Viewing cable 07BERLIN2116
Title: GERMANY'S VIEWS ON DEMOCRACY IN VENEZUELA

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07BERLIN21162007-11-26 15:49:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Berlin
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C O N F I D E N T I A L BERLIN 002116 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/26/2017 
TAGS: PGOV PHUM WHA EU VE GM
SUBJECT: GERMANY'S VIEWS ON DEMOCRACY IN VENEZUELA 
 
REF: A. STATE 154674 
 
     ¶B. STATE 157219 
 
Classified By: Political Minister Counselor Jeff Rathke for reasons 1.4 
 (b) and (d) 
 
¶1.  (C) PolOff delivered reftel points on November 16 to 
Betina Kern, Deputy Head of the Andean Region Division at the 
German Foreign Ministry.  With respect to the substance of 
USG concerns about proposed constitutional changes in 
Venezuela, Kern said that Germany "feels exactly the same 
way."  However, according to Kern, Germany's economic 
interests in Venezuela are very different from those of the 
USG, and indeed from those of other EU member states 
(notably, those of Italy, Spain, France, and Portugal). She 
said that Germany's primary interest there is in "keeping up 
democracy and regional security."  In contrast to USG 
efforts, Kern said, Germany will continue with "quiet 
diplomacy" in Venezuela. She questioned the value of 
high-profile statements condemning Chavez.  "What's the point 
of such statements?" Kern asked. She argued that the most 
effective way to undercut Chavez's power would be for the 
U.S. to scale back the amount of oil it purchases from 
Venezuela.  Only 0.6% of Germany's oil imports come from 
Venezuela, Kern said, adding that Germany's leverage in 
delivering high-profile statements against Chavez is minimal. 
 That said, Kern noted that Germany used EU Presidency 
earlier in 2007 to present an EU declaration opposing 
Chavez's closure of Radio Caracas Television.  (Comment: The 
economic argument about Chavez's power, that his 
concentration of power is due in large part to U.S. oil 
revenues, is one that the MFA has used before to partially 
explain Germany's views on the relative value of speaking out 
against Chavez.  Post continues to reach out to the German 
government, including parliamentarians, Chancellery contacts, 
and other interlocuteurs to emphasize USG goals to promote 
democracy in Venezuela. Post will submit septel a response to 
reftel B, which outlines these efforts.) 
 
¶2.  (C) On the growing dissent within Chavez's party, Kern 
noted that although opposition exists, "it is not enough." 
She opined that, despite the former Minister of Defense's 
recent comments against Chavez (the strongest sign of 
dissent, in Kern's estimation), there is "probably no strong 
dissent in the military" and the existing opposition is split 
and cannot mobilize itself. 
TIMKEN JR