US embassy cable - 06SANTIAGO861

AMBASSADOR AND CHILEAN SENATORS EXCHANGE VIEWS ON U.S-CHILE RELATIONS, VENEZUELA

Identifier: 06SANTIAGO861
Wikileaks: View 06SANTIAGO861 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Santiago
Created: 2006-04-24 21:30:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Tags: PREL UNSC CI VZ
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
VZCZCXYZ0000
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHSG #0861/01 1142130
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 242130Z APR 06
FM AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8972
INFO RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS 0932
RHMFISS/HQ USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 0160
C O N F I D E N T I A L SANTIAGO 000861 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR WHA/AND, WHA/BSC, WHA/OAS, IO/UNP 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/21/2016 
TAGS: PREL, UNSC, CI, VZ 
SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR AND CHILEAN SENATORS EXCHANGE VIEWS ON 
U.S-CHILE RELATIONS, VENEZUELA 
 
Classified By: Ambassador Craig A. Kelly.  Reasons:  1.4 (b and d). 
 
1. (C) Summary: The Ambassador exchanged views on Venezuela, 
Article 98 and ICC ratification with Chilean senators on 
April 19.  The senators lauded recent Codel visits to Chile 
and pressed for regular meetings between U.S. and Chilean 
legislatures.  Socialist Party Senator Gazmuri expressed 
concern that the U.S. was focusing its Latin America policy 
too narrowly on Venezuela.  Christian Democrat Party Senator 
Pizarro said the U.S. suffered from a perception in the 
region that it was "ignoring Latin America."  The Ambassador 
outlined USG concerns on Venezuela and denied the U.S. was 
pressuring Chile not to ratify the ICC.  He also noted 
Chile's inadequate protection of intellectual property rights 
remained the dark cloud hanging over the otherwise successful 
U.S.-Chile FTA.  End summary. 
 
2. (U) Senator Roberto Munoz Barra (Party for Democracy), 
President of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, hosted 
the Ambassador and Poloff for a working lunch at the National 
Congress in Valparaiso on April 19.  Senators Sergio Romero 
(National Renewal), Hernan Larrain (Independent Democratic 
Union), Juan Coloma (Independent Democratic Union), Jorge 
Pizarro (Christian Democrat), and Jaime Gazmuri (Socialist) 
also attended.  (Note: All but Larrain are members of the 
Senate Foreign Relations Committee - SFRC).  MFA Liaison to 
Congress (Ambassador) Fontecilla and SFRC Chief of Staff 
Julio Camara also attended. 
 
Senate-Senate Exchange 
---------------------- 
 
3. (U) After delivering his welcoming remarks, Senator Munoz 
noted the importance the Chilean Senate attached to the 
recent visits to Chile by CODEL Coleman (August 2005) and 
Codel McConnell (January 2006).  These visits offered U.S. 
and Chilean legislators opportunities to exchange views on 
regional issues and the U.S.-Chile bilateral relationship, 
including the U.S.-Chile Free Trade Agreement.  Senator 
Romero expressed appreciation for Senator Coleman's response 
to his (Romero's) letter of last year proposing the 
establishment of a formal Senate-Senate parliamentary 
dialogue.  Romero said he understood why the U.S. Congress 
could not make such a commitment, and reiterated his 
appreciation for Senator Coleman's willingness to try to meet 
on a regular basis.  (Note: SFRC Chief of Staff Camara and 
Senator Coleman's staff are discussing directly possible 
dates and agenda items for a meeting later this year.  End 
note.) 
 
Venezuela 
--------- 
 
4. (C) The Ambassador noted USG concerns over President 
Chavez' actions to dismantle democracy in Venezuela and his 
behavior in international fora, and asked the senators for 
their views.  Senator Gazmuri said that while he was "no fan 
of Chavez," he was worried the U.S. "was making the same 
mistake it made with Cuba and Fidel Castro more than 30 years 
ago: by focusing regional policy on one man, you are 
elevating his status in the region."  Senator Larrain 
suggested that regular meetings between the U.S. and Chilean 
Senates could offer "those of us in Chile who share your 
concerns and who do not have a voice within the executive 
branch (the center-right opposition) to discuss important 
matters such as Venezuela." 
 
5. (C) The Ambassador outlined USG concerns about Venezuela's 
UNSC candidacy, citing the GOV's opposition to referring Iran 
to the UNSC as one example of Chavez' irresponsible behavior. 
 Senator Gazmuri acknowledged that Venezuela's presence on 
the UNSC could pose "problems."  Several of the other 
Senators nodded in agreement. 
 
U.S. Leadership in the Region 
----------------------------- 
 
6. (C) Senator Pizarro, who attends several meetings of Latin 
American parliamentary associations, said there is perception 
in the region that the U.S. "lacks leadership" in confronting 
the region's problems.  Pizarro claimed that this perception 
makes it difficult for small countries like Chile, who 
considered themselves allies of the U.S. and who are 
interested in partnering in promoting certain shared goals, 
 
to step forward.  Pizarro said he had recently read that 
Venezuela provided more development assistance in Latin 
America than the U.S.  While he was uncertain whether the 
information was accurate, Pizarro said such statements 
"complicated" USG efforts in the region.  Ambassador noted 
that while the "perception" of U.S. neglect exists, reality 
is a different thing altogether, and he outlined several 
examples of heavy U.S. engagement. 
 
Article 98/ASPA 
--------------- 
 
7. (C) Senator Coloma asked about recent Chilean press 
reports of a "debate" in the U.S. Congress over American 
Servicemembers' Protection Act (ASPA) legislation.  The 
Ambassador outlined our reasons for wishing to conclude 
Article 98 agreements and summarized the ASPA provisions.  He 
reviewed the IMET and FMF funding Chile stood to lose if it 
ratified the ICC and the ASPA provisions went into effect. 
Noting recent erroneous reports in the Chilean press, the 
Ambassador denied the U.S. was pressuring Chile not to ratify 
the ICC.  He also stressed that Washington wished to avoid 
cutting off military assistance to Chile.  Senator Larrain 
acknowledged that while the dollar amounts did not appear 
significant and in principle could be replaced using national 
funds, the symbolism of a cut-off would be damaging to the 
bilateral relationship. 
 
IPR 
--- 
 
8. (U) The Ambassador closed by noting that the one dark 
cloud hanging over the otherwise successful U.S.-Chile FTA 
was Chile's weak protection and enforcement of intellectual 
property rights. 
KELLY 

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