US embassy cable - 04PANAMA1704

PANAMA'S FM ARIAS NONCOMMITTAL ON REQUEST TO RESETTLE PROTECTED CUBAN AND HAITIAN MIGRANTS

Identifier: 04PANAMA1704
Wikileaks: View 04PANAMA1704 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Panama
Created: 2004-07-01 19:43:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Tags: PREL SMIG PM CU HA POLITICS
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.


 
C O N F I D E N T I A L PANAMA 001704 
 
SIPDIS 
 
 
DEPARTMENT FOR PRM AND WHA 
 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/30/2014 
TAGS: PREL, SMIG, PM, CU, HA, POLITICS & FOREIGN POLICY 
SUBJECT: PANAMA'S FM ARIAS NONCOMMITTAL ON REQUEST TO 
RESETTLE PROTECTED CUBAN AND HAITIAN MIGRANTS 
 
 
REF: STATE 139422 
 
 
Classified By: DCM Christopher J. McMullen for reasons 1.4 b & d 
 
 
1.  (C) DCM, accompanied by Polcouns, delivered reftel 
talking points to Panamanian Foreign Minister Harmodio Arias 
Cerjack on June 30, 2004.  With two months left for this 
government, Arias was (not surprisingly) noncommittal on 
whether the GOP would be willing to accept protected Cuban 
and Haitian migrants for resettlement.  Arias said he would 
have to discuss the matter with President Moscoso and Foreign 
Minister-designate Samuel Lewis Navarro before offering a 
definitive reply. 
 
 
2.  (SBU) Comment: President Moscoso and FM Arias will likely 
leave this decision to President-elect Martin Torrijos when 
he takes office on September 1.  For our part, we have 
serious concerns about Panama's ability (both the GOP and the 
local NGO community) to provide the necessary follow-on 
support that is required for successful resettlement.  We 
continue to grapple with major obstacles in the case of Ramon 
Aguilar Hernandez, whose status remains unresolved, despite 
repeated Embassy demarches on his behalf.  Panama granted 
Aguilar asylum on July 8, 2003, but GOP stonewalling delayed 
his actual arrival in Panama until March 2004.  Since his 
arrival. the Embassy and the local chapter of CARITAS have 
been struggling to complete Aguilar's resettlement.  Aguilar 
still has no work permit despite repeated GOP promises and 
countless Embassy interventions with senior GOP 
decision-makers over the past three months.  (Note: DCM 
raised this problem again on June 30 with FM Arias, who again 
promised to try to resolve Aguilar's work permit request with 
the Minister of Labor.  End Note.) 
 
 
3. (SBU) In addition to the GOP's bureaucratic inefficiency 
and inexplicable obstructionism, Aguilar's travails also 
highlight the fact that Panama's NGO community has no real 
capacity to assist with resettlement cases.  CARITAS, the 
only NGO willing to sponsor Aguilar, has told Embassy in no 
uncertain terms that it will never take on another 
resettlement case.  Meanwhile, Aguilar is running out of 
money and CARITAS is bitter, exhausted, and frustrated. 
Based on this experience, Embassy has deep reservations about 
the efficacy of trying to resettle any migrants in Panama, 
even if the GOP were to give the green light - a decision 
that will likely not be made for months. 
 
 
WATT 

Latest source of this page is cablebrowser-2, released 2011-10-04