DE RUEHPE #1549 1141754
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 241754Z APR 06
FM AMEMBASSY LIMA
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9956
UNCLAS LIMA 001549
DEPT FOR WHA/AND, USOAS
E.O. 12958: N/A TAGS: PGOV PREL OAS PE SUBJECT: EMBASSY'S ASSESSMENT OF OAS MONITORING OF PERUVIAN ELECTIONS
REF: A. LIMA 1509
B. LIMA 1373
1. As noted in Ref A, Embassy Lima participated in force in the Organization of American States (OAS) Election Observation Mission for the 4/9 Peruvian general elections, and thus had the opportunity to evaluate the Mission's performance at all levels. Lloyd Axworthy's leadership of the delegation was superb. He established credibility by carrying out a broad and intense schedule of consultations leading up to election day, and visited a large sampling of Lima polling sites in the course of the voting itself. Especially in light of the close race among the top three contenders, Axworthy made an important contribution to the public perception that the election had been fair and transparent, and helped to overcome criticisms of the process by candidate Ollanta Humala. Axworthy put himself at personal risk when he helped to extricate Humala from a threatening, potentially volatile situation at Humala's own polling site (Ref B).
2. The Canadian diplomatic mission in Lima also deserves credit for the success of the OAS observer group. Canadian Ambassador Genevieve des Rivieres was an energetic activist in this endeavor, coordinating the recruitment of a sizable group of capable volunteer monitors.
3. The OAS staffers charged with organizing and briefing the volunteer monitors in Lima were in many ways ill-prepared and ineffectual. U.S. personnel participated in two separate briefings by the OAS staff. Both of the briefings started very late; the second, attended by most of the Embassy observers, was an hour behind schedule. The briefing itself was rambling and confusing. Briefing materials were distributed that were not adequately explained, and some of the documentation, such as a massive compendium on Peruvian election laws, was clearly inappropriate. The checklist for monitors that was given out was a poorly executed and practically illegible photostatic copy, and the briefer failed to explain that the checklist was to be used only by the small group of monitors taking part in the "quick count" sampling of election returns. Our Canadian colleagues recounted similar deficiencies at the briefing they received.
4. Embassy requests that USOAS bring this feedback to the attention of officials in the Secretariat for appropriate follow-up action. STRUBLE