Cable 85794: Relación EE.UU.-Chile: ¿Preferencia por el caos organizado?
DE RUEHSG #2378/01 3191902
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 151902Z NOV 06
FM AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0374
INFO RUEHAC/AMEMBASSY ASUNCION 2727
RUEHBO/AMEMBASSY BOGOTA 1575
RUEHBU/AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES 3313
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS 1178
RUEHGT/AMEMBASSY GUATEMALA 0299
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ NOV LIMA 4810
RUEHMN/AMEMBASSY MONTEVIDEO 3431
RUEHZP/AMEMBASSY PANAMA 0216
RUEHQT/AMEMBASSY QUITO 1622
,C O N F I D E N T I A L SANTIAGO 002378
E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/13/2016
TAGS: PGOV, PREL, CI
SUBJECT: U.S.-CHILE RELATIONS: A PREFERENCE FOR ORGANIZED CHAOS?
Classified By: DCM Emi Yamauchi for reasons 1.5 (b and d)
1. (C) Two senior MFA officials note Chile’s reluctance to adopt a high-profile leadership role in the region, arguing for a «»just as effective»» behind the scenes reliance on Chile’s «»soft power.»» They are pleased to put the issue of Chile’s UNSC vote behind them and suggest that the U.S.-Chile relationship is ready for expansion. In their view, other actors – business, academia, civil society – should play an increasingly active role in determining the parameters of the bilateral relationship. These players will lead the U.S.-Chile partnership in positive, if not entirely foreseeable directions, and not always under the guidance of respective governments. Also discussed were Iraq policy post- U.S. elections, a proposed USG inter-agency EXBS visit, USG desire for a SOFA, the possibility of terrorist activity in Chile’s northern border region, and Chile’s decision not to participate in a UNIFIL deployment. End summary.
2. (U) E/POL Counselor November 14 invited to lunch Ambassador Carlos Appelgren, who heads the MFA’s Office for North America Affairs, and Ambassador Manuel Hinojosa, head of the Office for Middle East and Africa Affairs. The two are close friends, as well as colleagues, having entered diplomatic service within two years of each other. Both have served at the Chilean Embassy in Washington, although not during the same period.
3. (C) With the UNSC election issue now resolved, E/POL Counselor observed, it is time to consider how to move the Chile- U.S. relationship forward. The Ambassador had the week before delivered remarks to ANEPE (the Chilean military’s preeminent academic institution/think tank). His major theme had been the importance of Chile taking a more active leadership role in the region and the world. Chile’s recent agreement with Peru to stand up a joint peace-keeping unit, or FonMin Foxley’s promotion of stronger Latin American economic and commercial ties with Asia, are good examples of Chilean leadership. But more can be accomplished and the Ambassador and Embassy officers will be returning to the theme often in the coming months.
4. (C) Appelgren replied that Chilean reluctance to lead is rooted in the national character, noting most Chileans will offer opinions, if at all, in an almost apologetic tone. Nonetheless, Chile had been effective, for example, in quietly working behind closed doors to find a consensus candidate for the UNSC seat contested by Guatemala and Venezuela. The selection of Panama was the best possible end result had either of the other won, there would have remained an «»open breach»» within GRULAC. Hinojosa acknowledged that Chile’s preference for what he termed passive leadership»» had negative connotations, but argued that a more activist stance would not sit well with Chile’s neighbors, especially Argentina and Peru, as well as Brazil. Applegren observed that criticisms of Chavez for being interventionist»» might also be leveled against Chile if it were to be more forward-leaning. E/POL Counselor countered that Chile’s positing of its free market, democratic model – and the solutions it has brought to its people – against failed populist proposals, could hardly be viewed as interventionist. Chile could lead by example and by its actions. Applegren agreed that Chile’s «»soft power, its ideas»» are worth promoting.
5. (C) Appelgren said that Chile was ready and willing to take the U.S.-Chile relationship well beyond its present parameters. To accomplish this, it would be important to encourage other actors outside the government-to-government sphere to take lead roles. In his view, business, universities, and NGO’s would be the fountain of new ideas,increasing ties and opportunities for growth. While respective governments could perhaps give some guidance to the process, it would largely be «»discontrolado»» (uncontrolled, chaotic) but fruitful. E/POL Counselor said the notion is intriguing and complements what the Ambassador and Mission are seeking to accomplish. The Mission seeks to emphasize the multifaceted nature of the bilateral relationship, including the importance of issues such as the environment, science and technology, and education. The U.S. wanted to see Chile become more innovative and attractive to foreign investment. Using the private sector and academia is key to this objective.
Iraq, Other Issues
6. (C) Both Ambassadors were curious about long-term prospects in Iraq, given the results of the U.S. elections and possible changes in USG policy. E/POL Counselor noted that exit polls had indicated voter concern about the direction of policy and that incoming Democrats would very likely seek change. But both parties awaited the results of the Baker report it would be speculative to suggest what a Democratic-controlled Congress would do. In all events, both parties are committed to achieving the goal of a stable Iraq.
7. (C) Asked about the possibility of terrorist activity along Chile’s northern border, including terrorist financing, Hinojosa said it is a «»concern»» for the GOC, and one that bears watching. He did not have any specific examples, however. (Note: There is significant illegal trade between Chile and Bolivia and some of this trade is controlled by immigrants from Arab countries GOC intelligence agencies are monitoring the activity for possible links to the tri-border area.)
8. (C) On the question of a possible Chilean contribution to a UNIFIL deployment, Hinojosa said it had never been seriously considered. The Europeans are «»much closer to the problem»» and while he could not discount some «»very modest contribution,»» it is not likely. He added that Chile has to very carefully balance its Middle East policy given the strong influence of both of the sizeable Israeli and Palestinian communities residing in Chile. It would continue to carefully adhere to UN resolutions touching on the region.
9. (C) E/POL Counselor briefed on USG continued strong interest in entering into a long-term bilateral SOFA, as well as a proposed visit to Chile in January by an inter-agency team to discuss export control and border security.
10. (C) Resistance to active leadership permeates the mindset of the average Chilean including, clearly, within the MFA. This innate timidity may well be costing Chile, for example, in the country’s ability to attract foreign investment. Mission will continue to press in public fora and private conversation for Chile to take a more pro-active role, implicitly arguing that it is in Chile’s national interest to export its successful model within the region. End comment.