US embassy cable - 07PORTAUPRINCE54

PREVAL ON THUGS, DRUGS, AND HIS HEALTH

Identifier: 07PORTAUPRINCE54
Wikileaks: View 07PORTAUPRINCE54 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Port Au Prince
Created: 2007-01-12 19:43:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Tags: PGOV SNAR HA US
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
VZCZCXRO7287
OO RUEHQU
DE RUEHPU #0054/01 0121943
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 121943Z JAN 07
FM AMEMBASSY PORT AU PRINCE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5054
INFO RUEHZH/HAITI COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHBO/AMEMBASSY BOGOTA PRIORITY 0385
RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA PRIORITY 1374
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 PORT AU PRINCE 000054 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPARTMENT PASS DEA 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/12/2017 
TAGS: PGOV, SNAR, HA, US 
SUBJECT: PREVAL ON THUGS, DRUGS, AND HIS HEALTH 
 
REF: PORT AU PRINCE 42 
 
Classified By: Ambassador Janet A. Sanderson, reason 1.4(b) and (d). 
 
Summary. 
-------- 
 
1. (C) I met with President Preval for an hour the evening of 
January 11, shortly after the president 
returned from the Ortega inauguration in Manugua.  Key topics 
of discussion included the security situation, Haiti's drug 
problem and his agreement to meet with his Colombian and 
Dominican counterpart for a "Drug Summit," and his health. 
(Discussion on MINUSTAH renewal issue reported septel.) 
Preval professed to be tired and overworked, but said that 
his health was generally good as he approaches his 64th 
birthday. End Summary. 
 
SECURITY AND POLITICS 
--------------------- 
 
2. (C) Preval said that he is disappointed with MINUSTAH's 
limited operations in the slums of Cite Soleil thus far. 
Security remains his major preoccupation and he continues to 
insist that the UN must move faster. He observed that the 
former MINUSTAH commander, Brazilian General Elito (who had 
just turned over command that day) was too afraid of 
casualties. If something happens, Preval said, if Haitians 
died, it would be on his head not MINUSTAH's. SRSG Mulet make 
sure that the gangs dont have breathing space to regroup. 
They must be eliminated. The gang leaders, including Amaral, 
are simply not afraid enough of the troops at this point. 
Now, with a new commander, perhaps MINUSATH will be more 
vigorous. 
 
3. (C) Preval admitted that he was growing weary of the 
constant infighting and backstabbing of Haitian politics. The 
unruly session of Parliament the day of his address was 
disappointing - but not surprising.  Parliament, he said, 
particularly the lower house, is inexperienced and 
ill-mannered. Pointing to his head, he said, "I have so many 
problems in here....politics, security...It is hard to get 
anything done." He is frustrated that more Haitians have not 
heeded his call for national unity and that efforts continue, 
particularly among some political factions and within the 
private sector, to undermine the Prime Minister. Although 
Alexis is "difficult," Preval said, he needs to stay in 
place. Preval predicted that the Prime Minister would ride 
out the latest criticisms of his performance in office.  That 
being said, Preval did not particularly endorse the Prime 
Minister's agenda one way or another. 
 
 
DRUGS IN HAITI; PLANS FOR A SUMMIT 
---------------------------------- 
 
4. (C) Preval asked if I had listened to his speech at theQParliament (ref). Drug trafficking is, he said, Haiti's 
greatest problem and it threatens to undermine the fragile 
state. With the country's limited resources, there is little 
Haiti can do to stop drugs from transiting here. Thus far, he 
noted, Haiti has been lucky not to become a consuming 
country. I said we look forward to deepening and broadening 
our existing cooperation with Haiti on drug trafficking; our 
previous efforts had been undermined in part by the virtual 
destruction of the police and other institutions prior to 
2004. I did remind Preval that drugs are not the sole source 
of insecurity and criminality in Haiti. Preval agreed, but 
stated that it was a major factor in corruption, arms dealing 
and diverting resources to the gangs. I informed Preval that 
he will have an opportunity to discuss his concerns directly 
with DEA Administrator Tandy who plans to visit Haiti on 
January 24.  We will be very interested in how the President 
sees Haiti's needs in the fight against drug traffickers and 
what Haiti itself will do. One area in which Haiti can be 
helpful is prosecuting forthwith those drug dealers already 
in its jails. Preval asked a number of questions about the 
current state of drug trafficking on the island and I offered 
to provide him with some briefing materials. 
 
5. (C)  The President told me that he had sat next to 
Colombian President Uribe in Managua and they had spent most 
of the event discussing the regional drug situation, together 
with Dominican President Fernandez. The three agreed to hold 
a "Drug Summit" in the DR in March. Preval believes that 
Jamaica and the Bahamas will also be invited. Venezuela, he 
said, will not because "that would be too political." 
 
HIS HEALTH 
 
PORT AU PR 00000054  002 OF 002 
 
 
---------- 
 
6. (C)  Preval told me that his follow-up medical visit to 
Cuba on December 26 went well. There is no sign of cancer, 
despite elevated PSA levels. The doctors put him on some 
medications, however, and he will be monitored for the next 
two months. Preval said that "friends" (NFI)  are encouraging 
him to get an additional check-up in the U.S. but he has made 
no decisions. He acknowledged that he is quite tired from his 
travels but took no rest during the holidays. (Note. 
Although he looked weary, Preval did not exhibit any other 
signs of illness. End note.) 
 
TRAVEL PLANS 
------------- 
 
7. (SBU)  Preval plans to attend the inauguration of the new 
Ecuadorian President on January 15. He bemoaned the lack of a 
presidential aircraft, saying that using AA and transiting 
Miami takes too long and is exhausting. The Presidency is 
looking at renting a plane which would enable him to get to 
Quito and back in a day. 
 
BIO NOTE. 
-------- 
 
8. (SBU)  Preval said he will celebrate his 64th birthday on 
January 17, which makes him feel "very old."   Typically, the 
Preval family does not make a big fuss over such events, but 
this year his elder daughter, who works for the UNDP in Sri 
Lanka, is returning home to mark the occasion. He may, he 
said, take a day or two off, although he has not had a 
vacation in a couple of years. His old friend and confidant, 
Bob Manuel returns from Guatemala that day, an added bonus, 
he noted. 
SANDERSON 

Latest source of this page is cablebrowser-2, released 2011-10-04