POLITICS

WikiLeaks Dishes the Dirt on Latin America's Leaders
WikiLeaks docs mention Latin America some 33,000 times. Here are some of the juiciest. 
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Argentina

A leaked Dec. 2009 U.S. Embassy cable questions the ability of the Argentine government to combat money laundering. The cable states, "The near complete absence of enforcement coupled with a culture of impunity and corruption make Argentina ripe for exploitation by narco-traffickers and terrorist cells."

The cable suggested that President Cristina Fernandez and her government “stand to lose” by prosecuting organized crime, and that the U.S. government should not expect her to do anything to combat the problem.

The cable also said that "although tax cheats and compromised politicians may still be the chief source of dirty money, continued GoA indifference to AML/CFT (anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism) could offer an attractive local staging ground to narco-traffickers and international terrorists. If the GoA does not move to close loopholes and enhance enforcement, it may soon find its financial system contaminated by drug money and terror funds."

(AP)

Ecuador Ambassador US

Ecuador

In U.S. diplomatic cables dated July 10, 2009, former U.S. ambassador to Ecuador, Heather Hodges, accuses the country’s former police chief, Jaime Hurtado, of corruption and speculates that President Rafael Correa was well aware of it.

In the Wikileaks cable, which was published by the Madrid newspaper El Pais, Hodges recommends that Hurtado be stripped of his U.S. visa. She says he used the position "to extort cash and property, misappropriate public funds, facilitate human trafficking, and obstruct the investigation and prosecution of corrupt colleagues."

The cable says "Hurtado's corrupt activities were so well known" in the upper ranks of the police that "some Embassy officials believe that President Correa must have been aware of them when he made the appointment. These observers believe that Correa may have wanted to have a (national police) Chief whom he could easily manipulate."

This leaked cable led to the expulsion of Hodges from the country.

(AP)

US Mexico Ambassador Latino

Mexico

U.S. diplomatic cables referring to inefficiency and friction among Mexican security forces dealing with the drug war in Mexico caused Carlos Pascual, former U.S. Ambassador to Mexico, to resign in March.

A leaked diplomatic cable from Jan. 29, 2010 referred to friction between Mexico’s army and navy while planning an operation that led to the death of drug lord Arturo Beltran Leyva. 

Pascual said the U.S. brought information about the location of Beltran Leyva to the army, which refused to move quickly. Mexican marines eventually took Beltran Leyva down during a shootout.

(AP2008)

chile refugee

Chile

According to diplomatic cables made public by Wikileaks, the U.S. believes that Islamic fundamentalists based in the city of Iquique, in the north of Chile, provided financial support to Hezbollah and other radical groups in the region where Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay intersect.

In a Feb. 2006 cable, then-U.S. Ambassador Craig Kelly voices his concern over the issue. He said, "Fundamentalists who are known to be associated with Hezbollah are increasing their presence and activity in Chile," adding that "...substantial information that indicates that significant financial fund-raising for Hezbollah is taking place in northern Chile."

(2010 Getty Images)

AlvaroUribe

Colombia

According to a 2006 confidential U.S. diplomatic cable leaked by Wikileaks in February, then-Colombian President Alvaro Uribe authorized “clandestine operations” against leftist FARC guerrilla forces in Venezuelan territory.

El Espectador cited the cable leaked by Wikileaks, and wrote that the former President authorized "clandestine cross-border operations against the FARC as appropriate, while trying to avoid a repeat of the crisis generated by the capture of FARC official Rodrigo Granda in Caracas in 2003 (sic)."

The incident increased tensions between the Colombian and Venezuelan governments.

(ASSOCIATED PRESS)

cubainsolvency

Cuba

A confidential cable sent by the U.S. Interests Section in Havana in February gave a dire prediction of Cuba's finances.

"All diplomats agreed that Cuba could survive this year without substantial policy changes, but the financial situation could become fatal within 2-3 years," the cable said, adding that Italian diplomats cited sources within the Cuban government as predicting that the island "would become insolvent as early as 2011."

The cable said the Chinese complained about problems getting loans repaid.

"There is little prospect of economic reform in 2010 despite an economic crisis that is expected to get even worse for Cuba in the next few years," it said, citing Cuba experts.

(AP)

boliviavp

Bolivia

Bolivia's Vice President Alvaro García Linera posted all diplomatic cables that mentioned the country on his Web site. He said he wanted to see the "barbarities and insults," and wanted to show Washington's "interventionist infiltration." 

Garcia's site includes two quotes: "The truth will set you free," from the New Testament. 

And from WikiLeaks' founder Julian Assange: "Every organization rests on a mountain of secrets."

AlvaroUribe

Colombia

A WikiLeaks cable revealed that Former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe tried to communicate with the country's main rebel group through one of its factions in Sweden. The former hard-line president, who for years battled with the Armed Forces of Colombian, or FARC, refused to negotiate with the guerilla group until it stopped its kidnappings and violence. The leak said Uribe sought talks, with Sweden as a possible mediator. FARC said in a subsequent communique that it rejected any dialogue with the Colombian government. 

(ASSOCIATED PRESS)

MexicoDrugWar

México

A 2009 State Department cable released by WikiLeaks says bridges and dams along the U.S. and Mexican border are so important that if “destroyed, disrupted or exploited would likely have an immediate and deleterious effect on the United States,” according to a story in the El Paso Times.

The sites include the Bridge of Americas, the Zaragoza bridge and the Columbia Solidarity Bridge, the newspaper reported.

"In addition to a list of critical domestic (critical infrastructure and key resources), the NIPP requires compilation and annual update of a comprehensive inventory of (sites and resources) that are located outside U.S. borders and whose loss could critically impact the public health, economic security, and/or national and homeland security of the United States," the cable says.

Other cables relating to Mexico, which have not been released, allegedly pertain to the country's drug violence. 

(ASSOCIATED PRESS)

DanielOrtega

Nicaragua

U.S. diplomatic cables accuse Nicaraguan government of taking bribes from drug traffickers and Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega is as having received "suitcases full of money" from his Venezuelan counterpart, Hugo Chávez. 

The WikiLeaks cables also reveal that during his presidential campaign in 2007, Ortega and his FSLN party received drug money in exchange for releasing drug suspected who were captured by police and military. The cables claim that money was used to fund the Sandinista campaign.

(AP)

Cristina Fernández de Kirchner

Argentina

In U.S. diplomatic cables dated Dec. 31, 2009, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton inquires about the mental state of the Argentine president.

“How is Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner managing her nerves and anxiety? How does stress affect her behavior toward advisors and/or her decisionmaking? What steps does Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner or her advisers/handlers, take in helping her deal with stress? Is she taking any medications?” the cables said.

The cables also asked about the former president, Nestor Kirchner, who is Fernandez’s husband, asking how the two “divide up their day?” and "On which issues does Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner take the lead and which issues does she leave to Nestor Kirchner?"

(AP)

evomoralesbolivia

Bolivia

Bolivia is denying a WikiLeaks report about a tumor related to President Evo Morales’ nose. The diplomatic cables, Brazilian Defense Minister told former U.S. Ambassador Clifford Sobel that Morales was suffering from “a serious tumor.” A spokesman for the president later denied the tumor, saying the president had surgery for a nasal issue and said the cables reveal “shameless meddling” in Washington. Another leaked letter said the U.S. government asked Argentinean President Cristina Fernández to help lessen the tensions between the U.S. and the Bolivian government. The Bolivian government has said that action amounted to “espionage.” Fernandez said in the cable that “Evo is not an easy person, making us notice that Argentina is having problems acquiring natural gas from Bolivia. Everything with patience.”

(AP)

lulabrazilprez

Brazil

A January 2008 cable says local authorities in Brazil “are aware of the potential threat from terrorists exploiting the favorable conditions existing in Brazil to operate and actively track and monitor suspected terrorist activity and follow all leads passed to them." But the cable also says the country “continues to deny the presence and potential threat of terrorists and terrorism in Brazil” and does so to not prejudice “the area's image as a tourist destination.”
Brazil authorities have not commented on the matter.  A former U.S. ambassador described Brazil's efforts to build nuclear submarines as "white elephants" and said concern over its sovereignty in the Amazon region veered into "paranoia," according to cables released Wednesday by WikiLeaks.  

(AP)

chavezsalutes

Venezuela/Cuba

Former U.S. Ambassador William Brownfield said in a Jan. 30, 2006 diplomatic cable that the Cuban intelligence officers “have direct access to Chávez and frequently provide him with intelligence unvetted by Venezuelan officers.Similar claims have been raised previously by Chávez's critics, but U.S. officials have not publicly aired such concerns.

"The impact of Cuban involvement in Venezuelan intelligence could impact U.S. interests directly," the report said. "Venezuelan intelligence services are among the most hostile towards the United States in the hemisphere, but they lack the expertise that Cuban services can provide. Cuban intelligence routinely provides the (Venezuelan government) intelligence reports about the activities" of U.S. government officials.

(AP)

Honduran President

Honduras

The U.S. embassy sent on cable to Washington saying the Honduran coup in June 2009 was “illegal and unconstitutional.” The cables said there was no legal authority to remove President Manuel Zelaya from office and called the move “abduction.” The U.S. had never publicly condemned the coup and recognized the government of the current president, Porfirio Lobo. The cables, however, said the coup had no “validity under the Honduran constitution.”

(AP)

ecuadorpresident

Ecuador

An Ecuadorian deputy foreign minister offered refuge to WikiLeaks’ founder Julian Assange – but the government then reversed coursed.

Tuesday night, President Rafael Correa said his government had not invited Assange for a visit. He said the minister’s comment was “spontaneous” and personal in nature.

Assange, an Australian whose whereabouts are unknown, is being sought for rape allegations. The U.S. government is also looking into whether to charge him with espionage.

(AP)

WikiLeaks Dishes the Dirt on Latin America's Leaders

WikiLeaks docs mention Latin America some 33,000 times. Here are some of the juiciest. 

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