|Wikileaks:||View 05BRASILIA1466 at Wikileaks.org|
|Tags:||PREL PGOV PTER BR VZ External Relations|
|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.
S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 03 BRASILIA 001466 SIPDIS E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/27/2015 TAGS: PREL, PGOV, PTER, BR, VZ, External Relations SUBJECT: CHAVEZ'S ACTIVITIES IN THE HEMISPHERE - BRAZIL REF: A. STATE 43965 B. BRASILIA 1207 C. BRASILIA 1035 D. BRASILIA 1017 E. BRASILIA 660 F. BRASILIA 415 G. BRASILIA 223 H. USDEL SECRETARY TELEGRAMS 000005/000007/00004 I. (S/NF) TD-314/21795-05 11 APRIL 2005 J. (S/NF) TD-314/21753-05 11 APRIL2005. Classified By: AMBASSADOR JOHN DANILOVICH. REASON: 1.5 (B)(D) 1. (S) Ref A requested Mission's assessment of the extent and nature of possible Venezuelan Goverment (GOV) and/or "Bolivarian" activities in Brazil, GOB views of same and of Chavez's regime in general. Refs B-H provided extensive information on GOB political views on Chavez, with reporting on various meetings between President Lula da Silva, FM Amorim, Presidential Chief of Staff Dirceu and others in the GOB with senior U.S. officials, including Secretary Rice during her recent visit here. Ref I-J provide additional insights on GOB assessments of Chavez. Those reports taken together constitute our current response to reftel A's question number four regarding Brazilian government attitudes toward Chavez and the Bolivarian revolution. Below we provide responses to other specific questions posed to post by ref A regarding Venezuela and Brazil. We have omitted responses to ref a questions for which we have no significant data to offer. WHAT ARE GOV TIES TO RADICAL GROUPS, ANTI-SYSTEMIC PARTIES, EXTREME LEFTIST ORGANIZATIONS, AND/OR TERRORISTS, ETC? 2. (S/NF) According to sensitive reporting in late 2001, a group of state-level officials from the Brazilian Workers, Party (PT) formally organized the &Simon Bolivar Action Group8. According to the charter, one of the goals of the group was to unite efforts of the masses within Brazil and the initiatives of the PT with other class struggles on the continent. The charter mentioned the Cuban revolution and Venezuela's Bolivarian revolution. At this time, no further information is available on this initiative. 3. (S/NF) According to sensitive reporting from October 2003, members of Brazil's main landless movement organization, the MST, traveled to Venezuela, allegedly without the knowledge of the Brazilian government, where they reportedly met with Venezuelan President Chavez and also with indigenous groups and farmers. In addition, prior to his departure from Brazil in November 2003, former Venezuelan Ambassador to Brazil Vladimir Villegas routinely traveled throughout Brazil and may have been responsible for coordinating GOV outreach efforts to the MST. There is also sensitive reporting indicating that, from May-June 2003, Ambassador Villegas met with PT and MST officials outside of Brasilia. During these meetings, Villegas, discussions centered on explaining and trying to build support for Venezuela's Bolivarian movement. Villegas replaced General (r) Alberto Esqueda Torres as ambassador to Brazil reportedly because Esqueda was &passive8 on defending Chavez,s Bolivarian revolution and had not worked hard enough to establish better ties with the PT. ARE THERE ACTIVITIES IN BRAZIL HOSTED BY BOLIVARIAN GROUPS AND/OR THE VENEZUELAN EMBASSY? 4. (S/NF) In March 2005, the University of Sao Paulo hosted a conference entitled, &The revolution not seen on television8; where the featured guest was the Venezuelan Consul General in Sao Paulo, Jose Luis Duran. The event was reportedly part of the Venezuelan Cultural and Social Outreach Program to spread the word of the Bolivarian revolution. Participating in the conference was a group calling itself the &Bolivarian Circle of Sao Paulo8. The goals of the group are not known. Also unknown is the level, if any, of Venezuelan government support for the group. WHAT IS THE HOST GOVERNMENT'S REACTION TO THE PRESENCE OF BOLIVARIAN GROUPS? 5. (SBU) To our knowledge, the GOB has not commented publicly on the possible presence of such groups within Brazil. However, senior GOB officials have stated recently and publicly that "Brazil is not a Bolivarian country." Indeed, the lack of a major Brazilian historical connection to the Bolivarian movement and a rather thorough ignorance about and lack of interest in Bolivar among Brazil's general public suggest little traction within Brazil for Chavez's efforts to appropriate the historical figure or contort his principles to fit Chavez's ends. Brazil's radical movements, including the MST landless organization and others, are essentially homegrown. Mainstream media attitudes toward the "Bolivarian revolution" are often skeptical, per additional information on media perspectives below. WHAT ARE BRAZIL'S COMMERCIAL TIES WITH VENEZUELA AND ANY NEW BUSINESS OR TRADE AGREEMENTS IN THE WORKS, ESPECIALLY IN ENERGY AND MILITARY SECTORS? 6. (SBU) Per refs B-H, the GOB views commercial relations, political engagement and pursuit of integration projects with Venezuela as useful in pressing Chavez to moderate his rhetoric and behave more constructively. There has been discussion at several levels of various regional infrastructure projects, in civil construction, transportation, mining, and in the energy sector. The GOV is also reportedly considering purchase of Brazilian Embraer AMX attack jets and Super Tucano turboprop attack/training aircraft, but it is not clear that contracts have been signed as of this date. 7. (SBU) During President Lula,s trip to Venezuela in February, Brazil,s parastatal oil company Petrobras signed 14 accords with PDVSA to increase joint cooperation in the areas of exploration, refining, petrochemicals, ethanol and biodiesel. The highlight was a joint venture to construct a new USD 2.5 billion refinery in the Northeast of Brazil. While the refinery may be the crown jewel of the Lula visit, some question its strategic value to Petrobras. The refinery deal appears to be a trade off; Petrobras would expand its exploration and production activities in Venezuela (particularly in the Orinoco area) in return for allowing PDVSA entry into the Brazilian market. PDVSA and Petrobras also reportedly intend to construct a USD 20 million lubricant factory in Cuba, and Brazilian petrochemical conglomerate &Braskem8 and PDVSA subsidiary Pequiven are evaluating opportunities in thermoplastic resins. HOW DOES THE MAINTSTREAM MEDIA -- MAJOR DAILIES ON BOTH LEFT AND RIGHT -- VIEW CHAVEZ AND HIS ROLE IN THE REGION? 8. (SBU) The Brazilian media,s take on President Chavez depends largely on the political inclination of the publications and of the individual pundits. Conservative newspapers such as "O Estado de Sao Paulo" have repeatedly issued warnings about the danger Chavez represents to democratic institutions and to economic prospects in Venezuela and throughout the region. In an op-ed dated March 27, published just after Chavez implemented yet another set of laws curtailing civil liberties, "O Estado" wrote that: &Hugo Chavez has once more demonstrated what the so-called progressive, leaders are capable of when it comes to asphyxiating fundamental liberties. The new laws punish those who stage marches and public protests, and restrict the right of opinion and freedom of the press by threatening whoever criticizes the government along with the newspapers that publish such criticism. Chavez is keeping up with an old tradition of Latin America's dictators. If (President) Lula wants to enter into history and honor his oath of protecting the constitution, he must not allow any parallelism between his administration and Venezuela's.8 9. (SBU) Commentators with leftist tendencies are usually more accepting of Chavez, who some see as a counterweight to alleged U.S. attempts at regional dominance, but most left-leaning mainstream pundits do not condone his checks on civil liberties. Writer and columnist Carlos Heitor Cony opined in liberal "Folha de Sao Paulo" on May 5: &Venezuela's case has all the elements to repeat what happened in Iraq, unless the State Department succeeds in deposing Chavez without resorting to bombing Caracas on behalf of democracy..... Supporting Chavez in his resistance against the U.S. drive to control one of the largest oil reserves in the world does not mean supporting a president accused of so much wrongdoing...." Coverage of Chavez in Brazil is limited by the fact that Buenos Aires is the only Latin American capital where Brazilian newspapers maintain correspondents. Chavez gets more attention from the Brazilian media either when he travels to Brazil, or when President Lula goes to Venezuela. 10. (SBU) During a working lunch with PA officers, Claudia Dianni, a reporter with leading circulation daily, "Folha de Sao Paulo" and Andre Soliani, a deputy editor with political and economic analysis magazine "Primeira Leiture," both remarked that Chavez might have inherited some of the &romantic8 imagery usually associated by the Latin American left with Fidel Castro as a champion of Latin America against the oppression from capitalism and the United States. This perception coexists with the understanding that Chavez,s efforts to limit civil liberties are highly objectionable. WHAT ARE BRAZIL'S VISA AND IMMIGRATION REQUIREMENTS FOR VENEZUELAN PASSPORT HOLDERS? 11. (U) Brazil does not require visas for Venezuelans visiting Brazil. ARE THERE BORDER SECURITY ARRANGEMENTS IN PLACE OR PLANNED FOR THE VENEZUELAN BORDER? 12. (SBU) At present, there is no comprehensive system or plan for border security posts on the frontier with Venezuela. Brazilian military and Federal Police units are stationed throughout the Amazon frontier areas with Venezuela and Colombia, but they are relatively few in number considering the vast size of the territory, much of it covered by triple-canopy jungle that makes patrol and surveillance extremely difficult. Brazil's Amazon Surveillance System (SIVAM), a USD 1.6 billion dollar network of radars, electronic sensors and airborne surveillance platforms provides a sophisticated degree of aerial coverage, at least at high altitudes, but ground and riverine coverage is much sparser and more sporadic. The GOB and GOV have had numerous discussions on enhanced border security cooperation, both bilaterally and in conjunction with Colombia and Peru (NFI). WHAT IS THE STATUS OF EXISTING OR PLANNED MILITARY-MILITARY COOPERATION WITH THE GOV? 13. (SBU) The Brazilian and Venezuelan navies normally conduct an annual joint exercise, VENEBRAS, but DAO Brasilia has not been able to confirm whether this will proceed in 2005. We have no other information at this time on joint exercises. DANILOVICH
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