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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
06LAPAZ1795
2006-06-29 21:10:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy La Paz
Cable title:  

MORE ON RELIGIOUS EDUCATION

Tags:   ASCH  APER  AMGT  PGOV  SOCI  PREL  BL 
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VZCZCXRO5235
PP RUEHLMC
DE RUEHLP #1795 1802110
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 292110Z JUN 06
FM AMEMBASSY LA PAZ
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9822
INFO RUEHAC/AMEMBASSY ASUNCION 5974
RUEHBO/AMEMBASSY BOGOTA 3292
RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA 7141
RUEHBU/AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES 4398
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS 1681
RUEHPE/AMEMBASSY LIMA 1683
RUEHMN/AMEMBASSY MONTEVIDEO 3895
RUEHQT/AMEMBASSY QUITO 4312
RUEHSG/AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO 8869
RHMFISS/HQ USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL
RUMIAAA/USCINCSO MIAMI FL
RUEHLMC/MILLENNIUM CHALLENGE CORP
RHEBAAA/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHINGTON DC
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHINGTON DC
						C O N F I D E N T I A L LA PAZ 001795 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR WHA/AND L.PETRONI

E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/29/2016
TAGS: ASCH APER AMGT PGOV SOCI PREL BL
SUBJECT: MORE ON RELIGIOUS EDUCATION

REF: LA PAZ 1711

Classified By: Amb. David N. Greenlee for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).

C O N F I D E N T I A L LA PAZ 001795

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR WHA/AND L.PETRONI

E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/29/2016
TAGS: ASCH APER AMGT PGOV SOCI PREL BL
SUBJECT: MORE ON RELIGIOUS EDUCATION

REF: LA PAZ 1711

Classified By: Amb. David N. Greenlee for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).


1. (C) Summary: Following the GOB's June 22 announcement of
its plan to "decolonize" and secularize education (reftel),
pressure from the Catholic Church led the Morales
administration to soften its position at least as regards
Church interests. The GOB hosted a seminar June 26-28 on its
proposed reforms but provided few details, instead deferring
discussion to an educational congress scheduled for July. On
June 29, the Ambassador contacted the Archbishops of Santa
Cruz and La Paz and the Papal Nuncio to express U.S. support
for private and religious schools' autonomy over their
curricula. The timing of the GOB's education reform
initiative, like all government policies announced in the
past few weeks, is likely intended to secure votes for the
Movement Toward Socialism (MAS) party in the July 2
Constituent Assembly election. We will continue to
coordinate with affected diplomatic community and private and
religious educational interests as we engage with the GOB on
this sensitive issue. End summary.


2. (SBU) Following the GOB's June 22 announcement of its plan
to "decolonize" and secularize education (reftel), La Paz
Archbishop Edmundo Abastoflor and El Alto Bishop Jesus Juarez
met with President Morales June 24 to convey their concerns.
In response, both Morales and Vice President Garcia Linera
publicly affirmed their Catholic faith, thus softening the
GOB's position on religious education. Morales declared
himself a Catholic who also respects indigenous religions and
said he hoped the Pope would do the honors when he marries.
Since June 24, the GOB has repeatedly stated its respect for
religion.


3. (SBU) The GOB hosted a seminar June 26-28 on the proposed
reforms but provided few details, instead deferring
discussion to an educational congress in Sucre, tentatively
scheduled for July. The GOB stated that it would not abolish
private schools but proposed GOB control of both public and
private schools' curricula, which it said should be
"uniform." The GOB proposal includes an increase in
indigenous teachers and trilingual education (Spanish, one
indigenous language, and one foreign language) and asserts
that religious curricula should be optional. Representatives
from the American Cooperative School (also known as Calvert),
who attended without invitation, were not allowed to
participate.


4. (C) On June 29, the Ambassador called the Archbishop of
Santa Cruz, Cardinal Julio Terrazas, to express U.S. support
for private and religious schools' autonomy over their
curricula and convey solidarity with the Catholic Church's
position in this context. The Cardinal was pleased to learn
of explicit White House interest in the issue. Terrazas said
the Church had received mixed signals from the GOB, but that
Vice President Garcia Linera had assured him that all reform
initiatives would be subject to dialogue and none would be
issued by Supreme Decree. The Ambassador also conveyed U.S.
concerns to the Papal Nuncio, Ivo Scapolo, and Archbishop of
La Paz Abastoflor in person on June 29. Abastoflor said that
when he met with Morales, the president was
nonconfrontational and seemingly flexible.


5. (C) Comment: The GOB's education reform, like all
government policies announced in the past few weeks, is
likely intended to secure votes for the Movement Toward
Socialism (MAS) party in the July 2 Constituent Assembly
election. We will continue to coordinate closely.with
affected diplomatic community and school entities and will
press for balance in our dialogue with the highest levels of
the GOB. End comment.
GREENLEE