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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
06LAPAZ2432
2006-09-08 19:54:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy La Paz
Cable title:  

SCENESETTER FOR VP GARCIA LINERA VISIT

Tags:   BL  ECON  PGOV  PREL 
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FM AMEMBASSY LA PAZ
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INFO RUEHAC/AMEMBASSY ASUNCION 6082
RUEHBO/AMEMBASSY BOGOTA 3401
RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA 7253
RUEHBU/AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES 4517
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS 1782
RUEHPE/AMEMBASSY LIMA 1817
RUEHMN/AMEMBASSY MONTEVIDEO 3997
RUEHQT/AMEMBASSY QUITO 4417
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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 SECTION 01 OF 02 LA PAZ 002432 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/07/2016
TAGS: BL ECON PGOV PREL
SUBJECT: SCENESETTER FOR VP GARCIA LINERA VISIT

REF: LA PAZ 02399

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



1. (C) Summary: Bolivian Vice President Alvaro Garcia
Linera will be in Washington September 10 - 13 to continue
the GOB's push for an extension of ATPDEA benefits. The Vice
President's visit offers the opportunity for us to express
our interest in the stabilization of democracy, the lack of
serious GOB engagement concerning trade, and less than
stellar counternarcotics cooperation. The political climate
in Bolivia is tense. President Morales' MAS party is pushing
a potentially anti-democratic agenda through the Constituent
Assembly (CA), the opposition controlled eastern departments
went on strike on September 8, and social sectors are
increasingly discontent. The Bolivian highlands (Altiplano),
a MAS stronghold, receive the majority of ATPDEA economic
benefits, and for this reason the GOB wants to be seen as
advocating for an extension. Garcia Linera is coming to
Washington unprepared to pay "full price" for continued
access to the US market, but will likely carry up a
"discount" trade proposal. We recommend Washington
interlocutors use the Vice President,s visit as an
opportunity for a frank exchange on the GOB's democratic
credentials. End summary.



2. (C) Garcia Linera,s visit comes as his party,s
militancy threatens to turn the CA into a rubber stamp for
the party's platform. MAS delegates have unilaterally
changed the rules to allow for a simple majority vote and are
positioned to impose on the CA an anti-democratic agenda.
Late on September 7 the CA President halted efforts to ram
through MAS preferred rules and opened dialogue with the
opposition in an apparent effort to reduce support for the
September 8 strike. It is unclear at this point whether the
MAS door will again slam shut when the regional protests
subside. Garcia Linera frequently refers to "communitarian
democracy" and speaks of "isolating and defeating
ultraconservative, regressive, separatist segments which have
entrenched themselves" in the main opposition party. At the
opening of the CA, he spoke of Bolivia as undergoing a
"revolution."



3. (C) While overall public support for the Morales
government has dropped to 61 percent, in the Altiplano it
continues at 81 percent. Political support from the
highlands is critical to the survival of the Morales
government. The Altiplano is the chief beneficiary of ATPDEA
benefits because it is there that most exporters are based.
The GOB wants to be seen as doing all it can to secure an
extension. While the GOB has publicly announced that it is
seeking alternatives to ATPDEA, it also knows that many jobs
depend upon its extension. The GOB has told the Embassy that
the VP will be carrying written proposals regarding APTDEA
and counter-narcotics.



4. (C) The Garcia Linera visit will allow us to deepen the
dialogue on the U.S. - Bolivia relationship, including our
concerns about anti-drug cooperation, legal security for
investments, and the uneven application of rule of law. His
presence in Washington affords us a chance to explore GOB
intentions for the CA and to underscore our strong support
for an inclusive CA. Post recommends the following talking
points:

-- We are willing to listen to what you bring to the table on
trade, but are awaiting your concrete proposals. The
decision to extend ATPDEA belongs with the US Congress, and
we understand you will be speaking with the Hill. ATPDEA was
created as a pathway to an FTA. With your government
dismissive of the prospect of an FTA with us, what are your
arguments for ATPDEA?

-- We are deeply concerned about the Hydrocarbons Minister's
assertion that hydrocarbons contracts are invalid, despite a
Constitutional Tribunal ruling otherwise. Why should
foreigners invest in Bolivia when a decision by the supreme

LA PAZ 00002432 002 OF 002


tribunal of the land is simply dismissed by the President?

-- We are concerned about disturbing reports coming out of
the CA. While we recognize that the CA is an internal matter
for Bolivians, we have heard President Morales express hopes
that what emerges from the CA will be a document that
reflects the will of the people.

-- We agree with the president and note that it is hard to
achieve consensus without compromise. There are many
important interests and regions in Bolivia, and it is
legitimate for differences of opinion to emerge and be
addressed, including those of the minority.


GREENLEE