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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
06BRIDGETOWN312
2006-02-17 17:44:00
UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY
Embassy Bridgetown
Cable title:  

ST. LUCIA: FORMER PRIME MINISTER CONCERNED ABOUT

Tags:  PGOV PREL PINR ENRG CU VE ST XL 
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VZCZCXRO1512
PP RUEHGR
DE RUEHWN #0312/01 0481744
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 171744Z FEB 06
FM AMEMBASSY BRIDGETOWN
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1907
INFO RUCNCOM/EC CARICOM COLLECTIVE
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS 1374
RUEHCV/USDAO CARACAS VE
RUMIAAA/HQ USSOUTHCOM J2 MIAMI FL
RUMIAAA/HQ USSOUTHCOM J5 MIAMI FL
						UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 BRIDGETOWN 000312 

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPT FOR WHA/CAR AND OAS
SOUTHCOM ALSO FOR POLAD

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL PINR ENRG CU VE ST XL
SUBJECT: ST. LUCIA: FORMER PRIME MINISTER CONCERNED ABOUT
TIES TO VENEZUELA AND CUBA

REF: A. 05 BRIDGETOWN 1698


B. 05 BRIDGETOWN 1954



1. (SBU) Summary: Former St. Lucia Prime Minister John
Compton has warned against the deepening ties between CARICOM
member states, Venezuela and Cuba. Compton, leader of the
opposition United Workers Party, expressed his concern that
St. Lucia Prime Minister Kenny Anthony and other Caribbean
leaders are in danger of putting the region on a
confrontation course with the U.S. by cozying up to
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and Cuban President Fidel
Castro. The former PM fears that the U.S. may retaliate
against St. Lucia by issuing a travel advisory that could
devastate its tourism industry. Compton is likely expressing
genuine concern over the region's increasing ties with these
undemocratic states, while also seeking to make this a
political issue in advance of elections that are expected in
St. Lucia later this year. End summary.



--------------------------


An Anti-American Alliance


--------------------------





2. (U) St. Lucia opposition leader John Compton recently
expressed to the press his concern over the Caribbean's
increasingly "warm relations" with Venezuela and Cuba.
Compton, who served as St. Lucia PM from 1964 to 1979 and
again from 1982 to 1996, warned that CARICOM members could
run the risk of antagonizing the U.S. by cozying up to these
two states whose deepening alliance is clearly anti-American.
Compton said that St. Lucia must be "wary" of this trend
because of the small nation's economic dependence on the
U.S., from which more than a third of all tourists traveling
to the island originate.



--------------------------


Possible Confrontation in the OAS


--------------------------





3. (SBU) Compton believes that Venezuela's efforts to
increase its influence in the Caribbean through the
PetroCaribe oil initiative and direct aid to the Eastern
Caribbean's small, economically troubled island states may
put the region on the wrong side of a U.S.-Venezuela dispute.
"We are getting ourselves deep into the water and we do not
have a life jacket," he told the press. Compton explained
during a recent meeting with Poloff that Venezuelan President
Chavez will one day find his "back against the wall" in the
OAS where the U.S. may seek a vote condemning Venezuela over
human rights, a stolen election or some other issue. Chavez
will then call upon his Caribbean allies for support in an
organization where they constitute nearly half the member
states. If they do, the U.S., he believes, will retaliate.
In the case of St. Lucia, Compton suggested that the USG
could issue a travel advisory warning of the country's
increasing crime problem, which would devastate the tourism
industry.



4. (SBU) Note: In St. Vincent, leaders of the opposition New
Democratic Party expressed a similar concern over Prime
Minister Ralph Gonsalves's increasingly warm relations with
Presidents Chavez and Castro. They recently asked Poloff if
the USG would punish St. Vincent by lowering the "quota" of
visas issued to Vincentians or even by cutting them off from
visas altogether. End note.



--------------------------


Cold War Behavior


--------------------------





5. (U) St. Lucia PM Kenny Anthony strongly denounced his
predecessor's remarks regarding Venezuela and Cuba. Saying
to the press that Compton's attitude toward Cuba "reeks of
Cold War behavior," Anthony went out of his way to defend the
close ties between CARICOM members and the communist state,
which, he explained, is providing the region with extensive
medical aid and educating hundreds of Caribbean students at
Cuban universities (ref B).



--------------------------


Will Cuba and Venezuela be an Election Issue?


--------------------------





6. (SBU) Comment: When John Compton expresses his concern

BRIDGETOWN 00000312 002 OF 002


over the Caribbean's deepening ties with Cuba and Venezuela,
the conservative former PM is probably displaying a genuine
unease with the direction in which current leaders are taking
the region. Typically well disposed to the U.S., Compton may
also be preparing to make the evolving relationships with
Cuba and Venezuela a political issue in advance of national
elections due in St. Lucia by the end of 2006. The
opposition attempted to do so in St. Vincent during the
campaign leading up to that nation's December 2005 election
(ref A), where the issue failed to resonate with voters. In
St. Lucia, voters may also be willing to overlook the more
troubling aspects of the Venezuelan and Cuban regimes because
of the aid they provide. End comment.
KRAMER