Keep Us Strong WikiLeaks logo

Currently released so far... 1295 / 251,287


Browse latest releases

Browse by creation date

Browse by origin


Browse by tag


Browse by classification

Community resources

courage is contagious


If you are new to these pages, please read an introduction on the structure of a cable as well as how to discuss them with others. See also the FAQs

Understanding cables
Every cable message consists of three parts:
  • The top box shows each cables unique reference number, when and by whom it originally was sent, and what its initial classification was.
  • The middle box contains the header information that is associated with the cable. It includes information about the receiver(s) as well as a general subject.
  • The bottom box presents the body of the cable. The opening can contain a more specific subject, references to other cables (browse by origin to find them) or additional comment. This is followed by the main contents of the cable: a summary, a collection of specific topics and a comment section.
To understand the justification used for the classification of each cable, please use this WikiSource article as reference.

Discussing cables
If you find meaningful or important information in a cable, please link directly to its unique reference number. Linking to a specific paragraph in the body of a cable is also possible by copying the appropriate link (to be found at theparagraph symbol). Please mark messages for social networking services like Twitter with the hash tags #cablegate and a hash containing the reference ID e.g. #09BRASILIA1447.
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09BRASILIA1447 2009-12-29 17:05 2010-12-05 12:12 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Brasilia
DE RUEHBR #1447/01 3631716
R 291716Z DEC 09


E.O. 12958: DECL: 2019/12/29 

CLASSIFIED BY: Lisa Kubiske, charge d'affaires a.i.; REASON: 1.4(D) 

1. (C) Summary. On his first visit to Brazil as Assistant 
Secretary, Arturo Valenzuela was received December 14 by senior 
government officials eager to minimize differences and demonstrate 
their interest in working with the USG on a range of topics. 
Meetings with the Presidential Foreign Policy Advisor, Foreign 
Ministry (Itamaraty) officials, and Defense Minister addressed 
shared concerns with resolving the crisis in Honduras, the need to 
lower tensions in South America (particularly between Colombia and 
Venezuela), interest in working together in Haiti, and 
possibilities for counternarcotics cooperation in Bolivia. Whereas 
the Presidency highlighted Lula's efforts related to Iran and the 
Middle East peace process, Itamaraty focused on the need to expand 
our bilateral, regional, and trilateral cooperation, as well as our 
discussions on global issues into new areas. The worried media 
reports highlighting "tensions" in the U.S.-Brazil relationship 
prior to A/S Valenzuela's arrival were replaced following his visit 
with upbeat stories regarding the renewed possibilities for 
cooperation. End summary. 

Presidential Foreign Policy Advisor Garcia Focuses on Honduras... 

2. (C) In a long and friendly meeting, Presidential Foreign Policy 
Advisor Marco Aurelio Garcia laid out Brazil's position and ongoing 
concerns regarding Honduras. He said President Zelaya's decision 
to go abroad had given Brazil greater "flexibility" in dealing with 
the crisis. Brazil believes it is essential for de facto leader 
Micheletti to step down, and Garcia expressed his hopes that the 
USG would "turn the screws" on him. Personally, Garcia said he 
thought a constituent assembly would be a way to give legitimacy to 
the political solution being crafted. 

3. (C) A/S Valenzuela disagreed with Garcia's assertion that the 
Honduras crisis had created "a division" between the United States 
and Latin America. Rather, he said the failed effort by Mexico to 
gain safe passage for Zelaya out of the country, of which the USG 
had not been informed and which had negatively affected other 
efforts on Zelaya's behalf, demonstrated the need for more fluid 
communication. In later discussions at Itamaraty, Honduras was 
also a leading topic of conversation. There, officials insisted 
that they had no contact with the Micheletti regime and that their 
ability to influence Zelaya was limited. 

...Proposes U.S. Visit to Venezuela... 

4. (C) Garcia made a point to reiterate a suggestion he had made to 
NSA General Jones, that Valenzuela should go to Caracas to 
establish a "direct link" and relationship with President Chavez. 
Without such a move, Garcia said, "Chavez will respond to everyone" 
(i.e., to USG officials whatever their position); "he has no sense 
of proportion." Garcia said that, because of "ambiguity" and "a 
bad process," the issue of the Colombia bases had complicated 
matters in the region. Although the November 27 meeting of the 
South American Defense Council (SADC) had reduced tensions, the 
idea that the bases might be used to launch an action against 
Venezuela "was common." Neither Colombia nor Venezuela was willing 
to make a goodwill gesture toward the other, and Brazil's efforts 
to mediate had been rebuffed by both sides. He predicted that 
Venezuela "will maintain the pressure" on Colombia for several 
months. Venezuelan FM Maduro had indicated to Garcia that a visit 
by A/S Valenzuela would be "no problem" to arrange; Garcia felt it 
would help reduce tensions and improve dialogue with the region. 
A/S Valenzuela was noncommittal, and noted that it is difficult to 
ignore both the provocative statements by Chavez and his 
authoritarian tendencies. 

...Assesses Regional Developments... 

5. (C) Over the course of the conversation, Garcia expressed a 

BRASILIA 00001447 002 OF 005 

preference for former President Frei in Chile's elections; 
described Ecuador's and Bolivia's political systems as "rotten"; 
said that Mujica's election in Uruguay was good as he would be 
"more active"; and called the future of Argentina "a big question 
mark," depending on whether the Kirchners recover or not, although 
he did not foresee problems for relations with Brazil. Garcia 
hoped to "revive Mercosur" during the upcoming Argentine 
presidency. With regard to relations with the United States, 
Garcia noted that the "delay" in USG initiatives toward the region 
caused frustration and disappointment. 

... And Indicates Middle East Peace and Iran Top Brazil's Global 

6. (C) Beyond Latin America, Garcia described Brazil's priorities 
as climate change and expanding participation in the Middle East 
peace process "to put more air" into them. Brazil is concerned 
with the success of the Israel-Palestine peace process both because 
of the impact on its own global interests and because it 
"contaminates" other issues in the region-including Iran, 
Afghanistan, and Pakistan. Garcia said Brazil has encouraged Iran 
to use its influence with Hamas to help move the process forward. 
With regard to Iran itself, Garcia described Brazil's engagement as 
"a bet" that might not work. In light of President Obama's request 
to help, Brazil is trying to build a relationship with Iran. He 
described Brazil's reception of President Ahmadinejad in November 
as "not warm" and stressed that President Lula had delivered 
"direct messages." Brazil is encouraging Iran to "submit to the 
rules," regarding non-proliferation, but Brazil had abstained on 
the recent IAEA vote on Iran as because of the timing; a vote in 
favor at that moment would have neutralized their efforts to sway 
Iran. In Brazil's view, the worst thing to do is to further 
isolate Iran. A/S Valenzuela welcomed Brazil's efforts to 
encourage Iran to comply with its international obligations but 
expressed serious concerns with their nuclear aspirations. He 
emphasized that Iran had a deficit of trust with the international 
community but assured Garcia that the Administration would continue 
to try to engage Iran, despite the difficulties. 

Itamaraty: Eager to Move Forward Bilaterally... 

7. (C) Over lunch with Under Secretary for Political Affairs Vera 
Machado and acting Under Secretary for Latin America GonC'alo 
MourC#o, and in a separate meeting with newly installed Deputy 
Minister and former ambassador to the United States AntC4nio 
Patriota, Brazilian officials stressed the need to move forward in 
expanding our bilateral relationship. Patriota cited the 
high-level dialogue we are hoping to start and said the GOB is glad 
there is a broadening of the bilateral political agenda to match 
the excellent dialogue on the economic side. With regard to 
current cooperation, he praised the Economic Policy Dialogue, under 
way at the same time in Washington, and said that Civilian 
Household (Prime) Minister Dilma Rousseff wants to see more 
bilateral cooperation on biofuels. He highlighted the success of 
the Joint Action Plan to eliminate racial and ethnic discrimination 
(JAPER) and suggested creating linkages with the CEO Forum. Both 
he and Machado said Brazil has much to learn from the United States 
regarding inclusion of civil society and the private sector in such 
initiatives. Patriota noted the meeting of the Brazil Studies 
Association (BRASA) next year as a good opportunity to do some 
cross-fertilization between private sector and social initiatives. 
Patriota hoped we could increase discussions on other social 
issues, including human rights and advancement of women. 

8. (C) Patriota and Machado both expressed interest in moving 
forward with the Defense Cooperation Agreement (DCA) and asked for 
serious consideration of language Brazil had just proposed on 
"guarantees" of respect for sovereignty of third countries, which 
Brazil was seeking to add in light of concerns over the 
U.S.-Colombia DCA and commitments made at the November 27 meeting 
of the South America Defense Council. 

BRASILIA 00001447 003 OF 005 

9. (C) Although even the suggestion of work on terrorism-related 
programs has caused problems in Brazil for some USG agencies, 
Machado acknowledged that Brazil would need to address potential 
terrorism issues with Brazil's hosting of the 2014 World Cup and 
the 2016 Olympics. A/S Valenzuela said the USG is willing to 
cooperate and assist in any way we can and he suggested that State 
and Itamaraty should increase our effort to coordinate cooperation 
among our various agencies in advance of these events. ChargC) 
d'Affaires Kubiske noted that the Olympics also open an avenue for 
cooperation to advance social issues, for example, by ensuring that 
efforts are made to secure English training and jobs for minorities 
and the poor. 


10. (C) A/S Valenzuela stressed that Secretary Clinton is committed 
to working closely and more intently on Haiti. The United States 
can benefit from Brazil's expertise in Haiti and the region, he 
said. Acting U/S MourC#o said Brazil's focus in Haiti is on 
policing, as it is important to strengthen Haiti's law enforcement 
capabilities. Patriota noted the efforts of USAID and Brazil's 
Cooperation Agency (ABC) to establish joint projects. He recalled 
that, in the second paragraph of President Lula's letter to 
President Obama last month, he had mentioned the priority of 
constructing a hydroelectric dam and plant. Although the letter 
had suggested a cost of $150 million to build, Patriota believed it 
would actually cost $250 million. He felt this would be an 
important project for the United States and Brazil to work on 

11. (C) During lunch, Machado asked if Bolivia might be 
re-certified next year for counternarcotics cooperation. A/S 
Valenzuela noted some very strong U.S. opposition to this, but said 
that strong communication with the Morales government is essential 
and suggested that there is now an opportunity for trilateral 
cooperation on counternarcotics. Machado raised the 3+1 Security 
Dialogue between Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, and the United 
States, saying the name of the talks should be changed to avoid a 
sense of opposition. 

...And Globally 

12. (C) Patriota indicated Brazil's interest in expanding 
"trilateral cooperation" between Brazil, the United States, and 
third countries as a particularly valuable form of engagement, 
particularly in Africa. As Brazil is entering the Security Council 
in January, the GOB wants to coordinate agendas with the USG and 
engage more on Security Council reform. Looking ahead to the NPT 
Review Conference and Nuclear Security Summit, Patriota described 
President Obama's speech in Prague on nuclear non-proliferation and 
disarmament as "groundbreaking" and said it was very well received 
in Brazil. For her part, Machado praised the U.S. announcement of 
voluntary measures related to climate change, which had inspired 
"moderate enthusiasm" and preserved the possibility for 
"non-failure" at Copenhagen. She highlighted agreement for Brazil 
to host a "Rio + 20" next year, which would allow for more 
comprehensive debate. 

Defense Minister Jobim Describes Brazil's Concern with Regional 

13. (C) Following a one-on-one meeting, a friendly and engaged 
DefMin Jobim was joined by senior military personnel for a broad 
discussion of regional issues. Jobim raised the U.S.-Colombia DCA, 
saying that, from a strictly Brazilian point of view, there was no 
problem. The region was "sensitive," however, and as Brazil has no 

BRASILIA 00001447 004 OF 005 

problems with any of its neighbors, it tries to be a "moderator" 
among them. Jobim had made an enormous effort, along with 
Itamaraty and President Lula, to visit all South American countries 
to gain agreement to establish the South American Defense Council, 
which would help create a regional identity on defense issues, 
advance "military diplomacy," link defense to the real economy by 
establishing niches for each country in defense industries, and 
encourage exchanges among military academies. 

14. (C) Noting our common concern with stability in the region, A/S 
Valenzuela asked how Jobim viewed the situation between Colombia 
and Venezuela and the situation in Paraguay. Jobim said that he 
did not see the tensions escalating, but that Lula's efforts to 
mediate a discussion between Chavez and Uribe had not been 
successful. With regard to Paraguay, he said that for political 
reasons Brazil had made concessions on the price it was paying for 
energy from Itaipu and would finance the construction of a 
transmission facility on the Paraguayan side of the border. "This 
is part of the game" with Paraguay, he said. Jobim encouraged A/S 
Valenzuela to continue this dialogue on regional stability. He 
said the United States needs to be "re-introduced" to Latin 
America; although it might be a false impression, there is a 
feeling in the region that the United States needs to build more 
trust following a "difficult era" in the Bush Administration. 

...And Provides an Update on FX2 Fighter Competition 

15. (C) Jobim noted that delay in a decision on the FX2 fighter 
competition, saying that he would be studying documents from the 
Brazilian Air Force (BRAF) over the holidays and that the National 
Defense Council would meet to make its recommendation after 
congress reconvenes in early February. He was awaiting additional 
documentation from Boeing later in the week and was particularly 
intrigued by the possibilities of the Global Super Hornet program. 
Jobim noted the importance of the purchase in Brazil's national 
defense strategy, adding that technology transfer is the main 
consideration and the U.S. "precedents" on this score are not good; 
but he acknowledged that the portfolio of transfer items was large 
and that it was a new U.S. government. Jobim reiterated the five 
criteria they will be using to make a decision: the quality of the 
platform, the technology being offered, the training being offered, 
the price, and the life-cycle cost. A/S Valenzuela assured him the 
Boeing was best on all counts. 

Political Analysts See Less Aggressive Foreign Policy Post-Lula 

16. (U) Three leading political analysts told A/S Valenzuela that 
Dilma Rousseff, President Lula's choice to succeed him in 2011, has 
at least a break-even chance of winning the October 2010 elections, 
despite Serra's lead in the polls. They expect that many of the 
GOB's current foreign policy positions - including on Iran and 
Honduras - are facilitated by Lula's strong internal position and 
personal reputation, and will not outlast his presidency. They 
described in detail the failure of the delegation of Iranian 
businessmen that accompanied Ahmadinejad, and argued that attempts 
by Rousseff or anyone other than Lula to engage authoritarian 
states in such a high-profile manner would not be tolerated 
domestically, as it is seen as a departure from Brazil's 
traditionally cautious approach to such matters. A Serra 
presidency, they believed, would not alter Brazil's basic economic 
strategy but would lead to a return to more traditional Brazilian 
foreign policy stances, especially in Latin America. 

Media Coverage Goes From Nervous and Negative to Hopeful and 

17. (SBU) In advance of A/S Valenzuela's trip, media coverage 
focused on "tensions" in the bilateral relationship, highlighting 

BRASILIA 00001447 005 OF 005 

differences over Honduras, Iran, climate change, and 
non-proliferation. However, following a press roundtable by A/S 
Valenzuela with leading news dailies and weeklies and comments to 
the press by both Garcia and Itamaraty officials, press reports on 
Tuesday, December 15 highlighted apparent points of agreement on 
Honduras and Iran. BrasC-lia daily Correio Braziliense ran one of 
the most powerful headlines: "Disagreements Between Good Allies." 
These reports were reinforced by equally positive headlines in 
online coverage from major news portals such as UOL and Terra. 

18. (U) Although articles began to reappear within days reporting 
views from both Washington and BrasC-lia that tensions persist in 
the bilateral relationship, prominent columnists have supported the 
conclusion that Valenzuela's visit put the U.S.-Brazil relationship 
on a new footing. One of the more forceful columns came from Folha 
de SC#o Paulo's Eliane Catanhede, who highlighted the contrast 
between the prior expressions of "frustration" and "disappointment" 
from Amorim and Garcia, and the much more friendly remarks they 
made during his visit. Her conclusion was that the GOB knows who 
is really in charge on issues such as Honduras, Iran, and 
Copenhagen: "This is how diplomacy is done: Valenzuela was in 
BrasC-lia yesterday; Secretary Hillary Clinton is on her way; Obama 
should be here early in 2010. Deep down, Lula, Amorim, Jobim, 
Garcia, and [former Itamaraty Secretary General; current Minister 
of Strategic Planning] Samuel [Pinheiro Guimaraes] may bark, but 
they never bite. And the 'pitbull' [the United States] knows its 
own strength." 

Youth Ambassadors Meeting Opens the Door for New Media Outreach 

19. (U) A/S Valenzuela met with alumni of the Youth Ambassadors, 
Student Leader Exchange, and English Immersion programs in an 
informal gathering hosted by CDA Kubiske. Valenzuela explained his 
role in over-seeing policy for the Western Hemisphere and fielded 
questions from the young leaders on issues ranging from the value 
of youth exchange programs, to the Obama administration's approach 
to U.S.-Brazil relations and the best way to work with the various 
types of democratic systems found in the region. "I think it was a 
great opportunity to meet Dr. Valenzuela and discuss Brazil-U.S's interesting to see how diplomacy engages youth," 
said 2008 Youth Ambassador, Pedro Henrique Torres after his 
discussion with the Assistant Secretary. The Public Affairs 
Section posted photos of the meeting on the Mission's Flickr site 
that were also carried on the Assistant Secretary's newly launched 
blog. PA recorded the event and will create short clips to post on 
the Mission's YouTube channel and to distribute to youth contacts. 

20. (U) A/S Valenzuela cleared this message.