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Cablegate: Luis Tascón Accused of Being "Instrument of the (U.S.) Empire" Having Spent a Month "in the Offices of Bill Gates" (Updated)

Cablegate



Summary: Interesting cable about Hugo Chávez and some politicians in his country

IMPERIALISM with patents is a subject this site covers extensively. There is also a fair deal of coverage about financial sanctions and the role Microsoft plays in them. In one Cablegate cable that we found this morning we see a president trying to get "assistance in arranging a meeting with Bill Gates." World Bank/IMF are the next points in the list. Without delving again into the background of all this (in relation to Microsoft and Bill's instrument of control), we'll just descend into the following cable which mentioned why Luis Tascón Gutiérrez got expelled.










VZCZCXRO5067 PP RUEHAG RUEHROV DE RUEHCV #0227/01 0531735 ZNY CCCCC ZZH P 221735Z FEB 08 FM AMEMBASSY CARACAS TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0643 INFO RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE PRIORITY RUEHWH/WESTERN HEMISPHERIC AFFAIRS DIPL POSTS PRIORITY RUMIAAA/HQ USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL PRIORITY RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 CARACAS 000227

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

HQSOUTHCOM ALSO FOR POLAD DEPARTMENT PASS TO AID/OTI (RPORTER)

E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/21/2018 TAGS: PGOV [Internal Governmental Affairs], PREL [External Political Relations], KDEM [Democratization], VE [Venezuela] SUBJECT: PSUV FOUNDING CONGRESS: DELAYS AND AN EXPULSION

CARACAS 00000227 001.2 OF 002

Classified By: POLITICAL COUNSELOR ROBERT RICHARD DOWNES, REASONS 1.4 (B) AND (D)

ۦ1. (C) Summary. President Chavez publicly declared after his constitutional referendum defeat that shoring up his political base will be one of his highest priorities. Since then, he has focused considerable personal attention on launching his proposed single, pro-government party, the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV). Some 1600 PSUV delegates are trying to forge party statutes and select party leaders at an ongoing, and much-delayed, founding congress. According to current planning, PSUV leaders hope to register the new party with electoral authorities by March, well before state and local elections tentatively slated for November. The ham-handed expulsion of a National Assembly deputy from the party is highlighting the extent to which this ostensibly grassroots party is being steered by Chavez and a small, powerful group of core supporters. It has also revealed and exacerbated cleavages within Chavismo. The PSUV is fast establishing that it values party discipline over other considerations and does not welcome dissent. The PSUV continues to enjoy extensive government support, including free air time and advertising space in government-owned media outlets. End Summary.

------------------------------- The Much-Delayed Party Congress -------------------------------

ۦ2. (SBU) President Chavez spoke January 19 to over 1600 elected PSUV delegates to open the party congress of his proposed single, pro-government party, the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV). The PSUV founding congress has been tasked with establishing party regulations and a political platform. President Chavez postponed the congress a number of times in 2007 before declaring that it should be held soon after the December 2007 constitutional referendum. The PSUV founding congress, divided into some 50 work committees, has been holding weekend sessions since January 19 both in Caracas and other Venezuelan cities. Critics accuse BRV officials of using government resources to sustain the PSUV congress and of exploiting government-owned media to promote the PSUV.

ۦ3. (SBU) Chavez spoke for five hours to the PSUV congress on February 16, urging party delegates to embrace unity and to set aside individual ambitions. In addition, Chavez exhorted party members to elicit greater local participation in PSUV "battalion" meetings. Chavez also reportedly tasked the PSUV delegates with selecting party leaders and establishing criteria for selecting gubernatorial and mayoral candidates. Party leaders told the local media that they expect the PSUV founding congress to conclude in early March and to register as a political party with the National Electoral Council (CNE) around the same time.

ۦ4. (C) While ostensibly a party being forged "from below," the formation of the PSUV appears to be closely supervised from above by a small, powerful group of Chavez supporters who make up the PSUV Support Committee, successor to the larger PSUV Promotion Commission. Chavez designated former Vice President Jorge Rodriguez to lead the Support Committee's efforts. Miranda State Governor Diosdado Cabello, former Vice President Jose Vicente Rangel, and National Assembly Deputy Dario Vivas are also reportedly playing a key role. The Support Committee meets with and answers to the Venezuelan president.

---------------------- Expulsion of NA Deputy ----------------------

ۦ5. (SBU) Former VP Jorge Rodriguez and Miranda State Governor Diosdado Cabello announced on Venezuelan state television February 16 that the PSUV founding congress unanimously voted to expel National Assembly Deputy Luis Tascon from the party. Days before in the National Assembly, Tascon accused recently appointed Tax Authority (SENIAT) Director Jose David Cabello, brother of Diosdado, of purchasing some 200 cars and microbuses at grossly inflated prices when Jose David Cabello was at the Ministry of Infrastructure in 2004. The PSUV voting bloc in the National Assembly also expelled Tascon from its parliamentary group on February 21.

ۦ6. (SBU) Diosdado Cabello denied the corruption accusation against his brother and in a press release accused Tascon of being an "instrument of the (U.S.) empire." Cabello added

CARACAS 00000227 002.2 OF 002

that Tascon had spent a month "in the offices of Bill Gates" and suggested that while there a chip was injected into Tascon's blood. Cabello also produced a purported written request by Tascon for a diplomatic passport for a banker that Cabello said is associated with narcotrafficking. National Assembly President Cilia Flores reportedly tried to dismiss the NA Comptroller Commission chairman who received Tascon's complaint, but failed.

ۦ7. (C) Hard-line Chavistas such as National Assembly Deputies Iris Varela and Carlos Escarra have publicly defended Tascon. Varela questioned how someone could be expelled from a party that is not yet formally established. Escarra noted that Tascon should have the right to defend himself and questioned the manner in which he was reportedly expelled from the PSUV by simple acclamation at the February 15 founding congress meeting. Numerous Chavistas have posted op-eds on the pro-government "apporea.org" website accusing PSUV leaders of imposing excessive party discipline at the expense of democracy.

----------------------- PSUV: Multiple Currents -----------------------

ۦ8. (C) Intra-PSUV squabbling appears to reflect increasingly visible divisions within Chavismo. NA Deputy Carlos Escarra told the media that there are three currents within the PSUV occupying the left, center, and right of the pro-Chavez spectrum. Miranda State Governor Cabello publicly accused Tascon of being part of the "false left"; Tascon accused the Miranda governor of being part of the "endogenous right."

ۦ9. (C) Podemos leaders told the Ambassador February 19 that within the National Assembly, Escarra, Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro (and presumably now his common-law wife and National Assembly President Cilia Flores), and former Army major Francisco Ameliach lead three separate informal groups. Other insiders report that there are a few dozen "renovation" legislators trying to force the National Assembly leadership to share power -- and perks -- more broadly.

------- Comment -------

ۦ10. (C) The PSUV's Stalinesque expulsion of NA Deputy Tascon is a noteworthy example of growing cleavages within Chavismo as well as the Bolivarian revolution's capacity to eat its own. It also could not have happened to a "nicer guy" - Tascon is widely known for posting on his website the names and national identity numbers of all the persons who signed the recall petition against President Chavez. Chavez supporters subsequently used the "Tascon" list to deny government jobs, contracts, services and benefits to signatories.

ۦ11. (C) Tascon's ouster from the PSUV recalls the stripping of NA Deputy Francisco Ameliach of his PSUV coordinating role within the National Assembly in August 2007. Ameliach was disciplined after he suggested publicly that if the PSUV was not ready for 2008 state and local elections, Chavez' former political party, the Fifth Republic Movement (MVR), should be "dusted off" to compete at the polls. Notwithstanding Chavez' claim that he is trying to build a genuinely popular party from the ground up, the PSUV is earning a reputation for doctrinaire and factional politics rather than for fostering grassroots democracy and cooperation within the Chavista base.

DUDDY







The second cable is:








VZCZCXRO7524 OO RUEHPA DE RUEHCO #0408/01 1932156 ZNY CCCCC ZZH O 112156Z JUL 08 ZDS FM AMEMBASSY COTONOU TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0418 INFO RUEHZK/ECOWAS COLLECTIVE RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 0354 RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 1282 RUEHLMC/MILLENNIUM CHALLENGE CORP RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 COTONOU 000408

C O R R E C T E D C O P Y - (FIXED FORMATTING ERRORS)

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR AF/W:DBANKS/ESPRUILL DEPARTMENT PLEASE PASS TO USAID AND PEACE CORPS PARIS FOR BKANEDA NSC FOR BPITTMAN MCC FOR JBLOOM

E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/11/2018 TAGS: OVIP [Visits and Travel of Prominent Individuals and Leaders], EAID [Foreign Economic Assistance], EAGR [Agriculture and Forestry], PGOV [Internal Governmental Affairs], PREL [External Political Relations], PINR [Intelligence], EFIN [Financial and Monetary Affairs], LY [Libya], BN [Benin] SUBJECT: SCENESETTER FOR PRESIDENT YAYI'S TRIP TO THE U.S., JULY 15-21, 2008

REF: A. BROWN/BANKS E-MAIL OF 7/9/2008 B. COTONOU 396 C. COTONOU 349 D. COTONOU 348 E. COTONOU 262 F. COTONOU 255

COTONOU 00000408 001.4 OF 002

Classified By: Ambassador Gayleatha B. Brown. Reasons 1.4 (b&d).

ۦ1. (SBU) Summary: Benin,s President Boni Yayi travels to Washington, D.C., July 15-21, 2008, primarily for talks with the World Bank and the IMF and to seek assistance for plans to energize the country,s agricultural sector and to follow-up on earlier requests for food aid. His request for meetings with USG officials is linked to several issues of concern, including a growing problem in the agriculture sector, implementation of the MCA Compact, and efforts to curb corruption. Yayi also wishes an opportunity to demonstrate strong US/Benin ties as he continues to struggle at home to achieve economic growth and good governance objectives. A successful visit to Washington would raise his political capital at home where a stalemate in the National Assembly is blocking essential legislation and on the African continent where he hopes to strengthen his position as a regional player in the wake of hosting the 10th CEN-SAD Summit. End summary.

ۦ2. (U) President Boni Yayi of Benin will meet with World Bank and IMF officials during his July 15-21, 2008 visit to Washington, D.C. In addition, he has requested appointments with President Bush, Secretary Rice, Director of Foreign Assistance Fore, Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) CEO Danilovich, and Peace Corps Director Tschetter. His delegation includes: Pascal Irenee Koupaki, Minister of State for Economic Forecasting, Development and the Evaluation of Public Action; Roger Dovonou, Minister of Agriculture, Animal Husbandry, and Fishing; and S. Lawani, Minister of Finance.

//STALEMATE AT HOME//

ۦ3. (U) The strong political coalition that secured President Yayi,s election in March 2006 is crumbling. Although Yayi won a majority of the communes in the April 2008 municipal elections, his desire to create a single list of candidates from his Force Cowry for an Emerging Benin (FCBE) movement drove a number of National Assembly deputies from his governing coalition. Those deputies and others from opposition parties now hold a majority in the National Assembly, blocking key Government of Benin (GOB)-sponsored legislation. This includes the new penal and civil codes that are instrumental to the implementation of USG-funded projects such as the Women,s Justice and Empowerment Initiative (WJEI).

ۦ4. (U) The anti-corruption fight also has stalled. The GOB has had little success in its pursuit of high-profile corruption cases against alleged corrupt, former government officials. For example, the Supreme Court recently ordered the release without bond of Sefou Fagbohoun, a powerful opposition party leader whose case had long lingered with no action. The GOB had accused Fagbohoun of embezzlement and mismanagement of the privatized gas parastatal SONACOP. He promptly took his place in the National Assembly, a position won from a jail cell and where he now has parliamentary immunity. Yayi,s efforts earlier to convince the parliament to lift immunity in another case also failed.

ۦ5. (U) In addition, President Yayi is under pressure over rising consumer prices. Workers peacefully protested on July 10 against the high cost of living related to food prices. To make matters worse, the GOB is running short of funds used to subsidize prices of key commodities to the consumers (Ref F). President Yayi organized a June 24 briefing for donors on the problem, explaining that GOB efforts to reduce the prices of foodstuffs and construction materials, through subsidies and cuts in import duties and VAT, have cost the GOB FCFA 48,248,478,989 (approximately USD 114,877,331.)

//LIBYA LEAVES BENIN WITH A WHOPPING CEN-SAD BILL//

ۦ6.(C) To make matters worse, Libya did not keep a promise to provide substantial funding to help defray GOB expenses for the recent 10th CEN-SAD summit in Cotonou, according to President Yayi. He told the Ambassador on July 3 that instead of the expected USD 10 million contribution from Libya, the GOB received only USD 3 million, most of which went to pay the Libyan delegation's living and lodging

COTONOU 00000408 002.4 OF 002

expenses (including Mr. Khadaffi's tent). The Chief of Staff at the Finance Ministry confirmed that Libya's contribution totaled FCFA 1,255,675,958 or approximately USD 3 million. Moreover, to facilitate Libyan financed, private-sector construction of 69 luxury villas for the CEN-SAD summit, the GOB recouped prime land near the Cotonou airport from private owners and gave generous tax breaks for the project. Yayi said that of the promised 69 villas, the Libyans only built ۦ40. The Foreign Minister told the Ambassador that contrary to Khadaffi's wishes, Benin did not press Khadaffi's controversial position on African unity (Ref D) at the recent AU meeting in Egypt - a testimony, he said, to Benin's independence.

//GOB ISSUES FOR DISCUSSION IN WASHINGTON//

ۦ7. (SBU) Per Ref A, MFA Americas Acting Director told post that President Yayi,s issues for discussion with USG officials include: USG: - agricultural development; food crisis; transformation of the Cotton industry; OPIC - international cooperation: CEN-SAD, G-8 resolutions - climate change - democracy in Africa - MCA Compact (delays in implementation related to the Port of Cotonou and the Access to Justice Program, efforts to curb corruption and related laws, and additional funds for the current Compact and a Compact II) - recent dismissal of the Port Director that is not expected to derail Port reforms - tour d,horizon on USAID programs (health, education and WJEI) and - assistance in arranging a meeting with Bill Gates. World Bank/IMF: Post expects President Yayi,s talks to focus on budgetary assistance, the status of Benin,s structural adjustment reforms and release of donors, 2008 budget support funds.

ۦ8. (SBU) Comment: President Yayi,s visit to the United States presents an opportune time for USG officials to reiterate support for his stance against corruption and encourage concrete action to arrest and try corrupt officials. The GOB also needs to fully engage in the President,s Malaria Initiative (PMI) by committing the requisite personnel for implementation of the program. In some respects, Yayi is between a rock and a hard place. Crippling defections from FCBE in the National Assembly hamstring GOB efforts to move forward on key economic and social legislation, thus hampering his ambitious program for growth and development and ability to meet the high expectations for change of the electorate.

BROWN







Remember that this is US perspective on Hugo Chávez, so it's supposed to make him look bad.

Update: Luis Tascón Met Bill Gates, Then Shot Down Free/Libre Software in Venezuela

Looking back at this Cablegate cable, we realise that Tascón did a lot more harm even to Free software.

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