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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
09LIMA717 2009-05-19 20:44:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Lima
Cable title:  

PERU REVIEW FOR SUSPENSION OF TITLE III OF THE

Tags:   ETTC ETRD PREL CU PE 
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1. (U) Following is Post's response to reftel questions.

GOP EFFORTS TO PROMOTE DEMOCRACY AND HUMAN RIGHTS IN CUBA


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2. (C) Peru's leadership, including President Garcia,
has taken an ambivalent approach to promoting a democratic
transition in Cuba, and believe the current leadership
situation -- with Raul Castro formally in charge and Fidel
Castro still alive, presumably influencing events in some
manner from behind the scenes -- is fundamentally
sensitive. Some GOP officials believe a political opening
in Cuba will become more likely once Fidel dies
and Raul is able to pursue policies unconcerned by his
brother,s potentially critical reaction. President Garcia
has noted that incipient signs of a possible Cuban
opening -- i.e. performance pay for public officials, cell
phone access -- should be encouraged. At the same time,
GOP officials emphasize that any transition process toward
democracy should be led by the Cuban people and that
attempts at outside actors to shape the outcome could cause
a counterproductive backlash. GOP favors integrating Cuba
into regional groupings such as the Summit of the Americas.

PUBLIC STATEMENTS OR ACTION CONDEMNING HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES


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3. (C) In a series of public statements surrounding the
EU-LAC Summit in May 2008, President Garcia argued that the
only way for any country that has not joined the system of
democratic freedoms and the world economy is to follow the
path of elections, freedom of the press and freedom for
those who suffer because of their political ideas or
positions. Government officials told us these statements
were a clear allusion to the continuing absence of
freedom in Cuba.

HIGH LEVEL VISITS


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4. (SBU) Peru's former Health Minister Hernan Garrido
Lecca visited Cuba in late April of 2008 -- the first such
high level visit in recent memory. Tentative early plans
for a follow-on visit by the Foreign Minister later, to
signal a thaw in bilateral relations and to encourage signs
of incipient reform under Raul Castro, have not come to
fruition.

PERUVIAN INVESTMENTS IN CUBA


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5. (U) Post has not found any reliable data on
Peruvian investments in Cuba. The vast majority
of Peru's limited foreign direct investment is in
Mexico, Bolivia, Ecuador, Central America, and the
Cayman Islands.

BILATERAL TRADE AND COOPERATIVE AGREEMENTS


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6. (U) Under the 1980 Montevideo Treaty establishing
the Latin American Integration Association (LAIA),
also known as ALADI, Peru and Cuba both belong to the
Economic Complementation Agreement No. 50. Other member
countries include: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile,
Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, Paraguay, Uruguay, and
Venezuela. Peru and Cuba also hold a bilateral investment
agreement. Trade between the two countries is small.
From January through December 2008, the approximate value
of Peru's exports to Cuba totaled over USD 4.0 million.
About 75 percent of Peru's exports to Cuba consisted of:
polymer plates, laminates, sheets, strips, bags, cones
and adhesives; books, brochures and similar printed

materials; and frozen, dry, salted or briny squid
and cuttlefish. Peru imports just over half a million
dollars worth of products from Cuba per year, including
rum, vaccines and medical products.

PERU-CUBA EXCHANGE PROGRAMS


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7. (SBU) In 1999 the two countries signed a Basic
Agreement on Technical Cooperation, but little has
been implemented under this agreement due to lack of
financing and prioritization. In 2008, then-Health
Minister Hernan Garrido Lecca signed several agreements
to formalize Cuban medical support in Peru. According
to one agreement, the GOP will provide funds in exchange
for Cuban doctors and medical expertise. The Minister
also signed an agreement to establish ophthalmology
center in Cusco. A third agreement allows a Cuban
medical brigade that has helped Peruvian victims of the
2007 earthquake in Ica to remain in the country
longer-term. About 40 Peruvian students study medicine
and physical education in Cuba on GOC scholarships
at any given time.
MCKINLEY