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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
05GUATEMALA807 2005-03-30 23:58:00 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Guatemala
Cable title:  

GUATEMALAN CONCERNS ABOUT "MINUTEMAN PROJECT"

Tags:   SMIG CVIS KFRD ASEC EAID PHUM SNAR KCRM PBTS GT 
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1. The Ambassador received March 30 a letter from Guatemalan
FM Jorge Briz expressing concern about the "Minuteman
Project" and other private U.S. efforts to patrol the border
and intercept illegal migrants. Text of the letter, dated
March 27, follows in para 2. Embassy requests the
Department's guidance in formulating a response.



2. Embassy's informal translation of FM Briz's letter to the
Ambassador:

Mr. Ambassador:

With great concern we have learned of the "Minuteman project"
led by Mr. James W. Gilchrist, Vietnam veteran, to recruit
volunteers for a force which supposedly will track and detect
undocumented aliens to block their entry into the United
States.

In the context of the prevailing situation, Mr. Gilchrist's
proposal follows other illegal organizations such as
"American patrol" and "Ranch Rescue," which combine alarming
characteristics, including racism, "profiling," and
xenophobia -- an explosive combination that in many cases
results in acts of violence.

As you know, Guatemala is making growing efforts to contain
irregular migration to the north, promoting development
projects in areas of greatest outward migration and
coordinating with neighboring countries, particularly with
Mexico, to manage this phenomenon.

It should be noted that this Foreign Ministry welcomed
President Bush's statements on the issue of migration and his
desire to resolve the irregular status of foreigners living
in the United States and facilitate dignified conditions for
them.

In that sense we understand that organizations such as the
above-mentioned respond to uncontrolled extremist initiatives
that operate without institutional control and intend to
assume functions which belong to U.S. authorities.

However, Guatemala cannot stop from expressing its concern
over this type of action, soliciting a response from your
government in order to guarantee the principles which gave
birth to your nation, fundamentally grounded in respect for
human rights.

(complimentary closing)

Jorge Briz



3. Comment & Action Request: Guatemalan media have noted
with alarm recent announcements of incipient U.S. citizen
efforts to patrol the U.S.-Mexico border and assist U.S.
authorities with the interdiction of aliens illegally
entering the U.S. Embassy would appreciate Department's
guidance for responding to FM Briz, particularly on his
allegation that "American Patrol" and "Ranch Rescue" are
"illegal" organizations and whether we have any reason to be
concerned about what the "Minuteman Project" proposes to do.
HAMILTON