of a Brazilian guerrilla force similar to the FARC 
operating in Rondonia state, possibly with foreign support 
and revealed that a Brazilian Congressional inquiry had 
learned of foreign support for a Brazilian NGO, possibly with 
terrorist connections, in Teresina, Piaui.  He said Bolivians 
seem "tired of the Boliviarian idea," and noted that Bolivian 
officials recently made positive statements to him about the 
importance of good bilateral relations with Brazil.  Finally, 
he said Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez was "thrown off 
balance" by compromising information from a laptop captured 
after Colombia's raid on FARC militants in Ecuador.  Fortes 
is one of a modest number of legislators who are paying 
attention to what they consider to be emerging threats to 
Brazilian security.  End summary. 
 
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Brazilian Group Resembles FARC 
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2.  (S) Chairman Fortes told Ambassador Sobel he is deeply 
concerned about reports of FARC-like terrorist activity in a 
remote area of Brazil.  He cited a recent article in the 
March 26, 2008, edition of IstoE magazine that reported on 
the activities of a far left peasant movement called the Poor 
Peasants League (Liga dos Camponeses Pobres, "LCP"), with 
unknown, possibly foreign, funding, and in some ways similar 
to the FARC.  According to IstoE, the LCP holds territory in 
Rondonia state, which borders the Bolivian departments of 
Pando and Beni.  Chairman Fortes said he felt certain there 
was foreign, possibly even FARC, involvement in the LCP, and 
guerilla training in Brazil was a very serious matter.  He 
speculated that the LCP could be using Russian or Iranian 
"technology."  (Note: IstoE reported that LCP guerrillas are 
armed with handguns, grenades, and automatic weapons, 
including the American-made AR-15, the Russian-made AK-47, 
and the FAL, originally of Belgian manufacture but also 
manufactured in Brazil for its military use, all of which are 
readily available on black markets in the region.  End note.) 
 
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Foreign Influence in a Brazilian NGO 
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3.  (S) Fortes also shared with Ambassador information he 
stressed was very sensitive and should be strictly protected. 
 He said that the Senate Parliamentary Committee of Inquiry 
into Non-Governmental Organizations learned that an NGO in 
Teresina, Piaui, supported by a Trotskyite faction of the 
Workers' Party (PT) had received substantial foreign funding 
channeled through a foreign international relations 
institution.  This NGO, which he named as CEPAC, at one time 
had about 15 foreigners working for it for four to six 
months, he said.  Chairman Fortes said these foreigners were 
either terrorists or they had participated in foreign 
movements.  He pointed out that Teresina is a city with no 
history of urban disturbances, and therefore there should 
have been no reason to base foreign agents based there.  He 
also said that in the period 2001-2002 an Italian terrorist 
was in Teresina, but was discovered, arrested, and removed 
from Brazil.  (Note: The PT faction is probably the Socialist 
Democracy faction.  CEPAC is the Piaui Cultural Action 
Center, or Centro Piauiense de Acao Cultural, a Brazilian NGO 
closely linked to the PT.  In early March 2008, during the 
Senate investigation of NGOs, CEPAC came under scrutiny by 
opposition politicians for receiving large federal grants 
through the Agrarian Development Ministry.  The governor of 
Piaui, Wellington Dias, belongs to the PT.  Fortes is 
qualified to speak on conditions in Teresina: he was its 
mayor from 1989 to 1992.   The Italian he mentioned might be 
Cesare Battisti, who was arrested in Rio de Janeiro on March 
 
BRASILIA 00000523  002 OF 002 
 
 
18, 2007, but is still in Brazil pending extradition to 
Italy.  End note.) 
 
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Bolivia Tired of Bolivarian Idea 
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4.  (S) Turning to the turmoil in Bolivia, Chairman Fortes 
noted that on the positive side, there is disenchantment in 
Bolivia with the Bolivarian idea.  He said he had met earlier 
in the week of March 24 with the new Bolivian Ambassador to 
Brazil, the president of the Bolivian Senate, and the 
Chairman of the Bolivian Senate's Foreign Relations 
Committee.  Implying that Bolivia wishes to repair its 
relationship with Brazil after its Bolivarian romance, 
Chairman Fortes said the Bolivian Ambassador apologized to 
him for some disagreements between presidents Lula and 
Morales a couple of years ago and agreed with Fortes that the 
two countries need to continue their tradition of friendly 
relations.  Chairman Fortes also said that it is worrisome 
that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is able to exert 
pressure on Evo Morales "because he financed him."  He added 
that the situation in Bolivia in "very serious," with 
disturbances and people in the streets. 
 
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Captured FARC Documents Threw Chavez Off Balance 
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5.  (S) Fortes said he had spoken with a person who was 
present at the Rio Group meeting in Santo Domingo, Dominican 
Republic, who reported that President Chavez had been thrown 
off balance by the discovery of compromising information on a 
laptop computer seized after the recent Colombian attack on 
FARC forces and, as a result, behaved in a comparatively 
subdued manner. 
 
6.  (C)  Comment.  Chairman Fortes is one of a few Brazilian 
legislators who have spoken to us of their concerns about 
Iranian and Venezuelan meddling in the region, threats to 
stability, and other national security issues.  Fortes, more 
than many, is paying attention to what he considers to be 
emerging threats inside and outside of Brazil.  His concerns 
about the LCP and CEPAC seem valid, based on the information 
he has at hand, but we do not have enough information to 
evaluate the information's accuracy and the possible 
seriousness of the situations. 
SOBEL 

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