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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
07ASUNCION306 2007-04-12 22:31:00 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Asuncion
Cable title:  

PARAGUAY: OAS SG STEERS CLEAR OF INTERNAL FIGHTS,

Tags:   KDEM PA PGOV PREL OAS 
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RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHAC #0306 1022231
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 122231Z APR 07
FM AMEMBASSY ASUNCION
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 5593
INFO RUCNMER/MERCOSUR COLLECTIVE
RHEHNSC/WHITE HOUSE NSC WASHDC
RUMIAAA/USCINCSO MIAMI FL//SCJ3/SCJ33/SCJ34/SOCSO LNO//
					  UNCLAS ASUNCION 000306 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

WHA/BSC FOR DOUGLAS BARNES
WHA/USOAS ROBERT MANZANARES

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KDEM PA PGOV PREL OAS
SUBJECT: PARAGUAY: OAS SG STEERS CLEAR OF INTERNAL FIGHTS,
TWEAKS THE U.S. ON ITS LEADERSHIP IN THE REGION

REF: ASUNCION 0177



1. (U) SUMMARY. OAS Secretary General Jose Miguel Insulza
used a visit to Paraguay to focus on the 2008 Presidential
elections but declined to enter the debate on a number of
swirling controversies. He offered generally favorable views
on the state of democracy in Latin America, but criticized
U.S. leadership, remarking that the U.S. had lost authority
in Latin America. Insulza pledged the OAS would observe the
2008 elections. END SUMMARY.



2. (U) In the course of his visit April 11 focusing on
upcoming Presidential elections, Insulza met with political
figures, including President Duarte and opposition party
leaders. The leaders of the opposition parties' National
Coalition' coalition complained about perceived bias within
Paraguay's Elections Tribunal (TSJE) and concerns about the
potential for fraud in the 2008 elections. Insulza, however,
declined to render judgment remarking publicly that he
considered concerns about the country's electoral tribunal to
be quite "normal." He specifically declined to weigh in on
the opposition's efforts to remove two of the TSJE's three
representatives for firing the TSJE's IT Director last
December under alleged political pressure from the ruling
Colorado Party.



3. (U) Commenting more broadly about the state of democracy
in Latin America, Insulza did not register alarm about the
resurgence of the "left" in Latin America, qualifying this
phenomenon as "normal." He remarked that there existed a
risk of conflict if the process ideologies hardened to an
extreme but that he did not presently perceive this to be a
genuine threat. Rejecting the notion there existed a leftist
bloc, he attributed the present shift left in the region to a
rediscovery of the importance of the State's role, implying
conversely a rejection of neoliberalism's message that the
State was the source of all problems. Questioned in his
interview with center-left Paraguayan daily "Ultima Hora"
about whether the OAS or the United States was the guardian
of democracy in Latin America, Insulza responded that he
didn't "believe the U.S. was in a condition to protect
democracy in Latin America." He went on to say that the U.S.
was entangled in other parts of the world and as a result had
lost authority in Latin America.



4. (U) In meeting with TSJE President Juan Manuel Morales
-- one of the two TSJE representatives the opposition would
like to see removed -- Insulza committed the OAS to sending
observers to Paraguay's Presidential election that will
likely be schedule for April 2008. The OAS reported sent
some 100 observers to the 2003 presidential election. to
monitor pre-election and election day activities.



5. (U) COMMENT: Insulza's critique of the U.S. scored a
headline for the paper's interview with Insulza despite the
fact that the interview covered more broadly his views on
democracy in Latin America writ large. No doubt the
opposition welcomes OAS monitoring as a measure of
protection. Of course, more egregious fraud and
irregularities can occur just as readily in the months
running up to elections and the OAS will be in far less a
position to address those kinds of concerns.
CASON