Viewing cable 08LISBON811
Title: SCENESETTER FOR VISIT OF ONDCP DIRECTOR WALTERS TO

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
08LISBON8112008-04-03 08:57:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Lisbon
VZCZCXYZ0000
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHLI #0811/01 0940857
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 030857Z APR 08
FM AMEMBASSY LISBON
TO RHEHOND/DIR ONDCP WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6739
INFO RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS PRIORITY 0074
RUEHDL/AMEMBASSY DUBLIN PRIORITY 0098
RUEHFN/AMEMBASSY FREETOWN PRIORITY 0007
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 0341
RUEHMD/AMEMBASSY MADRID PRIORITY 2599
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 0407
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME PRIORITY 0396
RUEHTC/AMEMBASSY THE HAGUE PRIORITY 0347
UNCLAS LISBON 000811 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: SNAR PGOV PREL ASEC PO
SUBJECT: SCENESETTER FOR VISIT OF ONDCP DIRECTOR WALTERS TO 
LISBON 
 
¶1. (SBU) Mr. Director: 
 
Your visit to Portugal will be the first high-level ONDCP 
visit since 1998 and underscores both our interest and 
concern about increasing cocaine flows through Portugal into 
Europe.  As you may know, Portugal saw a marked increase in 
cocaine seizures in 2005 and 2006, followed by a sharp drop 
in 2007.  The Embassy Mission Strategic Plan includes as a 
goal establishing a DEA office in Lisbon to engage more fully 
with the Portuguese on this critical issues. 
 
Portugal - Steadfast Ally 
------------------------- 
 
¶2. (SBU) Portugal, a founding member of NATO, is a steadfast 
ally that has consistently stood by our side over the years 
despite various changes in government.  The President and 
Prime Minister -- from opposing political parties -- each 
regularly stress that trans-Atlantic relations are a pillar 
of Portuguese foreign policy and that NATO is the primary 
guarantor of European security. 
 
¶3. (SBU) Portugal has provided excellent access to Portuguese 
air and seaports for military support operations in Iraq and 
Afghanistan, with over three thousand flights a year 
transiting Lajes Air Base in the Azores.  Despite severe 
budgetary constraints, it is engaged internationally on 
numerous fronts with military personnel in Iraq, Afghanistan 
(where it lost two soldiers), East Timor, Kosovo, Bosnia, and 
Lebanon, and it is a member of the Proliferation Security 
Initiative, the Container Security Initiative, and the Global 
Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism. 
 
Political-Economic Environment 
------------------------------ 
 
¶4. (SBU) Prime Minister Jose Socrates, 50, heads Portugal's 
moderate Socialist government, which assumed power in March 
¶2005.  The Socialists won an absolute majority of seats, 
which has allowed Socrates to govern from the center without 
coalitions and helped him implement an economic reform agenda 
that has required significant belt-tightening by most 
Portuguese.  By the end of 2007, the government had succeeded 
in reducing the budget deficit below the EU-mandated limit of 
three percent, a year ahead of schedule. 
 
¶5. (SBU) The Portuguese government was consumed by foreign 
policy issues and internal EU matters during its six-month 
stint as EU president during the latter half of 2007.  Two of 
Portugal's biggest accomplishments during that busy period 
were finalizing the EU's reform treaty (the Treaty of 
Lisbon), and hosting a summit of European and African leaders 
that agreed on a structure intended to ensure regular and 
vigorous interactions between the two continents. 
 
National Counternarcotics Priorities 
------------------------------------- 
 
¶6. (SBU) In contrast to the United States, Portugal tends to 
view the narcotics issue primarily as a health threat and, 
secondarily, as a law enforcement challenge.  In 2002 the 
Portuguese government designated the Ministry of Health as 
the responsible agency in charge of coordinating Portugal's 
drug programs.  Portugal's counternarcotics action plan for 
2004-2008 aims to ensure Portugal's active involvement in 
multilateral fora dealing with the problems of drugs and drug 
addiction and to develop bilateral cooperation based on the 
principle of shared responsibility.  Specifically, the 
national action plan calls for Portugal to designate a 
framework to ensure prevention through demand reduction, 
dissuasion (primarily aimed at repeat drug users), and 
risk/harm reduction programs.  It further outlines Portugal's 
efforts on treatment, supply reduction, and reintegration 
programs. 
 
¶7. (U) Like several other European nations, Portugal has 
decriminalized possession of small doses of narcotics (up to 
2 grams of cocaine, 1 of heroin, and 5 of hashish) for 
personal consumption, making it a minor "administrative 
offense." Administrative processes attempt to dissuade the 
casual drug user and establish an individual record which can 
negatively affect gun permit and hunting license 
 
applications, as well as criminal background checks. 
 
¶8. (U) Since 2005, cocaine transshipments from South America 
to Europe through Portugal have increased significantly.  In 
2005, Portugal overtook the Netherlands as the second largest 
interdicting nation of cocaine after Spain.  According to 
estimates from the Lisbon-based European Drug Monitoring and 
Drug Addiction Center (EMCDDA), more than 12 million 
Europeans have used cocaine at least once in their lifetime. 
However, despite Portugal's increased role in the cocaine 
transshipment routes, Portugal's national estimates of 
cocaine consumption remain relatively low -- 1.6% of the 
population aged 15-65, according to a 2006 report from the 
Portuguese Institute of Drugs and Drug Addiction (IDT). 
 
Recent Cooperation Activities 
----------------------------- 
 
¶9. (SBU) MAOC-N:  In late 2006, Maritime Analysis and 
Operation Center- Narcotics (MAOC-N) member states selected 
Portugal to host an international counternarcotics 
information sharing initiative, which officially opened for 
business in Lisbon on September 30, 2007.  The MAOC, which is 
modeled on the U.S. Joint Interagency Task Force in Key West 
(JIATF), coordinates law enforcement information and 
resources among the participant nations (Portugal, United 
Kingdom, France, Spain, Italy, Netherlands, and Ireland) by 
sharing intelligence on narcotics shipments and by deploying 
the appropriate national assets to stop traffickers.  Since 
its first group operation on April 1, 2007, the MAOC has been 
responsible for the seizure of 26.74 metric tons of cocaine 
and has prosecuted traffickers in six different member 
nations. 
 
¶10. (SBU) Guinea Bissau:  On December 19, Portugal hosted a 
conference focused on obtaining necessary financing to 
implement Guinea Bissau's and the UN Office on Drugs and 
Crime's Operation Plan in the fight against drugs.  Portugal 
committed to support Guinea Bissau in reforming its security 
sector and in protecting the country against drug 
trafficking, organized crime, and crime more generally over 
the next three years.  Since Portugal has historical ties 
with its former colony Guinea Bissau, it has contributed to 
international assistance efforts by providing 
Portuguese-speaking police liaison officers and 
counternarcotics training classes.  In recent meetings with 
Embassy officers, Ministry of Justice officials stressed that 
U.S. engagement was urgently required to establish basic 
legal infrastructure in Bissau. 
 
¶11. (SBU) Venezuela:  Portuguese policy towards Venezuela is 
driven primarily by concerns over the welfare of the 
500,000-strong Portuguese community there.  To strengthen 
ties, Portugal and Venezuela in 2007 signed a Memorandum of 
Understanding providing for increased counternarcotics 
collaboration between law enforcement and the establishment 
of a Bilateral Commission in 2008 to oversee that 
collaboration.  Foreign Ministry contacts told us that they 
anticipate moving forward with the law enforcement 
cooperation perhaps as soon as mid-April.   On the commercial 
side, negotiations of a new commercial agreement between 
Portugal and Venezuela made significant progress in late 
February, during the visit of the Portuguese State Secretary 
for Trade to Caracas. Nonetheless, the document remains 
unsigned and, according to press reports in Lisbon, Prime 
Minister Socrates will only travel to Venezuela later this 
month if the agreement has been finalized.  Portugal expects 
to sell Venezuela several food products -- including milk -- 
worth 200 million euros, in exchange for Venezuelan oil. 
 
 
Stephenson