Keep Us Strong WikiLeaks logo

Currently released so far... 4489 / 251,287

Articles

Browse latest releases

Browse by creation date

Browse by origin

A B C D F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W Y Z

Browse by tag

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
QA
YI YM YE

Browse by classification

Community resources

courage is contagious

Viewing cable 08CURACAO82, OPPOSITION PARTIES AND VENEZUELA COMPLAIN ABOUT U.S.

If you are new to these pages, please read an introduction on the structure of a cable as well as how to discuss them with others. See also the FAQs

Understanding cables
Every cable message consists of three parts:
  • The top box shows each cables unique reference number, when and by whom it originally was sent, and what its initial classification was.
  • The middle box contains the header information that is associated with the cable. It includes information about the receiver(s) as well as a general subject.
  • The bottom box presents the body of the cable. The opening can contain a more specific subject, references to other cables (browse by origin to find them) or additional comment. This is followed by the main contents of the cable: a summary, a collection of specific topics and a comment section.
To understand the justification used for the classification of each cable, please use this WikiSource article as reference.

Discussing cables
If you find meaningful or important information in a cable, please link directly to its unique reference number. Linking to a specific paragraph in the body of a cable is also possible by copying the appropriate link (to be found at theparagraph symbol). Please mark messages for social networking services like Twitter with the hash tags #cablegate and a hash containing the reference ID e.g. #08CURACAO82.
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08CURACAO82 2008-06-24 18:06 2011-01-25 17:05 CONFIDENTIAL Consulate Curacao
P 241824Z JUN 08
FM AMCONSUL CURACAO
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2159
INFO AMEMBASSY CARACAS PRIORITY 
AMEMBASSY BOGOTA PRIORITY 
USINT HAVANA PRIORITY 
AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 
AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 
AMEMBASSY QUITO PRIORITY 
AMEMBASSY THE HAGUE PRIORITY 
AMEMBASSY PARAMARIBO PRIORITY 
AMCONSUL CURACAO
C O N F I D E N T I A L CURACAO 000082 
 
 
DEPARTMENT PASS TO WHA/CAR; ALSO PASS TO PM/SNA 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL:  6/24/2018 
TAGS: PREL PGOV MOPS SNAR NA NL AA VE
SUBJECT: OPPOSITION PARTIES AND VENEZUELA COMPLAIN ABOUT U.S. 
COUNTER-DRUG FO...


159478

2008-06-24

08CURACAO82

Consulate Curacao

CONFIDENTIAL

08CARACAS695|08HAVANA462

C O N F I D E N T I A L CURACAO 000082 


DEPARTMENT PASS TO WHA/CAR; ALSO PASS TO PM/SNA 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 6/24/2018 
TAGS: PREL PGOV MOPS SNAR NA NL AA VE
SUBJECT: OPPOSITION PARTIES AND VENEZUELA COMPLAIN ABOUT U.S. 
COUNTER-DRUG FORWARD OPERATING LOCATION 

REF: (A) CARACAS 000695; (B) HAVANA 000462 

CLASSIFIED BY: William J. Furnish, POL, ConGen Curacao, State. 
REASON: 1.4 (a), (b), (d) 


1. (C) SUMMARY: Local opposition parties are using rising fuel 
prices and fears of regional conflict to attempt, 
unsuccessfully, to stir up popular opposition to the U.S. 
counter-drug Forward Operating Location (FOL). Local media 
reports have also highlighted recent Venezuelan government 
criticism of the FOL. Venezuelan air traffic controllers have 
threatened U.S. and allied counter-drug flights in the area, 
challenging U.S., French, British and Netherlands Antilles 
aircraft operating in international airspace. Missoffs have 
sought to provide friendly GONA officials with information to 
counter the criticisms, but we probably can expect more negative 
attention in the run-up to renewal of the FOL agreement, which 
expires in 2011. END SUMMARY 

OPPOSITION SEIZES ON AIRSPACE VIOLATION TO CRITICIZE FOL 

2 . (U) Leaders of Curacao's opposition parties have used the 
recent, alleged Venezuelan airspace violation by a USAF S-3 
plane flying out of Curacao (REF. A ) to attempt to stir up 
local fears over the presence of the U.S. Air Force counter-drug 
FOL here. Party leaders Nelson Pierre of the Not One Step 
Backwards List (PLNP) and Helmin Wiels of Sovereign People (PS) 
party have taken to local media to plant the idea that the U.S. 
is attempting to use the FOL as a staging area for military 
incursions into VE, and that Curacao could eventually become 
caught in the middle should any military action occur. The 
opposition called for a public meeting on the issue in the 
Island Council, now set for June 24 . 

BREAK AT THE PUMP FOR GIVING U.S. FOL THE BOOT? 

3 . (U) This action follows recent criticism and strike action 
over the annoucement of significant retail fuel price increases 
on Curacao. Opposition parties are telling the public that 
Venezuelan President Chavez will not consider giving Curacao a 
better deal on fuel as long as the FOL (which he reportedly 
considers a potential threat) is allowed to operate. The 
Curacao-owned, but Venezuelan (PdVSA)-operated, oil refinery 
supplies all fuel to local retailers. 

WHO IS FUNDING LOCAL OPPOSITION? 

4 . (C) A pro-U.S. Curacao Island Council member called on COM 
recently to discuss possible Venezuelan interference in this and 
related issues. Source informed us that he and other members of 
the government are concerned that the opposition parties and 
certain labor unions are suddenly better organized and funded, 
and that they plan to use the upcoming council meeting to put 
political pressure on the GONA, including regarding the FOL. He 
reported that a recent strike and public demonstration by the 
taxibus drivers' union over fuel prices was far more organized 
and coordinated than prior events. He noted especially the 
involvement in the strike of former GONA cabinet member and 
avowed Chavista Errol Cova of the now-defunct Labor People's 
Crusade party. 

MISSOFFS REACH OUT 

5 . (C) Opposition leaders will reportedly raise the Venezuelan 
airspace incident and try to link it with the fuel price issue 
at the Island Council meeting to suggest that the GONA get rid 
of the FOL. In an effort to help pro-U.S. officials counter the 
criticism, COM and the JIATF-South liaison officer briefed 
Island Governor and Council head Lisa Dindial, and later PM 
Elhage on May 25 regarding the airspace incident (using approved 
press guidance). Missoffs provided background information on the 
limited, counter-drug mission of the FOL and on its many 
benefits to Curacao. During the meeting with the PM, Missoffs 
were surprised to encounter visiting Dutch State Secretary for 
Kingdom Affairs Ank Bijleveld and Netherlands local 
representative Rob Vermaas. The PM invited them to sit in on the 
meeting, where they also expressed concern about possible 
Venezuelan interference. The Lt. Governor and PM planned to pass 
the FOL information to friendly island commissioners so that 
they can better respond to the accusations and allegations that 
the opposition is likely to make at the June 24 public meeting. 

VENEZUELAN DRUMBEAT OF CRITICISM 

6. (C) For its part, Venezuela is apparently ramping up its 
public criticism of the FOL and taking an increasingly 
aggressive posture against counter-drug flights from Curacao. 
In President Chavez's recent visit to Cuba, he reportedly 
referred, as he has previously, to the threatening 
U.S.military bases in Curacao and Manta, Ecuador (REF. B). Local 
media also report that former Venezuelan Vice President Vicente 
Rangel again cited the Curacao FOL as a potential threat during 
his weekly TV program. Other current and former Venezuelan 
officials have also been quoted locally as calling the FOL a 
threat to Venezuela. 

CHALLENGES TO BRITISH, FRENCH, ANTILLEAN COUNTER-DRUG FLIGHTS 

7. (C) Perhaps partly as a result of the airspace violation and 
high-level political attention, Venezuelan air traffic control 
authorities seem to be taking a more aggressive stance toward 
U.S. and allied counter-narcotics flights in the region. On 
three occasions over four days, June 14-17, we understand that 
Venezuelan air traffic control (ATC) at Maiquetia airport has 
challenged the presence of counter-narcotics aircraft operating 
within its Flight Information Region (FIR) but within 
international airspace. On these three occasions, British, 
French and Antillean counter-drug reconnaisance planes were told 
they needed Venezuelan clearance to transit the FIR. The 
aircraft commanders have responded that no such clearance is 
necessary as they are state aircraft operating in international 
airspace with due regard to other traffic. In the first 
incident, the British pilot was told that if he entered the 
Venezuelan FIR again, he will be intercepted by military 
aircraft. A Dash-8 operated by the Netherlands Antilles Coast 
Guard was challenged the following day and voluntarily turned 
around. Finally, the French aircraft, which remained in 
international airspace, was reportedly shadowed for 15-20 
mintues by what were apparently two unidentified Venezuelan 
military planes 150 miles away and flying over Venezuela on a 
paralell course. 

WORKING-LEVEL RESPONSE SUGGESTED 

8. (C) The Netherlands Antilles Foreign Affairs Directorate 
(FAD) called ConGen June 15 to ask about unofficial complaints 
from the Venezuelan ATC regarding the first of these incidents. 
COM corrected the claim that U.S. aircraft were involved, and 
encouraged the FAD to deal with the matter first at the 
technical, working level. COM updated the FAD Director and 
Deputy PM on the margins of the June 16 FOL change of command 
ceremony here. The FAD director, who had just returned from 
talks with Venezuela on the future of the Curacao refinery (run 
by PDVSA), agreed. He noted that similar incidents two years ago 
were handled on a mil-mil basis at a low level. He also 
predicted that the GOV would not succeed should it attempt to 
link the FOL to the refinery negotiations. COM also expects to 
discuss the issue during a visit to JIATFSouth HQ next week 
where he will be joined by the Governors of the Netherlands 
Antilles and Aruba, and the Curacao-based Dutch Commander of CTG 
4.4. 

9 . (C) Comment: The opposition parties, while small, have a 
dedicated following, mainly among working-class citizens who are 
already wary of Dutch influence and control. Opposition leader 
Nelson Pierre (a reputed former drug addict) of the PLNP is 
known to deliver lengthy, screaming rants on local radio shows, 
accusing U.S. and Dutch interests of wide-ranging conspiracies 
against Curacao and the region. Post suspects that some 
oppositon leaders have links with the Venezuelan government and 
may receive funding from it. We expect more opposition attacks 
on our military presence in the runup to renewal of the FOL 
agreement, which expires in 2011. We will continue efforts to 
promote the FOL as a multinational effort to work with the 
Antilles (and Aruba) to combat drug trafficking, and to show 
the Opposition parties that there is a political cost to not 
supporting that fight in defense of their own people. We will 
also continue to highlight the FOL's counterdrug mission and 
success, along with its positive economic and social impact in 
the community, in order to influence already generally favorable 
public opinion. 


DUNNTJ