|07BUENOSAIRES374||2007-02-27 21:10:00||UNCLASSIFIED||Embassy Buenos Aires|
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UNCLAS BUENOS AIRES 000374
1. (SBU) Summary: Ambassador spoke February 27 with Acting
Foreign Minister Roberto Garcia Moritan and DCM spoke with
Secretary General of the Presidency Oscar Parilli to express
our concerns regarding local press reports that the GoA was
facilitating the organization of an anti-U.S. rally for
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez during Chavez' scheduled
visit to Buenos Aires next week, to coincide with President
Bush's visit to Uruguay. Both assured us that the GoA was
"absolutely not" involved in organizing any such rallies or
demonstrations. Parilli called the press reports "a shame"
and both noted that the visit was still not confirmed.
However, Parilli did say that it would be difficult for the
GoA to stop Chavez from doing his own public events that
often turn "anti-yanqui," as he has been known to do on past
visits. Ambassador and DCM made the point that any public
anti-U.S. event in Buenos Aires organized by or for Chavez
would reflect badly on the GoA even if the GoA is not
involved in its organization, and could seriously undermine
our mutual efforts to improve relations. End Summary.
2. (SBU) An article in the daily of record, La Nacion, on
February 24 reported that the GoA was working with a number
of piquetero groups to organize an anti-U.S. rally March 9
for visiting Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, to coincide
with President Bush's visit to Uruguay. Ambassador spoke
February 27 with Deputy Foreign Minister Roberto Garcia
Moritan, who is acting Foreign Minister this week while
Minister Taiana is in South Africa, and DCM spoke with
Secretary General of the Presidency Oscar Parilli, cited in
the newspaper article as the Casa Rosada official involved in
planning the supposed event.
3. (SBU) With Garcia Moritan, the Ambassador noted our work
to build a mature and positive relationship and stressed his
serious concerns at reading the press reports about the GoA
helping to organize anti-US demonstrations during Chavez'
visit. If true, the Ambassador stressed, such actions would
seriously undermine our work to improve relations. The
acting Foreign Minister told Ambassador that the government
would "absolutely not" be involved in organizing any rallies
or demonstrations during the possible upcoming visit of
President Chavez. He said that Chavez might come to Buenos
Aires to finalize the deal to fund the Sancor dairy company
(reftels) and to sign some other agriculture-related
agreements, but the visit specifics are not yet set. The
government, he said, will not organize or help organize any
rallies, if Chavez does come. He also stated that when
Chavez came to Cordoba, Argentina in November 2006 for a
Mercosur summit, he did attend a rally organized by groups
sympathetic to him, but the government did not attend and
advised him to be respectful of other countries with whom
Argentina has friendly relations while on Argentine soil.
"And Argentina considers the United States to be a friend,"
Garcia Moritan said, and that "we will follow the same
approach if Chavez visits" in March.
4. (SBU) Garcia Moritan said that the MFA had also been
surprised by the February 24 articlele in La Nacion reporting
this information. He said that on learning of U.S. concern,
he had earlier that day called Foreign Minister Taiana in
South Africa. Taiana made several calls, he said, and then
let Garcia Moritan know that the government would "absolutely
not" be involved in organizing any anti-U.S. rallies, and
that they have no information about such rallies being
planned. He said the Ministry would share any related
information if it received it and invited us to call
immediately if the Embassy received such information. "If we
have any guests, we will expect them to treat our friends
with respect," said Garcia Moritan. In response to my
repeated stress on U.S. efforts to build a positive and
mature relationship, Garcia Moritan said, "Our intention is
to work hard for a positive relationship with the United
States." Ambassador thanked him for his message.
5. (SBU) DCM spoke February 27 with Oscar Parilli, the
Secretary General of the Presidency, and one of the persons
cited in Saturday,s La Nacion newspaper article as being
involved in planning with Chavez the March 9 anti-U.S. rally
in Buenos Aires. Parilli denied in the strongest terms that
the GoA was doing anything in promoting a public, anti-U.S.
event in Buenos Aires during a possible Chavez visit in early
March. He called the story "una verguenza" (a shame).
First he said that the Chavez visit to Argentina is not
confirmed and that nothing has been done in terms of planning
any official Kirchner/Chavez meetings. He did say, however,
that there was a possibility that Chavez would be visisting
to follow-up the Kirchner visit to Venezuela last week (ref.
A). He assured that the GoA would certainly have nothing to
do with any public act of the sort described in the La Nacion
article, and he blamed unfriendly journalists who look for
nothing but bad news to report. However, he did say that the
GoA would not be able to stop Chavez from doing his own
public events that often turn "anti-yanqui," as he has been
known to do on past visits.
6. (SBU) DCM expressed relief that the basic facts of the La
Nacion article were apparently untrue. He noted that the
U.S. and Argentina had made great progress in overcoming some
of the bad "bilateral" consequences that developed following
the November 2005 Summit of the Americas and Chavez,
"anti-summit" in Mar del Plata. In this particular case, the
anti-summit was organized with some degree of GoA support and
participation. DCM said that any public anti-U.S. event in
Buenos Aires organized by or for Chavez would reflect badly
on the GoA, even if the GoA is not involved in its
organization. Parilli repeated that it would be difficult
for the GoA to stand in the way of a Chavez gathering with
his supporters, including a number of pro-GoA piquetero
groups (with whom Parilli admitted having some direct contact
as part of his job at the Casa Rosada). DCM asked Parilli to
do whatever he could to prevent any perception that Kirchner
and Chavez were coordinating anti-U.S. activity during
President Bush,s upcoming visit to the region. Parilli
agreed to remain in contact with the Embassy in the coming
days and expressed the hope that the positive bilateral
momentum in recent months would be maintained. DCM suggested
that a GoA denial of the La Nacion report would go a long way
in putting this story to bed. Parilli suggested that this
would not be possible.
7. The Ambassador has requested to talk to Chief of Cabinet
Minister Alberto Fernandez and Planning Minister De Vido
about the same issue.