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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
06SANJOSE777 2006-04-07 22:37:00 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy San Jose
Cable title:  

DEPUTIES-ELECT OF RULING NATIONAL LIBERATION PARTY

Tags:   PGOV CS 
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VZCZCXYZ0060
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHSJ #0777/01 0972237
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 072237Z APR 06
FM AMEMBASSY SAN JOSE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4715
INFO RUEHZA/WHA CENTRAL AMERICAN COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
					  UNCLAS SAN JOSE 000777 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR WHA/CEN JASON MACK

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV CS
SUBJECT: DEPUTIES-ELECT OF RULING NATIONAL LIBERATION PARTY
(PLN) COMMITTED TO CAFTA-DR

REF: A. SAN JOSE 569


B. SAN JOSE 707

C. SAN JOSE 727

-------
SUMMARY
-------



1. For the fourth and final breakfast honoring newly elected
deputies to Costa Rica's Legislative Assembly, the Ambassador
hosted the largest faction, the National Liberation Party
(PLN), on April 6. While individual conversations tended to
focus on security issues and the party's anticipated struggle
to ratify the U.S.-Central America-Dominican Republic Free
Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR), faction leaders took the
opportunity to not-so-subtly ask for financial assistance
from the USG. End Summary.



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


"CONGRATULATIONS, NOW GET MOVING"


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





2. On April 6, Ambassador Langdale hosted a breakfast at his
residence for the newly elected legislative representatives
from the PLN. This was the fourth such event in the
Embassy's effort to become better acquainted with incoming
deputies. The party of President-elect Oscar Arias, the PLN,
will hold the largest bloc in the 2006-2010 Legislative
Assembly, with 25 deputies. Of the 25, all but three
attended the breakfast. (Comment: This contrasts with a
recent cocktail reception for the diplomatic corps hosted by
the PLN itself, which managed to draw only three of the newly
elected deputies. End comment.)



3. In his welcoming remarks, Ambassador Langdale lauded
Costa Rica's continued collaboration in promoting democracy
and economic development in the region, and for combating
narco-trafficking and child commercial sexual exploitation.
He expressed USG concern over Costa Rica's delay in ratifying
CAFTA-DR and highlighted some of the potentially damaging
economic consequences of the delay, including the exodus of
Costa Rican apparel companies to countries that have already
implemented the agreement.



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

-
"WE'RE DOING OUR BEST, BUT NEED MORE RESOURCES


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

-



4. Faction chief Mayi Antillon responded to the Ambassador
with a plea for USG understanding of the difficulties faced
by the incoming government in its quest to ratify and
implement CAFTA-DR. This was a recurring theme at the
breakfast, as the assembled deputies acknowledged that
CAFTA-DR ratification will be a long time coming. Antillon
further expressed her belief that Costa Rica will rise to the
occasion with all of Latin America watching, and approve
CAFTA-DR. Following her statement that CAFTA-DR will be
adopted, Antillon spoke positively about the Small Business
Administration, and how its educational programs would be
helpful in preparing small firms to take advantage of
opportunities created by CAFTA-DR.



5. Francisco Pacheco, the likely future president of the
Legislative Assembly, stated that Costa Rica and the U.S. are
allies not for convenience, but by conviction. Echoing
Antillon, he expressed similar confidence in CAFTA-DR's
eventual adoption, and similarly made a plea for assistance.
Pacheco spoke wistfully of the days when USAID had a country
program in Costa Rica, stating, to the amusement of the
assembled deputies-elect, that Costa Ricans remember the
assistance much better than does the USG.



6. Most conversations during breakfast concerned efforts to
ratify and implement CAFTA-DR, and how to address the
concerns of CAFTA-DR's opponents. All of the assembled
deputies-elect acknowledged the need for a "complementary
agenda," designed to improve the country's infrastructure and
minimize any short-term negative impact of CAFTA-DR by
providing retraining and small business startup assistance.
Security also played prominently in our discussion,
reflecting the growing public concern with the rise of
increasingly violent crime. Several deputies-elect stated
that in addition to hiring and training more police, Costa
Rica needs to focus on preventing crime within neighborhoods
and communities, relying on a grassroots approach to crime
reduction.



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


COMMENT


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






7. Throughout the morning event, Embassy officers were
impressed by the level of party discipline exhibited by the
deputies-elect. The large attendance at the breakfast was
attributable not only to the draw of the U.S. Ambassador, but
also to a craftily scheduled meeting for the faction, held
immediately after the breakfast at the nearby home of one of
the deputies-elect. With the largest bloc in the Legislative
Assembly, and facing tremendous pressure from both sides in
the CAFTA-DR debate, party leadership will likely continue to
exert a concerted effort to maintain party unity.
LANGDALE