Viewing cable 07PANAMA920
Title: PANAMA/OASGA: CODEL MEEKS' LUNCHEON WITH OAS

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
07PANAMA9202007-06-04 16:30:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Panama
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DE RUEHZP #0920 1551630
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 041630Z JUN 07
FM AMEMBASSY PANAMA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0535
INFO RUEHZA/WHA CENTRAL AMERICAN COLLECTIVE
RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC
RUEKJCS/OSD WASHDC
RHMFISS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC
RHMFISS/CDR USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
UNCLAS PANAMA 000920 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PGOV PREF OAS PM
SUBJECT: PANAMA/OASGA:  CODEL MEEKS' LUNCHEON WITH OAS 
REPRESENTATIVES 
 
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SUMMARY 
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¶1.  CODEL Meeks briefly touched upon OAS member nations' 
priorities while sharing the congress members' desire to 
further invigorate U.S. engagement in the region. 
Congressman Meeks focused on the need to adequately support 
institutions like the OAS in furthering development and 
strengthening democracy, while Congresswoman Jackson Lee 
addressed the ongoing domestic immigration debate seeking 
input on its broader impact in the hemisphere. OAS 
representatives honed in on the need to engage Cuba within 
the framework of the OAS, address migration issues, assist in 
the reincorporation of deportees, and create jobs abroad to 
bring the benefits of democracy to the poorest sectors of 
society.  They also sought to institutionalize congressional 
participation in future OAS General Assembly gatherings.  End 
Summary 
 
¶2.  Participants - Congress Members:  Gregory Meeks (D-NY), 
Mike Honda (D-CA), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), Mike McNulty 
(D-NY), Jean Schmidt (R-OH); OAS Secretary General Jose 
Miguel Insulza; First Vice President and Foreign Minister of 
Panama Samuel Lewis; OAS member nation Ambassadors or 
representatives. 
 
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Support for the OAS 
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¶3.  In a luncheon co-hosted by OAS Secretary General Jose 
Miguel Insulza and Panamanian First Vice President and 
Foreign Minister Samuel Lewis, the CODEL shared their desire 
to engage foreign governments in shaping the pending 
immigration bill currently debated in Congress.  Meeks began 
the session by stating, "For far too long we have basically 
ignored our neighbors to the south."  He then committed to 
secure the necessary resources to support the OAS's work in 
strengthening democracy and advancing social development, 
announcing that the Appropriations Committee would make sure 
the USG did not flat-line our contribution to the OAS budget. 
 (Note: The USG currently contributes 59.47% of the general 
operating fund). 
 
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Cuba 
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¶4. The Ambassador of Canada to the OAS pointedly inquired if 
the CODEL supported SYG Insulza's proposal to reintegrate 
Cuba in the OAS fold.  The delegation overwhelmingly 
confirmed their agreement with Insulza, with only Schmidt 
sharing that her constituents were opposed to engaging the 
Castro regime.  USOAS Deputy PermRep Bob Manzanares, in his 
address, shared the desire of the USG to include a free and 
democratic Cuba in the OAS framework and pointed out that 
welcoming Cuba under the current circumstances would be 
contrary to the Inter-American Democratic Charter and 
principles of the OAS. 
 
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Immigration/Deportation/Development 
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¶5. Delegates shared their desire for assistance in 
reintegrating deportees as constructive members of society. 
They also expressed concern that healthcare workers and 
teachers, frequently trained at government expense, regularly 
transfer to jobs in the U.S. upon completing their training 
resulting in a scarcity of vital practitioners and educators. 
 Nearly all speakers focused on the need to further economic 
and social development to extend the benefits of democracy 
with all social classes.  By addressing this crucial issue, 
they stated, fewer individuals would seek to immigrate to the 
U.S.  A consistent theme among speakers was the need for 
Congress to look at issues from a broader perspective.  In 
order to completely address immigration issues, a 
multifaceted approach was needed both domestically and 
throughout the hemisphere.  Several ambassadors expressed 
their desire to integrate congressional participation as a 
recurring event in the future General Assembly gatherings. 
EATON