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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
06BRIDGETOWN1133
2006-07-03 14:35:00
CONFIDENTIAL//NOFORN
Embassy Bridgetown
Cable title:  

CARIBBEAN CHUTZPAH OVER WHALING

Tags:   AORC  EAID  EFIS  PGOV  PREL  SENV  JA  XL 
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VZCZCXRO8121
PP RUEHHM RUEHPB
DE RUEHWN #1133/01 1841435
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 031435Z JUL 06
FM AMEMBASSY BRIDGETOWN
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2830
INFO RUCNCOM/EC CARICOM COLLECTIVE
RUEHZN/ENVIRONMENT SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COLLECTIVE
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 0085
RUMIAAA/HQ USSOUTHCOM J2 MIAMI FL
RUMIAAA/HQ USSOUTHCOM J5 MIAMI FL
RUEHCV/USDAO CARACAS VE
						C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 BRIDGETOWN 001133 

SIPDIS

NOFORN
SIPDIS

STATE FOR OES/OA JOHN FIELD
SOUTHCOM ALSO FOR POLAD

E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/27/2016
TAGS: AORC EAID EFIS PGOV PREL SENV JA XL
SUBJECT: CARIBBEAN CHUTZPAH OVER WHALING

REF: BRIDGETOWN 785

Classified By: DCM Mary Ellen T. Gilroy for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 BRIDGETOWN 001133

SIPDIS

NOFORN
SIPDIS

STATE FOR OES/OA JOHN FIELD
SOUTHCOM ALSO FOR POLAD

E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/27/2016
TAGS: AORC EAID EFIS PGOV PREL SENV JA XL
SUBJECT: CARIBBEAN CHUTZPAH OVER WHALING

REF: BRIDGETOWN 785

Classified By: DCM Mary Ellen T. Gilroy for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).


1. (C/NOFORN) Summary: Caribbean countries displayed
considerable chutzpah during the June meeting of the
International Whaling Commission (IWC) in St. Kitts. Eastern
Caribbean delegates to the IWC accused Western nations of
practicing colonialism and racism by attempting to keep in
place the international ban on whaling at the same time the
Caribbeans voted in lockstep with their paymaster, Japan, to
end the whaling moratorium. While Japan and its Caribbean
allies were unsuccessful in overturning the ban, they were
able to push through a resolution calling it unnecessary.
Eastern Caribbean governments justified their position as
being consistent with the sustainable use of natural
resources and criticized threats by environmentalists to
begin a tourism boycott of the region as "economic
terrorism." The extreme defensiveness displayed by regional
governments suggests that holding the annual IWC meeting in
the Eastern Caribbean brought more attention to the region's
controversial position on whaling than had been expected.
End summary.

--------------
Caribbean Supports Japan, Criticizes West
--------------


2. (U) The six Eastern Caribbean nations (Antigua and
Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia,
and St. Vincent and the Grenadines) attending the June 16-20
IWC meeting in St. Kitts offered unqualified support for
Japan's effort to end the international ban on whaling.
Japan and its allies did not overturn the ban, which requires
a three-quarters vote of the IWC, but did put through a
resolution requiring only a majority vote calling the 1986
whaling ban unnecessary (septel).



3. (U) Throughout the IWC meeting, Eastern Caribbean
delegates and government officials strongly criticized those
countries that seek to uphold the whaling moratorium. Among
the harshest charges were indictments of Western nations as
being colonialist and racist for attempting to force their
views upon others, of seeking to prohibit whaling in order to
require countries to import their beef, and of being
intolerant of different cultures. The Grenada delegate went
so far as to call Western nations hypocrites for tolerating
"gays and lesbians" but failing to tolerate cultures that
"eat whale meat."

--------------
We Are Not Bought By Japan
--------------


4. (U) Accusations that Caribbean countries had sold
themselves to support Japan's quest to end the ban on whaling
in return for aid (reftel) drew sharp rebukes from Eastern
Caribbean delegates to the IWC, several of whom said that
such disrespect toward the region amounted to racism. An
editorial in the "Grenadian Voice" newspaper argued, however,
that it was Japan that showed a lack of respect for the
Caribbean by forcing it to support Japan's "unlawful
plundering of the seas" in return for aid. St. Vincent Prime
Minister Ralph Gonsalves appeared to confirm this linkage
when, in response to a reporter's question about why his
country supports ending the whaling ban, the PM blurted out,
"The Japanese want us...." Gonsalves caught himself before
finishing the sentence, then offered a more nuanced answer in
keeping with the Caribbean's approved talking points.

--------------
Whales Eat Fish ) We Can Eat Whales
--------------


5. (U) Whales are a threat to local fishing stocks, was one
claim made by the Eastern Caribbean to justify lifting the
whaling moratorium. Another envisions the region taking up
whaling as a means to supplement the local food supply and
decrease its reliance on imports. These far-fetched
assertions come not from countries that have large commercial
fishing industries that could potentially expand into whaling
but from islands that rely upon small, individually owned
fishing boats to bring in the daily catch. Eastern Caribbean

BRIDGETOWN 00001133 002 OF 002


governments lament the minute scale of the fishing industry
and routinely encourage their citizens to maximize the
economic potential of the sea to no avail. In Dominica, this
includes a Government effort begun in May to better utilize
the often-deserted US$15.12 million fishing complex built by
Japan as part of the extensive aid given, critics believe,
for supporting an end to the whaling ban (reftel).

--------------
Tourism Boycott is Economic Terrorism
--------------


6. (U) "Economic terrorism" is how Eastern Caribbean IWC
delegates described the threat by environmentalists to
promote a tourism boycott of nations that voted to end the
whaling ban. The delegates vowed defiance of this threat,
while tourism sector representatives displayed considerable
unease with the impact such a boycott could have on the
tourism-dependent economies of the Eastern Caribbean. The
Dominica Hotel and Tourism Association called upon the
Government of Dominica to send a clear message and vote to
keep the whaling ban in place, otherwise this small country
that has dubbed itself the "Nature Isle" and markets itself
to eco-tourists could suffer economically.

--------------
Eastern Caribbean Chutzpah
--------------


7. (C/NOFORN) Comment: The rhetoric displayed by Eastern
Caribbean delegates to the IWC was particularly harsh,
defensive, and for those who frequently claim to take
"principled stands," hypocritical. Regional officials may
not have expected their support of Japan's controversial
position on whaling to draw so much negative attention when
they agreed to host the IWC's annual meeting. After being
backed into a corner, the tart-tongued delegates and slightly
more rhetorically nuanced government officials at home
reverted to playing predictable colonialism, racism, and
intolerance cards in an attempt to defend themselves.
Observers from developed countries note that Caribbean
leaders are apt to criticize colonialism but habitually have
their hand out for aid from wealthy countries. The
remarkable level of hypocrisy shown by the Eastern Caribbeans
at the IWC was chutzpah at its worst. End comment.
KRAMER