US embassy cable - 06SANTIAGO887

FORMER LAGOS MINISTERS LAUNCH FOUNDATION TO PROMOTE CHILE'S BRAND OF GOVERNANCE IN THE REGION

Identifier: 06SANTIAGO887
Wikileaks: View 06SANTIAGO887 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Santiago
Created: 2006-04-28 15:12:00
Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
Tags: PGOV PREL SOCI CI VZ
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
VZCZCXYZ0001
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHSG #0887/01 1181512
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 281512Z APR 06
FM AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9003
INFO RUEHAC/AMEMBASSY ASUNCION 2547
RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA 3155
RUEHBU/AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES 3007
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS 0934
RUEHLM/AMEMBASSY COLOMBO 0011
RUEHGT/AMEMBASSY GUATEMALA 0219
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ APR LIMA 4542
RUEHMN/AMEMBASSY MONTEVIDEO 3259
RUEHOT/AMEMBASSY OTTAWA 0498
RUEHQT/AMEMBASSY QUITO 1561
RUEHSN/AMEMBASSY SAN SALVADOR 0213
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
UNCLAS SANTIAGO 000887 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR WHA/BSC, WHA/AND, WHA/OAS, DRL 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PGOV, PREL, SOCI, CI, VZ 
SUBJECT: FORMER LAGOS MINISTERS LAUNCH FOUNDATION TO 
PROMOTE CHILE'S BRAND OF GOVERNANCE IN THE REGION 
 
 
1. This is an action request.  See para 7. 
 
2. Summary: Several ex-ministers and supporters of former 
President Lagos have launched a foundation to promote Chile's 
successes throughout the region.  "Project America" Director 
Jose Viera-Gallo told Embassy officers that one of the 
foundation's objectives is to showcase the differences 
between Chile's center-left form of governance and Chavez' 
"neo-populism."  The foundation invited Venezuelan opposition 
figure Theodoro Petkoff to speak at its official opening on 
June 17, but Petkoff had to cancel due to campaign 
commitments.  During the first week of June, Viera-Gallo will 
be in Washington, where he hopes to brief USG officials, 
academics and others on "Project America."  End summary. 
 
Lagos' Think Tank 
------------------ 
 
3. Several ministers, center-left senators and other senior 
government officials who served under President Lagos have 
formed a foundation called "Project America."  During 
interviews with local media and conversations with Embassy 
officers, "Project America" Director and former Socialist 
Party Senator Jose Antonio Viera-Gallo touted the foundation 
as the first Chilean institution whose primary objective was 
to promote Chile's center-left form of governance throughout 
the Western Hemisphere.  The foundation, which is scheduled 
to formally open in mid-June, counts among its founders 
several prominent Chileans who served in the Lagos 
administration: former Interior Minister and current OAS 
SecGen Jose Miguel Insulza; former Finance Minister Nicolas 
Eyzaguirre; former Education Minister Sergio Bitar; former 
Spokesman Osvaldo Puccio; and current UNSYG Special 
Representative in Haiti, Juan Gabriel Valdes. 
 
4. During an April 26 meeting with Embassy officers, 
Viera-Gallo outlined the foundation's three main objectives: 
 
(1) Promote Chile as a model for other center-left 
governments in the region through increased ties and dialogue. 
 
(2) Analyze Chile's long-term political, social and economic 
growth. 
 
(3) Strengthen and improve Chile's economic, social and 
political institutional bases. 
 
Viera-Gallo acknowledged that Chilean governments were 
reluctant to promote Chile as a "model," largely out of fear 
of alienating Chile's neighbors and others in the region.  At 
the same time, a number of regional leaders look to Chile as 
a successful, center-left democracy and wish to increase 
their knowledge of its successes.  Viera-Gallo expressed 
confidence that "Project America" would fill this void, 
predicting that its message would be well-received in 
Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and possibly Uruguay.  At the 
same time, he acknowledged that certain "center-right 
countries" in Central America, and "neo-populist governments 
in the region like Venezuela," would be less enthusiastic. 
Viera-Gallo said "Project America" would also look to promote 
"more mature and less ideological" relations between Latin 
America and the U.S.  "People in the region need to view 
relations with the U.S. as normal, rather than through 
ideological prisms." 
 
Support for the Venezuelan Opposition 
------------------------------------- 
 
5. Viera-Gallo confirmed local press reports that "Project 
America" had invited Venezuelan opposition figure Theodoro 
Petkoff to attend thQfoundation's opening ceremony on June 
17.  ("We wanted to invite Petkoff because we believe it is 
important to distinguish between the left of (Chile's) 
Concertacion and the left that Chavez says he represents," 
Viera-Gallo was quoted as telling the leading Chilean daily 
 
"La Tercera.")  Unfortunately, Petkoff had telephoned earlier 
that day to decline the invitation due to "campaign-related 
work."  Viera-Gallo said that "Project America" would invite 
other prominent individuals of similar stature.  (Note: An 
article in the leading Chilean daily "La Tercera" reports 
that former Argentine Minister of the Economy Roberto Lavagna 
has been invited.) 
 
Visit to the U.S. 
----------------- 
 
6. Viera-Gallo noted he would be in Washington during the 
first week of June.  He asked if the Embassy could recommend 
individuals inside and outside of government who might be 
interested in "Project America."  Viera-Gallo said he had 
been in touch with "his good friend" (OAS SecGen) Jose Miguel 
Insulza, who had offered to provide some names.  Viera-Gallo 
openly said he was also interested in meeting with U.S.-based 
foundations and individuals who might wish to support the 
foundation financially. 
 
7. Action request: Post intends to provide Viera-Gallo a list 
of suggested individuals and organizations in Washington who 
might be interested in "Project America."  Viera-Gallo has 
not requested our assistance in arranging meetings.  If he 
does, we intend to respond positively and ask the Department 
to consider favorably any requests for meetings it deems 
appropriate. 
KELLY 

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