US embassy cable - 05MADRID1178 (original version)

DEMARCHE TO ZAPATERO ON MEETING WITH CHAVEZ, LULA, URIBE (original version)

Identifier: 05MADRID1178
Wikileaks: View 05MADRID1178 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Madrid
Created: 2005-03-29 13:47:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Tags: PREL PGOV PTER SP VZ
Redacted: This cable was redacted by Wikileaks. [Show redacted version] [Compare redacted and unredacted version]
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 MADRID 001178 
 
SIPDIS 
 
INFO EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY 
AMEMBASSY BOGOTA PRIORITY 
AMEMBASSY BRASILIA PRIORITY 
AMEMBASSY CARACAS PRIORITY 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/29/2015 
TAGS: PREL, PGOV, PTER, SP, VZ 
SUBJECT: DEMARCHE TO ZAPATERO ON MEETING WITH CHAVEZ, LULA, 
URIBE 
 
REF: A. A) SECSTATE 52920 
     B. B) HALL - MANZANARES E-MAIL OF 3/23 
 
Classified By: Charge d'Affaires Bob Manzanares; reasons 1.4 (B) and (D 
) 
 
1. (SBU) Charge conveyed Ref A points to National Security 
Adviser Carles Casajuana on March 23.  Casajuana stressed the 
correlation of USG-Spanish interests in a stable, democratic 
Venezuela and assured Charge that the USG points would be 
provided to President Zapatero and his party prior to 
Zapatero's departure for the region on March 28. 
 
2. (U) The largest-ciruclation Spanish dailies, "El Pais" and 
"El Mundo", provided extensive front page coverage of "U.S. 
concern" regarding the Spanish weapons sale to Venezuela and 
President Zapatero's overtures to Chavez.  These press 
stories indicate that Spain made a final decision on March 27 
on the weapons package it would offer Venezuela, which will 
include: 
 
- 4 coastal patrol boats 
- 4 ocean going corvettes 
- 2 oil tankers 
- 1 
- 10 C-295 transport aircraft 
- 2 coastal patrol aircraft 
 
The total value of the sale is estimated at Euros 1.3 billion 
(USDOLS 1.69 billion) and will reportedly provide 600 jobs 
for 6 years at Spain's hard-pressed Navantia shipyards. 
Separately, Spanish oil giant Repsol-YPF and Petroleos de 
Venezuela were expected to conclude a cooperation agreement 
during Zapatero's visit, which could include up to USDOLS 185 
million in investments in Venezuela by Repsol. 
 
3. (C) "El Pais," which has close ties to the ruling 
Socialist Party, cited unnamed sources who asserted that the 
MFA had strongly opposed the weapons sale to Venezuela 
because it would undermine Spanish relations with Colombia 
and the USG.  The press story cast the four-leader format of 
the summit as an effort by the MFA to mollify the USG by 
ensuring Uribe's inclusion in the most high-profile element 
of the Zapatero visit.  This tracks with numerous private 
conversations with MFA contacts at various levels, including 
Deputy FM Bernardino Leon, who were clearly uncomfortable 
with the nature of the weapons sale to Venezuela and insisted 
that Defense Minister Jose Bono pushed the deal through 
despite the  MFA's strong opposition.  The MFA is now in spin 
control mode, minimizing the potential offensive capability 
of the weapons package (describing the corvettes as "patrol 
boats" for example) and working hard to protect the GOS from 
USG and opposition criticism. 
 
4. (C) With Ref A demarche, we have now raised our concerns 
regarding Spanish overtures and weapons sales to Venezuela in 
at least eight separate meetings with GOS officials, 
including with Deputy FM Leon, Defense Minister Bono, Deputy 
Defense Minister Pardo, and CHOD Sans.  More importantly, 
Attorney General Gonzalez raised Venezuela as a key source of 
bilateral friction during his March 10 meetings with Vice 
President Maria Teresa Fernandez de la Vega and FM Moratinos. 
 Given the magnitude of the sale, we did not expect to derail 
the ship deal, but the USG's constant pressure on this issue 
does make clear that the weapons sale will remain a drag on 
efforts to improve bilateral relations. 
MANZANARES 

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