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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
05GUATEMALA819
2005-03-31 17:37:00
UNCLASSIFIED
Embassy Guatemala
Cable title:  

LETTER TO SECRETARY RICE FROM GUATEMALAN FM BRIZ

Tags:   PREL  SMIG  PHUM  ASEC  SNAR  EAID  MASS  PREF  PTER  KCOR  KDEM  GT 
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This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
						UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 GUATEMALA 000819 

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL SMIG PHUM ASEC SNAR EAID MASS PREF PTER KCOR KDEM GT
SUBJECT: LETTER TO SECRETARY RICE FROM GUATEMALAN FM BRIZ


UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 GUATEMALA 000819

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL SMIG PHUM ASEC SNAR EAID MASS PREF PTER KCOR KDEM GT
SUBJECT: LETTER TO SECRETARY RICE FROM GUATEMALAN FM BRIZ



1. Embassy received late March 30 a letter from Guatemalan
FM Jorge Briz to the Secretary. Text follows in para 2. The
letter argues for greater cooperation in combatting
narco-trafficking, alien smuggling and trafficking in persons
by providing spare parts, training and other resources to
Guatemalan police and military, including FMF and IMET.


2. Begin text of FM Briz's letter to the Secretary:

March 29, 2005

Dear Madam Secretary,

It is with great pleasure that I write to you today
congratulating you for your confirmation as Secretary of
State. While wishing you the best personally as well as
professionally in this important and challenging task that
you are about to endeavor, I would also like to hope for the
best of joys to you and your family in this new year.

Likewise, I would like to offer you the best of my knowledge
and understanding in advancing and strengthening our
bilateral relations that happily exist between both of our
governments and people, and which currently are in their best
historical moments.

As our countries move forward in a globalized world, threats
and interests have internationalized without recognition of
borders. Guatemala is going through very important changes,
especially in the work against corruption and the rescuing of
democratic institutions, but as you also may be aware, there
are some issues -- particularly in the security arena (the
fight against Organized Crime that includes Drug Traffic,
Trafficking in Persons, and Alien Smuggling) -- that need
stronger cooperation and understanding of allies and friendly
countries. In Guatemala, the Administration of President
Berger is fighting this kind of threat with national
resources and the cooperation of the United States.

The spillover from the fight against these mutual threats (in
which the United States is fully engaged, particularly in
Colom
bia, the Andean region and Mexico) is forcing Organize
Crime (drug lords, particularly) to search for alternative
countries to continue doing business as usual. Due to our
unique geographical position (border with Mexico and NAFTA),
Guatemala is being used by criminals as a transit area to
ultimately reach north, corrupting in their path private and
public people while endangering the health and well-being of
our society.

Furthermore, a new threat has arisen in our society: the
street gangs (maras). The administration of President
Berger, with the help of the police force, is aiming to fight
and restrain this new threat. According to intelligence,
these "street gangs" are not only involved in common crime
but are also being used by Organized Crime (drug traffickers,
traffickers in persons, and alien smugglers) to divert the
efforts of our National Police.

In 2004 President Berger reduced our military in half
complying with state commitments under the Peace Accords. A
significant portion of the military budget was then
re-directed to social spending. We were accordingly forced
to engage the military (border patrols), not only in the
fight against Organized Crime (drug traffickers, alien
smugglers and traffickers in persons) -- who have access to
very sophisticated combat equipment -- but also in assisting
to control the street gangs as our yet small police force
(5,800 elements) do not suffice.

Having said that and due to: (a) the dimension of the
threats; (b) the different borders (Mexico, Salvadoran,
Honduran and the adjacency zone with Belize) and territorial
sea that need to be patrolled and controlled by the military
force and; (c) the increase of common crime and violence that
threaten our democratic governance and which is being fought
by combined forces (National Civil Police and Military), we
believe that a profound strategy between both our countries
needs to be developed and should include, among other issues,
the following:


1. A more thorough engagement in the fight against Drug
Trafficking, Alien Smuggling and Trafficking in Persons.
This can include sharing technology, spare parts for
different equipment, training and the commitment of greater
financial resources to our National Police Force and the
Military.


2. Cooperation in looking for new avenues to help lift the
ban imposed by the US Congress on Guatemalan Military access
to programs like Foreign Military Financing (FMF) and
International Military Education and Training (IMET).


3. Cooperation on all fronts to our National Civil Police in
the fight against (street gangs) "las maras."

Last but not least, I would like to take this opportunity to
extend to you on behalf of my government an invitation to
visit Guatemala at a time you consider the most appropriate
moment.
Hoping to work with you in the near future, I avail myself of
the opportunity to renew to you my highest consideration and
personal esteem.
/s/

Jorge Briz Abularach
Ministro de Relaciones Exteriores

End of text.
HAMILTON