Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
09SAOPAULO273
2009-05-12 16:48:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Consulate Sao Paulo
Cable title:  

GOVERNOR JOSE SERRA STRONGLY POSITIONED FOR 2010,

Tags:  PREL PGOV PINR EFIN ETRD ECON BR 
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DE RUEHSO #0273/01 1321648
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P 121648Z MAY 09
FM AMCONSUL SAO PAULO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9169
INFO RUEHAC/AMEMBASSY ASUNCION PRIORITY 3742
RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA PRIORITY 0321
RUEHBU/AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES PRIORITY 3495
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS PRIORITY 0804
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ PRIORITY 4104
RUEHMN/AMEMBASSY MONTEVIDEO PRIORITY 2904
RUEHSG/AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO PRIORITY 2742
RUEHRG/AMCONSUL RECIFE PRIORITY 4359
RUEHRI/AMCONSUL RIO DE JANEIRO PRIORITY 9139
RUEAWJF/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
RHMFISS/CDR USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 SAO PAULO 000273 

SIPDIS

STATE FOR WHA/BSC,
NSC FOR ROSSELLO

E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/14/2018
TAGS: PREL PGOV PINR EFIN ETRD ECON BR
SUBJECT: GOVERNOR JOSE SERRA STRONGLY POSITIONED FOR 2010,
SAYS FORMER PRESIDENT CARDOSO

REF: A. SAOPAULO090

B. 08SAOPAULO679

C. 08SAOPAULO581

Classified By: Consul General Thomas White; Reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 SAO PAULO 000273

SIPDIS

STATE FOR WHA/BSC,
NSC FOR ROSSELLO

E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/14/2018
TAGS: PREL PGOV PINR EFIN ETRD ECON BR
SUBJECT: GOVERNOR JOSE SERRA STRONGLY POSITIONED FOR 2010,
SAYS FORMER PRESIDENT CARDOSO

REF: A. SAOPAULO090

B. 08SAOPAULO679

C. 08SAOPAULO581

Classified By: Consul General Thomas White; Reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).


1. (C) Summary: Sao Paulo Governor and leading candidate
for the PSDB nomination Jose Serra will likely win Brazil's
presidency in 2010, Brazil President Fernando Henrique
Cardoso told the Ambassador on April 23. Serra's academic
background, his strong ethic of public service and the
Governor's "rags-to-riches" success story will all help him
during the election. Serra rival Aecio Neves would be an
excellent VP candidate, according to Cardoso, but now is not
Neves's time. Serra's likely rival, Dilma Roussef, is
saddled with a series of problems, including lack of campaign
experience, a sinking economy and her own health issues. For
her to win, President Lula would have to transfer to her his
considerable popularity, something he could not do for the PT
candidate in the 2008 Sao Paulo mayoral race (Ref B). End
Summary.

Serra's Abilities, Rags-to-Riches Story Have Appeal


2. (C) Former Brazil President Fernando Henrique Cardoso
profiled 2010 presidential candidate and Sao Paulo Governor
Jose Serra in an April 23 meeting with the Ambassador.
Cardoso characterized Serra as bright and worldly, citing his
PhD from Cornell University. Serra "does not fear people, is
persistent, and has a high sense of purpose," said Cardoso.
In his view, Serra is a dedicated public servant, who
initially entered politics to help the public good. He is
the son of poor, Italian immigrants, who sold fruit on the
street, and a product of the public school system. Because
of his tough "rags-to-riches" childhood, Cardoso believes
Serra has an exceptional capacity to understand people.
(Note: See Ref A for further biographical information about
Serra. End Note.)


4. (C) Serra's plebian background mirrors that of current
President Lula, and in Cardoso's view, will help propel him
to victory in 2010 election. Cardoso told the Ambassador
that Serra is popular in the Northeast, with approval levels
double that of his nearest competitor, Ciro Gomes. Cardoso
does not think PT nominee Dilma Roussef has enough campaign
experience to win the presidential election. Cardoso
characterized the electorate as "arbitrary in its behavior"
and does not think Lula can transfer votes successfully to
Roussef. Cardoso stated that he believes the majority of
Lula's supporters will actually vote for Serra. (Note:
Reports surfaced after the Ambassador's conversation with
Cardoso of Dilma undertaking a four-month chemotherapy
program after having a cancerous tumor removed. Local
commentators have stated that this could hurt her prospects
for the 2010 presidential race. Several newspapers have
already begun speculating that the PT might need to find
another candidate. End Note.)

Minas Gerais Governor Neves: Not This Time


5. (C) Cardoso sees Minas Gerais Governor Aecio Neves as a
strong choice for vice-president. He told the Ambassador,
"It is not his (Neves) time to be president." Cardoso does
believe, however, that Neves will be president some day.
Regarding Serra's foreign policy advisors, he cited former
Development Minister Sergio Amaral and former Foreign
Minister Celso Lafer (a career diplomat) as his two closest
confidants.

Serra Strongly Positioned for 2010


6. (C) Comment: Since Cardoso and Serra are products of the
same political party (PSDB),Carodoso's positive profile of
Serra is not surprising. At the same time, his analysis

SAO PAULO 00000273 002 OF 002


appears sound. Serra's rags to riches story, the challenge
Lula faces in attempting to transfer his popularity to Dilma
Roussef (something Lula could not do in the November 2008 Sao
Paulo mayoral race; see Ref B),the possible drag on both the
PT and Lula's popularity caused by the spreading economic
crisis (Ref C),and Dilma's questionable health all set a
positive stage for Serra for 2010. Though a year and a half
is an eternity in politics, Dilma faces a tough challenge. A
March poll showed that, were the election to be held today,
Serra would beat the PT's Dilma Roussef by nearly 30 points.
End Comment.


7. (U) This cable was coordinated with and cleared by
Embassy Brasilia.
WHITE