|06SANJOSE88||2006-01-13 13:39:00||CONFIDENTIAL||Embassy San Jose|
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
C O N F I D E N T I A L SAN JOSE 000088
1. (C) Dear General Craddock: I am writing to seek your
support for an inititiative to engage early on with the new
Costa Rican leadership team before it enters office and while
it is still forming its governing agenda. During my
consultations in Washington before coming to post, I met with
Dr. Richard Downie of the Center for Hemispheric Defense
Studies. He described the Center's organization of National
Security Planning Workshops (NSPW) in Panama, Peru and
Paraguay and proposed to organize one for Costa Rica. These
workshops gather senior members of incoming administrations
and their appropriate counterparts from the USG, over a
period of some 2-3 days, in an off-site format to formulate a
draft national security strategy. This strikes me as an
ideal vehicle for us to advance our interests in Costa Rica
with the new administration.
2. (C) The polls in Costa Rica indicate that Oscar Arias,
who was president in 1986-1990, is certain to win the
election. He will take office on May 8. When I made my
introductory call on Arias on December 7 (reftel), I
described for him in general terms the NSPW concept. Arias
responded that such a workshop could be "a good idea."
My staff later followed up with Arias's running mate as
second vice president, who suggested we discuss the idea in
detail immediately following the elections.
3. (C) I am under no illusions that dealing with a President
Arias will always be a smooth matter, but we have to
recognize that he is potentially an important leader in Latin
America and the world beyond the borders of Costa Rica due to
his Nobel Prize and past world status. He envisions himself
as a player on a larger stage.
4. (C) Though I left the session at CHDS with the strong
impression that they had adequate budget to cover the full
costs of such an endeavor (which I understood would be on the
order of $40-50,000), subsequent follow-up by my staff with
CHDS indicates that funding such a workshop is not so simple.
I would appreciate it if you would consider SOUTHCOM
participation in and funding of an NSPW in Costa Rica. We
believe that an NSPW would provide us with a chance to
influence the security policies of the Arias government in
the right direction and secure Arias's support for adopting a
regional approach to deal with common security challenges in
Central America. That would be well worth a small