Viewing cable 07SANTIAGO1828
Title: DEMARCHE ON DEMOCRACY IN VENEZUELA - CHILE

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
07SANTIAGO18282007-11-14 20:56:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Santiago
VZCZCXYZ0007
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DE RUEHSG #1828 3182056
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 142056Z NOV 07
FM AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2406
INFO RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA 3896
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS 1541
RUEHPE/AMEMBASSY LIMA 5288
RUEHME/AMEMBASSY MEXICO 1171
RUEHMN/AMEMBASSY MONTEVIDEO 3807
RUEHOT/AMEMBASSY OTTAWA 0530
RUEHSJ/AMEMBASSY SAN JOSE 0850
RUEHSN/AMEMBASSY SAN SALVADOR 0237
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS
RUEHUB/USINT HAVANA 0088
C O N F I D E N T I A L SANTIAGO 001828 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/13/2017 
TAGS: PGOV PHUM VE EU CI WHA
SUBJECT: DEMARCHE ON DEMOCRACY IN VENEZUELA - CHILE 
 
REF: A. STATE 154674 
 
     ¶B. SANTIAGO 1825 
 
Classified By: Charge d' Affaires, a.i. Carol Urban for reasons 1.4 (b 
and d). 
 
¶1. (C) E/Pol Counselor November 13 delivered ref A demarche 
to Jamie Bascunan, the MFA's desk officer for Venezuela, 
Colombia, and Ecuador, stressing that the proposed Venezulan 
referendum ran contrary to Caracas's obligations under the 
Inter-American Democratic Charter.  As such, it is incumbent 
on all signatories to press Venezuela to comply with its 
commitments; Canada and El Salvador had recently joined the 
U.S. in expressing concern over Chavez's proposed reforms and 
the USG hoped Chile would as well.  Bascunan at first took a 
familar tack:  "Chile is carefully monitoring the situation" 
but, sotto voce, "this is an internal Venezuelan matter." 
Bascunan noted further that it is not entirely clear that 
Chavez will carry the day.  The Venezuelan ambassador to 
Chile had recently called on MFA Director General Carlo 
Portales (the MFA's number three official) to lobby for the 
purposes underlying the referendum, including leaving behind 
a slick written presentation.  The full court press suggested 
Chavez is worried.  Bascunan, who sat in on the meeting, said 
Portales had promised to study the materials but which were 
now sitting untouched and unremarked in Bascunan's office 
credenza.  In short, Bascunan implied, it is not worth 
getting too exercised over the referendum. 
 
¶2. (C) In reply, E/Pol Counselor stressed that Chavez and his 
government controlled the media, would open purse strings for 
patronage and, as the recent murder of student activists in 
Zulia made clear, would use all means, including violence, to 
ensure the referendum passed.  He also noted the referendum 
undermined the letter and spirit of Article 3 of the Charter; 
as such, it is not purely an internal matter but one 
impacting democracy in the hemisphere.  Bascunan took notice 
when E/Pol Counselor observed that the Community of 
Democracies had excluded Venezuela from its Ministerial in 
Mali, nodding that the exclusion made clear that this matter 
is not a "U.S. vs. Venezuela" bilateral dispute but a concern 
of the international community.  He promised to relay USG 
points to his superiors. 
 
¶3. (C) Comment:  Normally we would conclude that Chile would 
take its usual safe path in response to this demarche:  Say 
nothing to offend a fellow Latin and then do so only if there 
is consensus.  However, Chavez's unwelcome actions at the 
just concluded Ibero-American Summit in Santiago, which left 
FM Foxley "deeply disturbed" (ref B), could lead to a more 
public GOC questioning of the referendum and the Venezuelan 
social model trumpeted by Chavez.  End comment. 
URBAN