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WikiLeaks - Sensitive Cables, GY Tag - Pt 1

WikiLeaks - Sensitive Cables, GY Tag - Pt 1

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Published by: Brigadier David Granger on Oct 31, 2011
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11/06/2013

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http://www.wikileaks.org/cable/2005/12/05GEORGETOWN1281.html# 05GEORGETOWN1281, JAGDEO: U.S. LOSING PR BATTLE IN LATIN AMERICAReference IDCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin05GEORGETOWN12812005-12-0717:022011-08-3001:44SECRETEmbassyGeorgetownVZCZCXRO7822RR RUEHAO RUEHCD RUEHGA RUEHGD RUEHHA RUEHHO RUEHMC RUEHNG RUEHNLRUEHQU RUEHRD RUEHRG RUEHRS RUEHTM RUEHVCDE RUEHGE #1281/01 3411702ZNY SSSSS ZZHR 071702Z DEC 05FM AMEMBASSY GEORGETOWNTO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 2841INFO RUEHWH/WESTERN HEMISPHERIC AFFAIRS DIPL POSTSRUEHTV/AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV 0066RHMFISS/HQ USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL 0010S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 GEORGETOWN 001281SIPDISSIPDISSOUTHCOM FOR POLADE.O. 12958: DECL: 12/06/2015TAGS:PGOV PREL PHUM EAGR ELTN SCUL KPAO XM GY SUBJECT: JAGDEO: U.S. LOSING PR BATTLE IN LATIN AMERICAREF: A. GEORGETOWN 1271B. GEORGETOWN 1273Classified By: Political Officer Benjamin Canavan for reason 1.4(d)1. (C) SUMMARY. Charge and PolOff met with President Jagdeoon December 5 for an informal, amiable discussion of ongoingbilateral issues. Jagdeo also shared his candid view on atopic that clearly interests him -- the U.S. public relationsproblem in Latin America. During the conversation, Jagdeocould not conceal his deep mistrust of Guyana's mainopposition party, the PNC/R. END SUMMARY.--------------------------------------------- --------------"US is Losing the Public Relations Battle in Latin America"--------------------------------------------- --------------2. (C) Charge and PolOff met with President Jagdeo onDecember 5 for an informal, amiable discussion of ongoingbilateral issues. Jagdeo had requested the meeting whenspeaking with Charge at a dinner the week before.3. (C) Jagdeo used a discussion of Guyana's border dispute
 
with Venezuela to segue into sharing his view of Chavez and,more broadly, anti-American sentiment in Latin America. Hebegan with an admonition that the U.S. has to be more carefulin its dealings with Latin America since "neo-liberalism hasnot worked in the region". Jagdeo said that he and otherLatin American leaders, noting Chavez as an exception, dounderstand and accept that a model based on the privatesector is the only solution for achieving economicdevelopment. However, improvements can be made to theneo-liberal model, he said, and lots of ordinary people feelthat it is causing greater poverty in society. He said thatLatin American leaders, regardless of whether they areleft-wing or right-wing, need to be seen as focusing onalleviating poverty, promoting land reform, improving healthcare, and addressing issues of indigenous and minoritygroups.4. (C) Jagdeo said that the "U.S. is losing the publicrelations battle in Latin America". People have theperception that transnational companies are carrying away thewealth of Latin American countries. He said that the morethe U.S. attacks and criticizes Chavez publicly, the more itreinforces this negative perception in Latin America --despite the generosity and idealism of the American people.--------------------------------------------- --------Comfort with Election Process, Deep Mistrust of PNC/R--------------------------------------------- --------5. (C) Charge raised the issue of election preparations,noting general donor satisfaction with the voter registrationprocess except that the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM)does not have a robust public relations initiative andAmerindians in remote communities often do not have thedocuments required to register and vote (ref A). Jagdeoresponded that getting the registration process' momentumgoing in time for the election was the key issue in his mind.As for registration in remote communities, he said thatGECOM, the General Register Office, the Ministry of HomeAffairs, and the Ministry of Amerindian Affairs had metrecently to address this issue.6. (C) While distancing himself from GECOM's activities,Jagdeo did say that GECOM needs to look at three issues -- amore robust public relations strategy, more registrationstations since the current twenty-three are too far andexpensive to reach for many constituents, and strongpenalties for any illegal activities in the registration andvoting process. He pointed out that some groups encouragetactics like underage voting -- a thinly veiled barb directedat the opposition PNC/R party. He said the government (GoG)has acceded to GECOM's additional funding requests, eventhough GECOM is "milking us now", because of the importanceof a smooth election process. He said there needs to be one
 
coordinating local election observer group as GECOM cannotpracticably accredit three hundred churches, for example.Jagdeo expressed his hope that the Carter Center would returnto monitor the 2006 election. In addition to the CarterCenter, he said the GoG has officially asked the OAS, EU, andCommonwealth Secretariat to monitor the elections.7. (C) In discussing election preparations, Jagdeo madeseveral strongly partisan statements that underscore theabsolute mutual distrust between the PPP/C and PNC/R parties.He is unconvinced of the need for long-term internationalelection observers because the problem with Guyana'sGEORGETOWN 00001281 002 OF 002electoral mechanisms is not one of incompetence but ratherthe burden of the past. He said elections staff show biasand, putting it in very blunt terms, "we're paranoid" and"you should understand it", most likely referring to arecently released volume of Foreign Relations of the UnitedStates that details covert US support to assist former PNCpresident Forbes Burnham rig elections. When Chargementioned the importance of leaders' commitment to thedemocratic political process and OAS' high reputationdemocracy and governance work, Jagdeo expressed his deepskepticism of the value of such work in Guyana's politicalenvironment. What is the point of another training programfor the same MPs, he asked, when they do not want to thenengage in a constructive political process in parliament. Hesaid that smart people attend the training sessions, returnto their offices, and plot -- because they think there is adifferent way to power than fair elections.--------------------------------------------- ------Mennonites Eye Guyana - GoG Fears Jonestown's Ghost--------------------------------------------- ------8. (C) Last week Jagdeo expressed interest in beginningcultivation of Guyana's intermediate savannahs. Charge toldJagdeo that a group of Mennonites from the Southern U.S. wasreturning to Guyana for a second look at the possibility ofestablishing a farming community in Guyana's southerninterior. He briefly described Belize's half century ofexperience with Mennonite farming communities. Jagdeoacknowledged that the Mennonites' intentions might dovetailwith his plan to cultivate more of Guyana's hinterlands (refB), and said he would ask the government of Belize abouttheir experience. However, Jagdeo also noted thatestablishment of a religious farming community would be asensitive issue given the firm hold that the Jonestownexperience still has on the national psyche. He said thatGoG was also talking with an Israeli group that hoped todevelop a large agricultural project in the interior.

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