US embassy cable - 06SANTIAGO1000 (original version)

FOREIGN MINISTRY OFFICIAL SAYS BACHELET IS "70 PERCENT THERE ON OPPOSING VENEZUELA'S UNSC CANDIDACY; OFFERS OBSERVATIONS ON BACHELET'S STYLE (original version)

Identifier: 06SANTIAGO1000
Wikileaks: View 06SANTIAGO1000 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Santiago
Created: 2006-05-12 21:07:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Tags: PREL PGOV UNSC PINR VZ CI
Redacted: This cable was redacted by Wikileaks. [Show redacted version] [Compare redacted and unredacted version]
VZCZCXYZ0010
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHSG #1000 1322107
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 122107Z MAY 06
FM AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 9099
INFO RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS PRIORITY 0946
RHMFISS/HQ USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 0169
C O N F I D E N T I A L SANTIAGO 001000 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR WHA/BSC, IO 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/12/2016 
TAGS: PREL, PGOV, UNSC, PINR, VZ, CI 
SUBJECT: FOREIGN MINISTRY OFFICIAL SAYS BACHELET IS "70 
PERCENT THERE ON OPPOSING VENEZUELA'S UNSC CANDIDACY; 
OFFERS OBSERVATIONS ON BACHELET'S STYLE 
 
 
Classified By: Ambassador Craig A. Kelly.  Reasons: 1.4 (b and d). 
 
1. (C) Summary: A mid-level, well-connected Foreign Ministry 
official told the Embassy on May 11 that in his view 
President Bachelet was "70 percent there" on opposing 
Venezuela's UNSC candidacy.  Acknowledging how difficult it 
is to know what Bachelet is thinking, because of her 
close-to-the-vest style, the official predicted that 
Bachelet's meetings with European leaders this week in Spain 
and Vienna would reinforce the anti-Venezuela vote.  He 
characterized Bachelet as "her own leader" and cautioned that 
her ministers may not always know where she stands on a given 
issue.  End summary. 
 
2. (C) A mid-level Foreign Ministry official told the Embassy 
on May 11 that he thought President Bachelet was "70 percent 
there" on opposing Venezuela's UNSC candidacy.  The official, 
who is close to Foreign Ministry DG for External Relations 
Portales and has shared his opinions in the past, offered 
that his political associates and colleagues in the 
presidential palace had told him that Bachelet shared several 
USG concerns regarding Venezuela.   Acknowledging that most 
European nations would likely oppose Venezuela, he predicted 
that Bachelet's discussions this week with European leaders 
in Spain (State visit) and Vienna (the European-South 
American Summit) would reinforce her views. 
 
3. (C) The MFA official (who does not know Bachelet 
personally) commented that more so than past center-left 
Concertacion presidents, Bachelet is "her own person who will 
make her own decisions" and is not operating within political 
party circles.  In terms of style, Bachelet is a synthesizer 
who prefers to consult widely and consider different points 
of view before taking a decision.  As an example, the 
official noted that Bachelet chose her own ministers and 
deputy ministers, much to the dismay of the four-party 
Concertacion coalition.  Specifically on Venezuela, the 
official predicted Bachelet would continue to consult widely, 
both domestically and abroad, before finalizing her decision. 
 By mid-June, Bachelet will have consulted with her neighbors 
(e.g. Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay in April), Europeans and 
the U.S. (during her June 8 visit to Washington).  When asked 
if Bachelet already had made up her mind, the official said 
"While no one other than the President herself really knows, 
I believe she is leaning toward opposing Venezuela." 
 
4. (C) The official added that given Bachelet's close inner 
circle and personal decision-making style, her ministers may 
not always know where the President stands on a given issue. 
This is especially true during these early days of her 
administration.  The official added that Chile's top-down, 
centralized decision-making process on foreign policy, where 
the President has considerable latitude, can also limit what 
other senior officials know about the President's thinking. 
 
5. (C) The official downplayed the influence of internal 
Concertacion coalition politics on Bachelet's thinking on 
Venezuela.  While acknowledging there were individuals within 
Chile's Socialist Party who "sympathize" with Chavez, it was 
important "to distinguish between sympathy and support."  The 
official said "regional considerations" (e.g. Brazil), rather 
than domestic politics, were more important considerations 
for Bachelet. 
 
6. (C) The official noted that Chile's domestic energy needs, 
and Bachelet's desire to develop a regional approach to 
energy, might be part of the equation.  Chile's bilateral 
commercial relations with Venezuela were "minor," but 
Venezuela's ability to supply energy to Argentina and Brazil 
-- and thus free up other regional supplies for Chile -- 
could be a factor. 
KELLY 

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