Harold Forsyth consideraba a Humala la mejor opción presidencial

id: 59852 date: 4/7/2006 22:43 refid: 06LIMA1358 origin: Embassy Lima classification: CONFIDENTIAL destination: header: VZCZCXYZ0001 PP RUEHWEB DE RUEHPE #1358/01 0972243 ZNY CCCCC ZZH P 072243Z APR 06 FM AMEMBASSY LIMA TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9676 INFO RUEHBO/AMEMBASSY BOGOTA 3231 RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS 9299 RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ APR QUITO 0227 RUEHSG/AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO 0401 RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA 6659 RUEHGL/AMCONSUL GUAYAQUIL 4202 RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC RHMFISS/CDR USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL ----------------- header ends ---------------- C O N F I D E N T I A L LIMA 001358 SIPDIS SIPDIS E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/07/2016 TAGS: PREL, PGOV, PINR, PE SUBJECT: NEW VICE FOREIGN MINISTER LOBBIES AMBASSADOR FOR HUMALA Classified By: Ambassador Curt Struble. Reason 1.4(b/d). 1. (C) The Ambassador invited new Vice Foreign Minister Harold Forsyth over for a one-on-one breakfast April 7. Forsyth, who according to rumor has the inside track to become Foreign Minister if Ollanta Humala is elected President, quickly steered the subject to Peru,s election. The Vice Minister wanted to solicit the Ambassador,s views on USG concerns about Humala and to convey reassurance that an Humala government would not align Peru with Venezuela,s Chavez. 2. (C) Forsyth began by recalling his unusual experience as a career diplomat and sometime politician. He was among the protesting diplomats who were forced out of the service by Fujimori after the 1992 auto-coup. In 1996, he won a Congressional seat with Perez de Cuellar,s UPP. The Vice Minister zeroed in on one element in his biography, his role in co-founding the pro-democracy NGO Transparencia with Salomon Lerner Ghitis in 2000. From that association, he said, he developed a close bond of trust with Lerner and is convinced that the latter would not help someone who would lead Peru in a radical direction. (Comment: Lerner is one of Humala,s principle advisors and a key liaison between the candidate and the business community. During the conversation Forsyth never specifically referred to any conversation he has had with Humala. While offering his own assessment of the candidate, he validated it at several points by referring to the views of Salomon Lerner rather than his own experience.) 3. (C) Forsyth noted that Peru is a country with a history and culture unequaled elsewhere in Spanish-speaking America except Mexico. That and Peru,s enduring national interests would, Forsyth argued, prevent it from following Venezuela,s foreign policy lead. Even during the 1968-74 Velasco dictatorship, he said, Peru had taken care to prevent a rupture in its relations with Washington. 4. (C) Forsyth observed that the Andean Community (CAN) is in crisis because of the increasing alignment of Bolivia with Venezuela. He would be representing Peru on Monday, April 10, at a CAN meeting of Vice Ministers to discuss problems posed by the fact that three members want Free Trade Agreements with the United States and two do not. Bolivia did Venezuela,s bidding by circulating a letter before the scheduled March CAN-EU summit preparatory conference, objecting that the right conditions did not exist for such a meeting because of differences within the CAN on trade policy. Venezuela responded by canceling the meeting with the EU though it had no right to do so. 5. (C) _________________________________________ _________________________________________ _________________________________________ _________________________________________ _________________________________________ _________________________________________ _________________________________________ _________________________________________ ______________. 6. (C) Forsyth asked the Ambassador what concerns the United States might have about an Humala government. The Ambassador said that four building blocks form the foundation of U.S.-Peruvian relations, which are the best they have been since World War II. They are: --a common interest in strengthening democracy; --cooperation against terrorism; --cooperation in fighting narcotics and other transnational crimes; --the commercial relationship and its association with U.S. efforts to reduce poverty in Peru through economic growth. 7. (C) The Ambassador noted that Humala has said he will abide by the democratic rules of the game. If he wins the election he will be taken at his word unless actions show otherwise, but his lack of a track record in government creates uncertainty. Humala,s military background lends credibility to his pledge that Peruvian terrorists will be confronted, but he has not addressed the international dimension of the problem. Toledo,s actions to help Colombia deal with the FARC have been exemplary and stand in contrast to the Chavez government's approach. While Colombia is going to win against the FARC, there is no question that what its neighbors do can make the process more bloody, lengthy and costly. 8. (C) In the area of narcotics, the Ambassador observed, Humala,s proposals are unclear and may be non-viable; for example, the candidate's call to ban all forced eradication. Colombia is determined to eradicate coca as a means of severing the FARC's logistical tail. This will progressively drive up coca leaf prices in Peru and Bolivia. Unless those governments show resolve, they will quickly see a huge displacement of cultivation and trafficking to their territory. Finally, the candidate's proposal to force renegotiation of contracts will create friction with all foreign investors, including those from the United States. 9. (C) Forsyth expressed gratitude for these observations. Rather than addressing them directly, he said that he wanted to share the reasons why he considers Humala the best option as President of Peru. "Lourdes (Flores) is a friend of mine," the Vice Minister said, "but she is very ideological and inflexible." These characteristics, he predicted, will lead the country to serious social conflict. "Alan Garcia denounces Humala for being an unknown. My problem with Garcia," Forsyth added, "is that he is a known quantity who has presided over the most disastrous administration Peru has seen." 10. (C) Again citing his confidence in Lerner,s appraisal and judgment, the Vice Minister expressed confidence that Humala would prove to be a responsible President, but one who could make the lower classes feel included. In that connection, Forsyth predicted that an Humala government would retain the U.S.-Peru FTA. The Ambassador questioned that statement, noting that Humala had staked out a pretty firm position against it. Forsyth insisted on his view, predicting that the Peruvian Congress will have approved the FTA by the time the next President is inaugurated and that Humala would be unwilling to rupture an agreement that has been implemented (sic, since implementation would not occur under the most optimistic scenario until January 1, 2007.) 11. (C) COMMENT: Forsyth sought to walk a delicate line. He avoided mention of his own meetings with Humala, though the relationship is an open secret among insiders. All the same, it is a bit awkward for a sitting Vice Minister and career diplomat to acknowledge them directly. Still, he was on a clear mission to reassure the Ambassador that Humala is no Chavez. Humala has been making the same case in public, but his credibility is undercut by the remarkable similarity his plan of government holds to those pioneered by Chavez and Evo Morales. It was also interesting that, notwithstanding his efforts to promote a return to institutional democracy during the Fujimori years, Forsyth expressed doubts to the Ambassador that Peru is capable of normal democratic governance. At the beginning of their breakfast, Forsyth noted that the middle class is the backbone of democracy where it flourishes and lamented that Peru has too small a middle class to provide that backbone. While he at no point expressed sympathy for authoritarianism, Forsyth was pessimistic about the near term health of democracy in his country. END COMMENT. STRUBLE =======================CABLE ENDS============================