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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
06SANJOSE1840 2006-08-18 22:34:00 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy San Jose
Cable title:  

SUCCESSFUL NDU DEMOCRATIC SECURITY SEMINAR

Tags:   PGOV PREL CS 
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VZCZCXYZ0010
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHSJ #1840 2302234
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 182234Z AUG 06
FM AMEMBASSY SAN JOSE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5873
INFO RUEHZA/WHA CENTRAL AMERICAN COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RHMFIUU/CDR USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL PRIORITY
RUWDQAC/COMDT COGARD WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
					  UNCLAS SAN JOSE 001840 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL CS
SUBJECT: SUCCESSFUL NDU DEMOCRATIC SECURITY SEMINAR




1. SUMMARY: With Embassy support, the National Defense
University's Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies (CHDS)
presented a weekend seminar on methodologies for developing a
national-level democratic security strategy to top officials
of the Arias Administration on July 28-31, 2006. The seminar
was funded by U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) and was
designed to assist Costa Rican authorities with refining
security objectives, balancing those objectives against
limited resources and establishing effective measures of
progress. As an additional benefit, extensive contact with
SOUTHCOM personnel enhanced understanding on the part of new
Costa Rican officials of the U.S. military's positive
involvement in regional security. The seminar not only
opened a national security dialogue among GOCR officials who
do not normally work together, but in the case of Public
Security Minister Berrocal (point man on security issues),
seemed to lessen the Tico allergy to things "military".
These are both positive developments. END SUMMARY.



2. High-ranking participants included Vice President Laura
Chinchilla, Minister of Presidency Rodrigo Arias, Minister of
Public Security Fernando Berrocal, and Attorney General
Francisco Dall'Anese. Participation was active and
constructive. Opportunities for informal contact abounded
and many participants commented that, outside of a national
crisis, it would be nearly impossible to get such a diverse
group of Costa Rican officials working together on a
multi-day, national-level project. Participants also
frequently commented on the usefulness of the methodology
presented by the CHDS facilitators. On the final day,
working groups provided presentations of their results and
findings to Rodrigo Arias, who is also brother and closest
advisor to President Oscar Arias.



3. In the wake of the seminar, we have received numerous
requests for copies of presentations by the working groups
and by the facilitators. For example, Police Director
Alpizar told us he needed the information as part of a
planning document the Minister of Public Security has been
tasked to develop for President Arias. This is a direct
result of the seminar. In another case, Vice Minister of
Justice Ferraro requested specific presentations in order to
refine a planning document for the Costa Rican prison system.

COMMENT


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




4. Aside from the progress made in advancing Costa Rica's
strategic thinking in the area of democratic security, the
seminar produced a number of concrete benefits in terms of
relationship building. Perhaps most important was the
opportunity Minister Berrocal had to engage with SOUTHCOM
personnel. One result was progress made toward Costa Rican
participation in the State Partnership program. Another
result was a more nuanced understanding of SOUTHCOM and the
U.S. military's role in regional security. Minister Berrocal
is now so inclined to work with SOUTHCOM that he intends to
reduce the amount of time he spends in Washington during a
planned October visit in order to allow more time to visit
SOUTHCOM HQ in Miami. We view the speed with which the
Minister seemed to shed the typical Costa Rican "allergic
reaction" to all things military as a very positive sign for
the new government. Our follow up will be essential,
however, to keep up the momentum.
FRISBIE