Catching up on old news here, after taking some time off. This long article in Haiti Liberte gives a pretty interesting account of the history of the US’s attempts to convince Haiti not to sign up for Petrocaribe, the Venezuelan oil-aid program that finances about half the price of crude oil and refined products at 2% interest.
Now, I can understand the political science problems with Petrocaribe for recipient countries. The payback scheme involves an off-budget infrastructure fund for the recipient country that in many countries is likely to be frought with corruption. And cheap oil may not be the best thing for anyone, as it subsidizes pollution and waste. But it is really something to see a rich, swimming-in-oil country like the USA doing everything it can to stop Petrocaribe for poor, oil-starved Haiti. Worth a read. Annoyingly, the original story doesn’t link to the Wikileaked cables it refers to, but I put them all in plain text below the jump. Honestly I haven’t read them all, just enough to get that the Haiti-Liberte article, while not 100% fair, seems to have the right general idea. I mean, what do you make of a cable that says, “Post will continue to pressure Preval against joining PetroCaribe.” Seems pretty clear.
Go read the Haiti Liberte story now.
FULL TEXT OF CABLES
UNCLAS PORT AU PRINCE 002596 SIPDIS STATE FOR WHA/CAR WHA/EPSCA EB/ESC/IEC INR/IAA/MAC S/CRS TREASURY FOR MAUREEN WAFER USDOC FOR 4322/ITA/MAN/WH/OLAC (SMITH< S.) E.O. 12958: N/A TAGS: ENRG EFIN ECON PGOV PREL HA SUBJECT: HAITI NOT INTERESTED IN PETROCARIBE DEAL –FOR NOW
1. SUMMARY: According to some press reports, the government of Venezuela planned to send a negotiating team to Haiti to negotiate a deal to sell oil at a preferential rate via PetroCaribe. However, follow-up conversations with Interim Government of Haiti (IGOH) officials reveal that Haiti is still a long way from such a deal. It is more likely that Venezuela,s recent efforts are designed to get the issue on the agenda, and that Chavez,s strongest efforts will come after the elections, when a new Haitian government is inaugurated in February 2006. END SUMMARY. Reports of Haiti-Venezuela Oil Deal
2. According to scattered press reports in early October, the government of Venezuela planned to send a negotiating team to Haiti (exact time undetermined) to negotiate a deal to sell oil at a preferential rate via PetroCaribe. Upon returning from a recent trip to Venezuela, Minister of Culture and Communication, Magali Comeau Denis told the Charge she was bringing Venezuelan oil back to Haiti with her. But IGOH Says No
3. When engaged by the Charge on the subject it was clear that there was no deal and that Minister Comeau Denis was not familiar with details of how such a sale would work. Prior to the Comeau Denis visit to Venezuela, Charge and Econ Counselor had spoken to acting Prime Minister Henri Bazin who said that the Interim Government of Haiti was looking for concessional terms for oil purchases from Mexico and Nigeria –but not Venezuela, he was quick to emphasize. In a follow-up conversation, Charge reiterated the negatives of such a deal with Venezuela. Bazin listened and understood the message.
4. Econ Counselor met with a contact at the Finance Ministry October 13 who confirmed that the IGOH has no plans to participate in any PetroCaribe deal. He added that our message to Bazin had an impact: Bazin had seen a draft of comments to be made by Haiti,s representative to the IMF that included a vague reference to someday purchasing oil at concessional prices from Venezuela and Bazin had the sentence deleted, the only change he made on the text.
5. COMMENT: Like many press reports in Haiti, there is less here than meets the eye. First, given Chavez,s past support of ex-President Aristide, the IGOH has little enthusiasm for dealing with Chavez. Second, a commercial deal with Venezuela would likely involve setting up a Haitian state-run oil company, something the IGOH would find difficult to accomplish given the variety of political, economic and security challenges it faces at the moment. However, the high global price of oil is having a strongly felt negative impact on the economy, with political ramifications. The pressures on the government to strike a deal will increase as long as the price of oil remains high. We suspect that the recent efforts by Venezuela here are designed more to get the issue on the agenda, and that Chavez,s strongest efforts will come after the elections, when a new Haitian government is inaugurated in February 2006. We will watch closely for that possibility. END COMMENT. CARNEY =======================CABLE ENDS============================
UNCLAS PORT AU PRINCE 002720 SIPDIS SENSITIVE STATE FOR WHA/EPSC WHA/CAR EB/ESC/IEC INR/IAA/MAC S/CRS TREASURY FOR MAUREEN WAFER USDOC FOR 4322/ITA/MAN/WH/OLAC (SMITH, S.) E.O. 12958: N/A TAGS: ENRG EFIN ECON PGOV PREL HA SUBJECT: HAITI: IGOH STILL RESISTANT TO OIL DEAL WITH VENEZUELA DEAL DESPITE PRESSURE REF: PORT AU PRINCE 02596
1. (SBU) Post continues to see scattered press reports indicating that Haiti is considering signing an agreement with the Government of Venezuela to obtain petroleum at a discount rate via PetroCaribe. Econ Counselor spoke to an official with the Ministry of Finance, who spoke directly to Finance Minister Henri Bazin. Bazin indicated that Haiti was far from any agreement with Venezuela, and that no one in any position of authority from the Interim Government of Haiti (IGOH) had even sat down to discuss the matter with the government of Venezuela. Bazin added that instead discussions were ongoing with the Government of Mexico to obtain a special deal from them on petroleum imports.
2. (SBU) Despite the Finance Minister,s continued reassurances, the pressure is still on the IGOH to strike a deal with Venezuela. In addition to the press reports, organizations that have organized demonstrations in the past against high prices in Haiti have publicly called on the IGOH to accept Venezuela,s offer to negotiate on a concessional deal.
3. (SBU) COMMENT: Post will continue to monitor movement, if any, on this issue. The high price of oil has a strong impact on inflation in Haiti and the possibility of a special deal on petroleum imports is a tempting one, if not for the IGOH, then for the next government scheduled to take over in February 2006. END COMMENT. CARNEY =======================CABLE ENDS============================
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UNCLAS PORT AU PRINCE 000692 SIPDIS SIPDIS STATE FOR WHA/CAR WHA/EPSC FOR FAITH CORNEILLE EB/IFD STATE PASS TO USAID FOR LAC/CAR INR/IAA (BEN-YEHUDA) TREASURY FOR JEFFREY LEVINE COMMERCE FOR SCOTT SMITH E.O. 12958: N/A TAGS: ENRG ECON EFIN EINV EAID PGOV HA SUBJECT: PREVAL ANNOUNCES HAITI TO JOIN PETROCARIBE REF: A. 05 PAP 2720
B. 05 PAP 2596
1. President-elect Preval announced to the press April 18 that Haiti will soon join Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's energy initiative, PetroCaribe. Preval made the announcement after returning from a five-day trip to Cuba, where he discussed the subject of Petrocaribe with the Venezuelan Ambassador to Cuba. Preval's economic advisor Gabriel Verret confirmed Preval's intention to Post, but said that Preval is not aware of the constraints and the problems that need to be addressed before Haiti can receive preferential oil rates. Verret said that they will need a state-owned oil company, which the country does not currently have, as an example of one obstacle.
2. Comment: President-elect Preval has emphasized the importance of showing his supporters immediate improvements following his inauguration. Given the recent rise in oil prices and the lack of electricity in Port-au-Prince, Preval is under pressure to join PetroCaribe. By announcing his intention to join, he shows his supporters a concrete effort to improve two of Port-au-Prince's most pressing concerns. Post will continue to pressure Preval against joining PetroCaribe. Ambassador will see Preval's senior advisor Bob Manuel today. In previous meetings, he has acknowledged our concerns and is aware that a deal with Chavez would cause problems with us. End comment. SANDERSON =======================CABLE ENDS============================
VZCZCXRO8395 OO RUEHQU DE RUEHPU #0758 1181620 ZNY CCCCC ZZH O 281620Z APR 06 FM AMEMBASSY PORT AU PRINCE TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2911 INFO RUEHZH/HAITI COLLECTIVE RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA 1024 RUEHSA/AMEMBASSY PRETORIA 0869 RUEHQU/AMCONSUL QUEBEC 0451 RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC
C O N F I D E N T I A L PORT AU PRINCE 000758 SIPDIS SIPDIS STATE FOR WHA/CAR WHA/EPSC FOR FAITH CORNEILLE IB/IFD STATE PASS TO USAID FOR LAC/CAR INR/IAA (BEN-YEHUDA) TREASURY FOR JEFFREY LEVINE COMMERCE FOR SCOTT SMITH E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/26/2011 TAGS: EAID ECON EFIN ENRG HA VE SUBJECT: PREVAL WILL SIGN PETROCARIBE DEAL ON MAY 15 REF: CARACAS 1104 Classified By: Ambassador Janet A. Sanderson for reason 1.4(b)
1. (U) President-elect Rene Preval on April 25 announced that that Haiti will join the PetroCaribe Program on May 15, the day after his inauguration. Preval explained that Haiti will pay for 60 percent of the oil from Venezuela up front and that 40 percent will be payable over a period of 25 years, at one percent interest. Preval explained that joining PetroCaribe does not mean gas prices will be lowered at the pump. The government will continue to sell petroleum products to the private sector at market prices and redirect the 40 percent that would have been spent on fuel to "special presidential" development projects. (Note: gas prices went up by 12 percent at the pumps last month, following a rise in world market prices. End note.)
4. (C) Comment: As Preval,s inauguration date approaches, he is feeling increasing pressure to produce immediate and tangible changes in Haiti,s desperate situation. Preval has privately expressed some disdain toward Chavez with Emboffs, and delayed accepting Chavez' offer to visit Venezuela until after he had visited Washington and several other key Haitian partners. Nevertheless, the chance to score political points and generate revenue he can control himself proved too good an opportunity to miss. We are wary of the creation of a special presidential fund. There have been waves of corruption in Haiti. We will encourage Preval to channel the money through existing programs. SANDERSON =======================CABLE ENDS============================
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UNCLAS PORT AU PRINCE 000846 SIPDIS SENSITIVE SIPDIS STATE FOR WHA/CAR WHA/EPSC FOR FAITH CORNEILLE EB/IFD STATE PASS TO USAID FOR LAC/CAR TREASURY FOR JEFFERY LEVINE COMMERCE FOR SCOTT SMITH E.O. 12958: N/A TAGS: ENRG ECON EFIN EINV EAID HA SUBJECT: PETROCARIBE OIL MAY FLOW THROUGH EDH
1. This message is sensitive but unclassified: please protect accordingly.
2. Michel Guerrier, Director of National, Haiti's only domestic oil company, told Econoff May 11 that a ship with 100,000 barrels of PetroCaribe oil has embarked for Haiti and is due to arrive on or before May 15. However, Haiti and Venezuela have yet to decide how to sell PetroCaribe oil to a country without a state-owned oil company. Guerrier said the decision will be made before President-elect Rene Preval signs the agreement on May 15, the day after his inauguration. Guerrier said one possibility is that PetroCaribe will sell the oil to Haiti's National Electricity Company (Electricite d,Haiti — EDH), which will then sell to the four oil companies operating in Haiti: Texaco, Esso (a.k.a. Exxon), National (formally Shell), and Total.
3. Guerrier stressed that this is a great deal for the Haitian government. He suggested that the government will continue to sell the oil at the Caribbean posting price, but will purchase it at the slightly reduced PDVSA (Petroleum of Venezuela, Inc.) price. This will allow the government a slight profit in addition to the advantage offered by the PetroCaribe deal: 60 percent of the oil is to be paid for over 90 days with no interest and the remaining 40 percent is to be paid for over a period of 25 years, with a one percent interest rate. Guerrier also speculated that the government, in order to retain total control over the supply of the oil market (they already control the price), may put an end to the non-PetroCaribe oil-bearing ship which arrives every three weeks.
4. Comment: Guerrier underscores the incentives PetroCaribe offers the incoming government. Strapped for cash and oil, PetroCaribe provides both in a package deal too good to pass up. Preval told the press on May 10 that his friendship with Venezuela and Cuba were not formed out of ideology, but out of necessity. EDH, an inefficient and corrupt public entity, is possibly one of the worst options as the government's oil handler. Corruption and mismanagement keep the company from providing electricity consistently. However, filtering oil through EDH could ensure enough fuel to power the electricity plants, without relying on the oil companies as a costly back-up plan. SANDERSON =======================CABLE ENDS============================
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C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 PORT AU PRINCE 000867 SIPDIS SIPDIS SOUTHCOM ALSO FOR POLAD E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/09/2016 TAGS: PREL PGOV HA SUBJECT: PREVAL'S CHIEF FOREIGN POLICY FORECASTS PRAGMATISM REF: PORT-AU-PRINCE 856 Classified By: DCM Griffiths for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).
1. (C) Summary: Fritz Longchamp, Rene Garcia Preval's foreign policy advisor provided a circumspect review of the major foreign policy issues facing the new administration to Emboffs May 8. Longchamp claimed that the Preval team had yet to focus on external relations and develop a foreign policy agenda. Despite his initial reservation, he eventually noted particular significance of relations with Latin America and CARICOM, the PRC/Taiwan conundrum, and the need to re-organize the Foreign Ministry and diplomatic services. Longchamp would not speculate on Preval's cabinet. He was particularly ardent in disclaiming the likelihood of his assuming the role of Foreign Minister. End Summary. Foreign Policy Specialist ————————-
2. (C) Longchamp is an experienced foreign policy specialist with extensive diplomatic credentials. He served as Haiti's Ambassador to the UN 1991-1995, and as Foreign Minister 1995-2001, during Jean Bertrand Aristide's and Preval's first terms. Longchamp told emboffs that despite Preval's recent international itinerary, a foreign relations/policy commission had not been formed to develop an international policy agenda. Preval and his transition team have focused on the major domestic issues, recognizing that Preval will have a short honeymoon and must deliver improvements soon. Longchamp cautioned not to expect "the same names" in Preval's new cabinet. He seemed particularly adamant in reference to himself and a ministerial position, although he did say he would remain part of Preval's team as an advisor. DR —
3. (C) After overcoming his initial reticence to discuss an informal foreign policy agenda, Longchamp began his comments with the importance that Preval places on Haiti's relations with the Dominican Republic noting that Preval's first trip after his election was to the DR. Haiti's future is inextricably linked to the DR and the historical, political and economic ties cannot be underestimated. Preval's public comments, including his May 14 inaugural address to the nation, maintain Haiti-DR relations as a priority. Cuba and Venezuela ——————
4. (C) On Cuba and Venezuela, he said Preval's relations with those two countries were practical and not ideological. Preval visited Cuba April 12-14 and Venezuela April 24-25. Cuba is a special case for Haiti, he said, due to the historical ties shared by the two countries. Longchamp claimed that there were 1.5 million Cubans of Haitian descent in Cuba. He contrasted the integration of that Cuban-Haitian population with the lack of integration of Haitians in Dominican society, saying that he had met persons of Haitian descent throughout all social and political levels in Cuba. Diplomatic relations with Cuba were re-established during Longchamp's tenure as Foreign Minister. In one of the last acts as President during his first term, in February 1996 Jean Bertrand Aristide formally restored diplomatic relations with the neighboring island nation broken off in 1962. Two years later, Longchamp personally opened the Haitian Embassy in Havana.
5. (C) Cuban assistance in the health field has particular resonance in Haiti. The doctors Cuba sends to provide basic health care in both urban and rural areas enjoy almost mythic status among the Haitian population. Longchamp commented that during his trip to Cuba in April, Preval discussed with Cuban officials the expansion of the health assistance program to provide a doctor in each commune in Haiti. Additionally, the assistance program will also provide medical training opportunities for Haitians to study medicine in Cuba in order to return to Haiti and eventually replace the Cuban doctors. PORT AU PR 00000867 002 OF 002
6. (C) Haiti's power generation capacity is hobbled by corruption and mismanagement of Haiti's National Electricity Company (EDH) resulting in an inability to provide more than a few hours of electricity per day. Often, neighborhoods, poor and wealthy alike, go several days without electricity. Preval views Haiti's May 14 accession to Chavez' Petrocaribe (reftel) as a deal too good to pass up that offers him the chance to answer one of Haiti's most crucial needs almost immediately. In addition to Longchamp's claim of practicality versus ideology, Préval has publicly claimed his ties to both Venezuela and Cuba are a result of necessity, not related to ideology. Taiwan and the PRC ————————-
7. (C) In comments that seemed to weigh the most heavily on him, Longchamp said that very difficult decisions were ahead for the Preval foreign policy team with respect to relations with the PRC and Taiwan. Taiwan's active diplomacy is readily apparent throughout the Port-au-Prince area. Additionally, Preval himself has close links to Taiwan, including campaign contributions and funding for the planting of the argronomist's favorite bamboo trees throughout his hometown of Marmelade. (Comment: China's Security Council position and its participation in MINUSTAH forces may trump Taiwan's relations with Haiti. China's recent diplomatic maneuverings resulting in the demotion of the level of Taiwanese representation at the inauguration may be a foreshadowing of how this dilemma may play out. End Comment.) Latin America and the Caribbean ——————————-
8. (C) Longchamp did not dismiss the importance of CARICOM but clearly there are some fences to be mended between Haiti and the organization. Preval has publicly said that Haiti hopes to take its seat at the CARICOM table in July. CARICOM officials have also said that they will welcome the constitutional Haitian government back into the fold. However, Haiti's level of engagement with CARICOM remains to be determined.
9. (C) Longchamp gave a nod to the growing importance in Latin America of the "ABC" countries – Argentina, Brazil, and Chile. These three countries are especially important to Preval given Chilean Juan Gabriel Valdes' role as the UN SecGen's Special Representative in Haiti, Brazil's command of MINUSTAH forces, and Argentina's important MINUSTAH contingent. Downsizing and Re-organization ——————————
10. (C) On a more technical and administrative note, Longchamp said that some difficult decisions are ahead with respect to the re-organization of the Foreign Ministry and diplomatic service. He contended that two-thirds of the Foreign Ministry positions would have to be phased out. He said that due to costs, positions at the Ministry and particularly overseas would have to be rationalized according to the Preval administration's foreign policy priorities.
11. (C) Comment: Despite his hectic international travel itinerary since his election, Preval has not charted a defined foreign policy course. Much will depend on who he names to the Foreign Minister post. He clearly understands the importance and the necessity of continuing political and economic ties with the U.S., especially in light of pending preferential trade legislation. Further, he must remain constructively engaged with the Dominican Republic. Despite U.S. discomfort with his links to Cuba and Venezuela, Preval seems determined to mine those relationships for what he can obtain. Longchamp is clearly Preval's foreign policy guru. However, his six years of previous service as Foreign Minister may have been enough for him. End Comment. SANDERSON =======================CABLE ENDS============================
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UNCLAS PORT AU PRINCE 000891 SIPDIS SENSITIVE SIPDIS STATE FOR WHA/CAR WHA/EPSC FOR FAITH CORNEILLE EB/IFD STATE PASS TO USAID FOR LAC/CAR TREASURY FOR JEFFREY LEVINE COMMERCE FOR SCOTT SMITH E.O. 12958: N/A TAGS: ENRG ECON EFIN EINV EAID HA SUBJECT: PETROCARIBE WILL SELL TO EDH REF: A. PAP 846
B. PAP 856
1. This message is sensitive but unclassified: please protect accordingly.
2. Michel Guerrier, Director of National, confirmed May 17 the scenario described in reftel A, whereby Haiti's National Electricity Company (Electricite d'Haiti — EDH) will be designated as Haiti's state-owned oil company and will distribute PetroCaribe oil to retailers. Guerrier also said that because EDH has no experience in buying and selling oil, President Rene Preval has asked Edouard Baussan, the President of the Board of Dynasa, to draw up a contract to manage the oil stock on behalf of EDH. Reportedly, Preval and Baussan are good friends and traveled together to Venezuela in late April to discuss PetroCaribe with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. The first ship of 100,000 barrels of PetroCaribe oil, which arrived on May 13, included a donation of 60,000 barrels of diesel to EDH. The remaining 40,000 barrels of unleaded gasoline (20,000 each of 91 and 95) will be sold to the oil companies. Separately, the international oil companies — Texaco, Esso (a.k.a. Exxon) and Total — had a shipment of oil arrive May 15. However, they fear that the GOH will insist that they purchase the oil from EDH in the future.
3. Comment: Dynasa, which supplies to Haiti's domestic oil company, National, is the only voice in the oil business to endorse Preval's proposal to have EDH control the oil supply. The other international oil companies are increasingly concerned — both Texaco and Esso will meet with the Ambassador in the near future — that they will have to buy their oil from the GOH. A corrupt and mismanaged public entity, EDH has failed to provide the country with electricity. We will continue to raise our concerns about the PetroCaribe deal with the highest levels of government, and with Baussan. SANDERSON =======================CABLE ENDS============================
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UNCLAS PORT AU PRINCE 000971 SIPDIS SIPDIS STATE FOR WHA/CAR WHA/EPSC FOR FAITH CORNEILLE, ED MARTINEZ EB/IFD STATE PASS TO USAID FOR LAC/CAR TREASURY FOR JEFFERY LEVINE COMMERCE FOR SCOTT SMITH E.O. 12958: N/A TAGS: ENRG EPET ECON EAID HA SUBJECT: HAITI: FIRST PETROCARIBE SHIP STALLED AT VARREUX PORT REF: A. PAP 846
B. PAP 891
1. Shooting stalled the unloading and delivery of oil May 17 from the first PetroCaribe ship, which arrived in Haiti on May 13 (reftel A). The ship was docked at Varreux, a port located near one of Port-au-Prince's most violent slums, Cite Soleil. The captain of the ship reported bullets flying over the deck and stopped unloading the ship. According to Minustah, gun shots were heard in nearby Cite Soleil but were not directed toward the terminal. The port received no incoming fire. Minustah considers the Captain's report impossible given the distance of the shots fired. This caused only a minor delay, of less than one day.
2. Chevron (operating as Texaco in Haiti) security officials will be in Haiti June 1 to assess the situation and determine whether the next tanker, due to arrive as early as June 2, should offload at Varreux or not. Minustah's message to Chevron is that Chevron should continue sending their tankers to Varreux as nothing has changed in recent months. If anything, the situation has improved since the Brazilians replaced the Jordanian contingent in Cite Soleil. Chevron officials told us they agree with this assessment but have for some time been wary of the security of Varreux due to its proximity to Cite Soleil and the possibility of stray gunfire.
3. Comment: This incident, and any others regarding PetroCaribe since President Rene Preval signed the agreement May 14, has received no attention from the media. Haitians have noted, however, that electricity in Port-au-Prince has improved since Preval's inauguration with 6 to 8 hours a day, usually late at night until morning in residential areas. SANDERSON =======================CABLE ENDS============================
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C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 PORT AU PRINCE 001205 SIPDIS SIPDIS STATE FOR WHA/CAR WHA/EPSC FOR FAITH CORNEILLE, ED MARTINEZ EB/IFD STATE PASS TO USAID FOR LAC/CAR TREASURY FOR JEFFERY LEVINE COMMERCE FOR SCOTT SMITH E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/07/2016 TAGS: ENRG EPET ECON EAID HA SUBJECT: HAITI: PETROCARIBE IMPLEMENTATION STALLED REF: PAP 803 Classified By: Ambassador Janet A. Sanderson for reason 1.4 (b) and (d) .
1. (C) Summary: The 100,000 barrels of petroleum, from the initial PetroCaribe shipment to Haiti on May 14, remain in storage facilities at the port and have not been put on the market. To date, no second PetroCaribe transport ship has been scheduled to arrive. Edouard Baussan (President Rene Preval's PetroCaribe confidant and vice-President of Haiti's only domestic oil company, Dinasa) told the Ambassador that PetroCaribe will not solve Haiti's petroleum problems — like the high price of fuel — and that the government would use only the interest on the loan from Venezuela for social projects. He said the three international oil companies in Haiti feel uninformed about Haiti's PetroCaribe plan and are wary of how PetroCaribe will affect their operations. Post suspects the PetroCaribe agreement was political showmanship for Preval's inauguration day, and that Haiti may not move forward to implement the program. End Summary. PetroCaribe: Dead or Stalled? – – – – – – – – – –
2. (C) Ambassador met June 2 with Edouard Baussan (President Rene Preval's PetroCaribe confidant and vice-President of Haiti's only domestic oil company, Dinasa) to discuss Haiti's progress with the Venezuelan energy initiative, PetroCaribe. Preval designated Baussan, and by extension Dinasa, to manage the stock of PetroCaribe fuel on behalf of the national electricity company (Electricite d,Haiti — EDH), the "state-owned" oil company. Baussan opened the meeting by explaining the problems Haiti faces as the price of fuel rises: in a country with little infrastructure and malfunctioning institutions, the economy is not equipped to deal with a steep rise in the cost of fuel. He admitted that PetroCaribe will not solve the problem of high fuel prices in a tight world market, but said it would give the government access to much-needed cash.
3. (C) According to Baussan the first PetroCaribe shipment remains in the storage tanks at the Varreux Port because distribution channels have yet to be established. To date, no second PetroCaribe transport ship has been scheduled to arrive. Baussan said Preval's government initially thought that the PetroCaribe agreement would allow for more flexibility to resolve stipulations in the agreement that Haiti is not prepared to handle, like transport and insurance. However, the government has realized that Venezuela will not give Haiti any special consideration. Baussan also pointed out that the GOH is wary of disturbing the distribution of fuel by the four oil companies, including Dinasa, given the inconsistent and unreliable history of PetroCaribe in other Caribbean nations. The "industry ship," the fuel tanker shared by all four oil companies in Haiti, has continued to arrive on its regular schedule and meets Haiti's relatively small petroleum demand. Haiti's Initial PetroCaribe Plan – – – – – – – – – –
4. (C) Baussan discussed the new government's plans for the PetroCaribe funds, though he had no details beyond the initial planning stages. Based on the PetroCaribe agreement (in which the GOH pays for 60 percent of the fuel up front and pays for the additional 40 percent over a 25 year span with a one to two percent interest rate), Baussan estimated the GOH would save USD 100 million per year from the delayed payments. He stressed that PetroCaribe is not a subsidy program and that the funds earned from the donated fuel cannot be consumed, but instead must be put into a trust fund, for later re-payment to Venezuela. The interest earned on the amount would be used for social projects in Haiti.
5. (C) Baussan commented that Haiti consumes about 11,000 barrels of gasoline per day, 6,000 of which he estimated would come from PetroCaribe channels. When asked how the international oil companies in Haiti — Chevron, ExxonMobil, and Total — have responded, Baussan said that the government has not communicated its plan to them. Reportedly, the newly appointed Minister of Economy and Finance Daniel Dorsainville has been too busy to brief the international oil companies. (Note: Separately, the Ambassador met with representatives of ExxonMobil and Texaco. Both companies were concerned and curious about how Preval planned to implement PetroCaribe. However, neither company felt especially threatened by the agreement, and they have not modified their operations in Haiti. End note.) Falling Fuel Prices and Increase in Electricity not Related to PetroCaribe – – – – – – – – –
6. (U) Since Preval's inauguration, Port-au-Prince has experienced an increase in electricity supply. In early July the price of petroleum, which had risen by nine percent since late April, decreased by ten percent. Though Haitians are inclined to thank Venezuela for both improvements, neither are related to PetroCaribe. EDH has been supplying electricity from the hydro-electric damn, Peligue, and the reduced price of fuel is due to a drop in the world market price.
7. (C) Comment: Baussan is the third Haitian close to Preval — including the former Minister of Finance Henry Bazin (reftel) and Gabriel Varret, [should be Verret] Preval's economic advisor — to give Post the impression that Preval is not well-versed in the PetroCaribe agreement and not seriously concerned with its requirements. All three have also said that the GOH does not have a plan for implementation. Both Haitian and Venezuelan governments reportedly ignored key articles in the interest of time for the ceremonial signing on May 15. PetroCaribe seems stalled indefinitely, and it is possible that Haiti will not move forward with the agreement. The first and so far only ship, which was a minor victory for Venezuela's Caribbean campaign and a tangible sign from Preval to his constituents that he will bring change, may mark both the beginning and the end of PetroCaribe in Haiti. SANDERSON =======================CABLE ENDS============================
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UNCLAS PORT AU PRINCE 001377 SIPDIS SENSITIVE SIPDIS STATE FOR WHA/CAR WHA/EPSC FOR FAITH CORNEILLE, ED MARTINEZ EB/IFD STATE PASS TO USAID FOR LAC/CAR COMMERCE FOR SCOTT SMITH E.O. 12958: N/A TAGS: ENRG EPET ECON EAID HA SUBJECT: PETROCARIBE GAS ON THE MARKET REF: PAP 1205
1. (U) This message is sensitive but unclassified: please protect accordingly.
2. (SBU) The PetroCaribe petroleum delivered to Haiti on May 14, the day of President Rene Preval's inauguration, has finally hit the local market. The Haitian Government (GOH) is selling the entire shipment, including the diesel (initially intended as a donation to the national electricity company) and the gasoline, at the same price as petroleum from a July 14 industry ship. (Note: The industry shipment arrives about every two to three weeks. Due to regular arrivals, petroleum companies have not experienced fuel shortages in several months. End note.) So far Dinasa, Haiti's domestic petroleum company, and Total, the French petroleum company with which the GOH has close relations, have expressed an interest in purchasing the PetroCaribe petroleum from the GOH. The two U.S. companies, Esso (ExxonMobil) and Texaco (Chevron), have received the proposal but have not responded.
3. (SBU) Comment: The sale of the PetroCaribe shipment does not mean that the PetroCaribe agreement is moving forward in Haiti. The first and only shipment has been a burden on the GOH, which does not have experience with petroleum management. Since the first shipment on May 14, there has been no sign of a second PetroCaribe transport ship, despite the agreement that one shipment would arrive each month. XXXXXXXXXXXX (please protect), an employee of Dinasa, told econoff that managing and selling petroleum stock is difficult for the professionals in Haiti; no wonder the government is having trouble. (Note: The petroleum business is difficult here because all petroleum shipments are delivered to two ports, which are located in unsafe areas of Port-au-Prince. Haiti also lacks adequate storage facilities and methods of transportation, not to mention other infrastructure and commercial inadequacies. End note.) Post will continue to send updates as they are available. SANDERSON =======================CABLE ENDS============================
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C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 PORT AU PRINCE 001483 SIPDIS SIPDIS STATE FOR WHA/CAR EB/IFD S/CRS SOUTHCOM ALSO FOR POLAD STATE PASS TO USAID FOR LAC/CAR INR/IAA (BEN-YEHUDA) COMMERCE FOR SCOTT SMITH TREASURY FOR JEFFERY LEVINE WHA/EX PLEASE PASS USOAS E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/08/2016 TAGS: ECON EAID ENRG PGOV PINS HA SUBJECT: GOH BUDGET UPDATE: MOVING FORWARD WITH PETROCARIBE, REVENUES HIGHER THAN EXPECTED REF: A. PAP 856
B. PAP 1417 PORT AU PR 00001483 001.2 OF 003 Classified By: Ambassador Janet A. Sanderson for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d ).
1. (C) Summary: President Rene Preval's economic advisor Gabriel Verret told econoff August 8 that the new budget is almost complete and will move forward to parliament, maybe by tomorrow (August 11). Concerning the financing gap for FY06 (USD 18.5 million) and FY07 (USD 15 – 25 million), government revenues are stronger than expected, which will help reduce the gaps somewhat. The GOH also plans to cut expenditures, Verret explained. For this fiscal year, some elements of the Social Appeasement Program (French acronym: PAS) and an "illegal" supplemental monthly salary offered to workers at the start of the academic year may be partially cut. To close the financing gap for FY07, the GOH will cut back on investments for which there is not sufficient donor funding. Meanwhile, the GOH is seeking parliament's approval for eventual ratification of the PetroCaribe agreement, which Venezuela and Haiti have yet to formally sign. The GOH continues to perceive the terms of the loan to be favorable to Haiti and sees the loan itself as a source of additional financing. Apparently, the first shipment of petroleum was a grant and not part of the regular loan agreement. Verret also said that Preval plans to replace ineffectual bureaucrats with those committed to raising government revenues. End summary. PetroCaribe: A Source of Additional Financing? – – – – – – – – – –
2. (U) Economic advisor Gabriel Verret, previously skeptical of the PetroCaribe initiative, told econoff that the GOH sent a letter to parliament August 3 outlining the PetroCaribe program to facilitate eventual ratification. He confirmed that the first shipment, which arrived in Port-au-Prince on the day of Preval's inauguration, was a grant and that the agreement has not yet been formally signed by the Haitian and Venezuelan governments. (Note: Apparently, the signing between the Vice-President of Venezuela and President Rene Preval at the inauguration on May 14 was ceremonial (ref A) and the first shipment was a grant, not a part of the loan agreement. End note.) Verret said PetroCaribe could offer a loan of anywhere up to USD 100 million, based on the following calculation: the GOH purchases USD 250 million in Venezuelan petroleum products each year; 60 percent of this must be paid after a 90 day grace period and 40 percent of it is payable over a period of 25 years, at a one to two percent interest rate. In order to ensure the money will be there for repayment in 25 years, the GOH would have to put about USD 60 million into a trust fund, leaving USD 40 million for investment projects. Verret said it is more likely that the government would set aside around USD 12 million for repayment for the first five years of the agreement, leaving USD 88 million for immediate investment.
3. (SBU) Note: The GOH continues to misconstrue the actual benefits of the PetroCaribe deal. Ambassador has personally addressed the issue of PetroCaribe with GOH officials at the highest level explaining the pitfalls of the agreement. The GOH agrees that Haiti is not well-positioned to accept PetroCaribe petroleum: they do not have a state-owned oil company; they lack adequate port and storage facilities, necessitating use of private storage; and poorly-maintained roads and theft make transportation from the port to the final destination point difficult. Post has also reminded GOH officials that the transportation of PetroCaribe petroleum is not insured by Venezuela, and is often transported in ships which do not meet international standards. Finally, the GOH has stated that the international oil companies operating in Haiti are vital to the economy and does not want to risk pushing them out of the local market. End note. PORT AU PR 00001483 002.2 OF 003 GOH Revenues on the Rise, Cuts Necessary Nonetheless – – – – – – – – – –
4. (U) Verret said that GOH revenue collection for both June and July surpassed expectations, and the GOH predicts the trend to continue. For this reason, Verret estimated a reduction in the estimated USD 18.5 million financing gap for FY06, but did not say by how much. In addition to revenue buoyancy, Verret expects cuts to the Social Appeasement Program (PAS), a three-tiered GOH proposal to create a more favorable environment for development. This represents a change from the GOH position at the donors' conference.
5. (C) Verret also said that the "illegal" funding for "back-to-school" pay for public employees should be cut. He said there is no legal basis for this expenditure and that the precedent, which was set by former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, should be ignored. The GOH originally budgeted to pay public employees a bonus of 70 percent of their monthly salaries, regardless of how high the salary bracket and the number of children. Preval is re-examining the proposal and may give one sum to all employees — Verret gave 5000 Haitian gourdes (USD 129) as an example — or offer the bonus only to those who make less than a minimum threshold.
6. (U) Next year's budget gap is predicted to be about USD 15 to 25 million. (Note: The International Monetary Fund (IMF) estimated the FY07 budget gap to be USD 111.5 million. At the July donors' conference, however, the international community made pledges which reduced the gap to USD 28 million. If HIPC debt relief of USD 14 million is approved, the IMF estimates the FY07 budget gap would be further reduced to USD 14 million. Hence, the range of USD 15 to 25 for the FY07 gap. End note.) Verret said the GOH is looking at certain investment cuts, while also seeking additional support from "non-traditional" sources such as Taiwan. Separately, IMF resrep Ugo Fasano said Canada is another possible source of budget support although the funding would not be available in time for the Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF) to move forward to the IMF Board in October. Shift in Finance Personnel – – – – – – – – – –
7. (C) Verret said Preval is intent on increasing government revenues and is discussing possible personnel changes to the GOH's finance bureaucracy. Specifically, he reported that the President has targeted the Director General of Customs Edouard Vales Jean-Laurent and the entire board of the Central Bank for re-examination. Concerning Laurent, Verret said that he is doing his job well, despite the transport workers, strike at the border (ref B); however, Verret agreed that the Central Bank board, including Governor Raymond Magloire, should be dismissed, with the exception of two valuable members, possibly before their tenure is up in March 2007. Neither the GOH nor the IMF is satisfied with the work of the current Central Bank. What little work they have done on monetary policy has been ineffectual and the inflation rate is still hovering around 13 percent, well above the IMF's target for a single digit inflation rate. Concerning commercial banking supervision, they have also done a lousy job, according to Verret. He cited Socabank, which is facing serious liquidity difficulties, and said that the bank has given a large loan to at least one of the members of the Central Bank board.
8. (SBU) Comment: It is troubling to hear that Preval is thinking of letting his customs' director go, when Laurent has put himself on the line to collect revenues at the border and enforce the law. Talk of replacing Laurent stems from Preval's desire to appease the transport works on the Haitian-DR border. We know he is under pressure from some in the formal business community (those who pay taxes and would like to see others do the same) to retain Laurent. Whether PORT AU PR 00001483 003.2 OF 003 Preval decides to retain Laurent will be an indicator of his ability and willingness to stay the course on enforcing tax collection. As for PetroCaribe, it is also clear that the GOH is not focused on the long-term implications of the PetroCaribe deal, but instead on immediate access to extra cash. That said, overall, the GOH's desire to maintain fiscal discipline bodes well for continued macro-economic stability, at least over the short term. SANDERSON =======================CABLE ENDS============================
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UNCLAS PORT AU PRINCE 001598 SIPDIS SENSITIVE SIPDIS STATE FOR WHA/CAR WHA/EPSC FOR FAITH CORNEILLE, ED MARTINEZ EB/IFD STATE PASS TO USAID FOR LAC/CAR TREASURY FOR JEFFERY LEVINE COMMERCE FOR SCOTT SMITH E.O. 12958: N/A TAGS: ENRG EPET ECON EAID HA SUBJECT: HAITI: PETROCARIBE UPDATE: RATIFICATION IN THE WORKS REF: PAP 1377
1. This message is sensitive but unclassified: please protect accordingly.
2. (U) The PetroCaribe agreement is in parliament awaiting ratification. For several days, the parliamentarians have asked for more time to analyze the document before finalizing their report. By all accounts, the parliamentarians will ratify the agreement because of the seemingly huge benefit to Haiti. The delay in ratification underscores the lack of understanding about the PetroCaribe agreement, which post has experienced in many conversations with GOH officials regarding PetroCaribe. The decision on ratification is currently scheduled to take place on August 28.
3. (SBU) Meanwhile, Public Works Minister Frantz Verella confirmed the arrival of a Venezuelan shipment of 10,000 barrels of asphalt. The GOH is having the same problems with the asphalt that they had with first shipment of petroleum: they are not sure how to transport the asphalt to its final destination and have no place for its storage. A second petroleum shipment is not yet on the horizon, and presumably, the same problems of transportation, storage and distribution will persist. (Note: The GOH designated Haiti's national electricity company (Electricite d'Haiti — EDH) as the state-owned oil company to meet PetroCaribe requirements, but asked Dynasa, the domestic fuel company, to manage and control the fuel on behalf of EDH. End note.) Per ref, in early August the GOH finally sold the first Venezuelan shipment of 100,000 barrels of fuel, which arrived May 14 for President Rene Preval's inauguration. The GOH sold half of the shipment to Dynasa and half to Total, the French fuel company with which the GOH has a close relationship. At least part of the shipment was initially intended as a donation to EDH. XXXXXXXXXXXX (please protect), an industry expert and employee of Dynasa, told Econoff August 25 that it is no surprise that the GOH sold the fuel instead of using it to power the electricity plants, which have not operated since mid-June due to a lack of funds to buy fuel.
4. (SBU) Comment: As post has stressed in past cables, according to GOH officials, PetroCaribe is simply too good an opportunity to miss. Though the GOH knows that implementation will be difficult due to the agreement's stringent requirements, PetroCaribe provides easy access to extra cash. Local press reports have been almost silent until this week, when one radio station noted that since the initial shipment in May, the government has not publicly discussed the agreement. The same report also observed that many Caribbean countries have signed the agreement but have not received a drop of petroleum. End comment. TIGHE =======================CABLE ENDS============================
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UNCLAS PORT AU PRINCE 001618 SIPDIS SIPDIS STATE FOR WHA/CAR WHA/EPSC FOR FAITH CORNEILLE, ED MARTINEZ EB/IFD STATE PASS TO USAID FOR LAC/CAR TREASURY FOR JEFFERY LEVINE COMMERCE FOR SCOTT SMITH E.O. 12958: N/A TAGS: ENRG EPET ECON EAID HA SUBJECT: PARLIAMENT RATIFIED PETROCARIBE AGREEMENT 08/29 REF: A. PAP 856
B. PAP 1377
C. PAP 1598
1. Parliament ratified the PetroCaribe agreement during a session of the national assembly, which included 19 of 27 senators and 47 of 88 deputies. 53 voted in favor and 13 abstained; no parliamentarians voted against ratification. The agreement, signed by President Rene Preval and Venezuelan Vice President Jose Vincente Rangel on Preval's inauguration day (ref A), was read out loud followed by commentary on the document. Several parliamentarians spoke in favor of ratification citing resultant increases in government revenues. (The GOH plans to resell gasoline provided under the agreement to local suppliers at market prices and keep the difference.) Notably, all appeared to understand that PetroCaribe would not lower the price of petroleum in Haiti, currently at around US $5 per gallon at the pump. The local news today reports the passage of the PetroCaribe agreement, stating only the facts of the vote, with little commentary or media fanfare.
2. Comment: Despite this obvious step forward for PetroCaribe agreement, Haiti still has many kinks to work out before the program is fully implemented. As the Ambassador has stressed to Haitian officials, transportation and insurance costs, as well as storage and distribution of the petroleum are only several of many obstacles. The GOH finally sold, in mid-August, the first and only petroleum shipment, which arrived May 13 (ref B), and there is no news of a second shipment yet. Because Haiti has a relatively low petroleum demand — around 11,000 barrels per day — and PetroCaribe has offered to supply up to 6000 barrels per day, the agreement could have a considerable effect on the petroleum industry in Haiti. Post will continue to send updates as appropriate. TIGHE =======================CABLE ENDS============================
VZCZCXRO9980 PP RUEHQU DE RUEHPU #1905/01 2771936 ZNY CCCCC ZZH P 041936Z OCT 06 FM AMEMBASSY PORT AU PRINCE TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4249 INFO RUEHZH/HAITI COLLECTIVE PRIORITY RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA PRIORITY 1247 RUEHSA/AMEMBASSY PRETORIA PRIORITY 1088 RUEHQU/AMCONSUL QUEBEC PRIORITY 0593 RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC PRIORITY RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC PRIORITY
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 PORT AU PRINCE 001905 SIPDIS SIPDIS STATE FOR WHA/CAR WHA/EPSC FOR FAITH CORNEILLE, ED MARTINEZ EB/IFD STATE PASS TO USAID FOR LAC/CAR TREASURY FOR JEFFERY LEVINE COMMERCE FOR SCOTT SMITH E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/04/2016 TAGS: ENRG EPET ECON EAID HA SUBJECT: GOH INTENDS TO MEET 100% FUEL DEMAND WITH PETROCARIBE REF: A. PAP 856
B. PAP 1377
C. PAP 1205
D. PAP 1483 PORT AU PR 00001905 001.2 OF 002 Classified By: Ambassador Janet A. Sanderson for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d ).
1. (C) Summary: President Rene Preval and finance minister Daniel Dorsainvil informed the four oil companies operating in Haiti of intentions to meet 100 percent of Haiti's petroleum demand through its Petrocaribe agreement. According to a Christian Porter, country manager for ExxonMobil (operates as Esso in Haiti), the international oil companies were shocked; they thought they would still have the right to import their own oil, with Petrocaribe supplying only part of Haiti's petroleum demand. Of the four companies, only the domestic oil company, Dinasa, which has been asked by President Rene Preval to manage and control Petrocaribe stock, was not surprised by the government's announcement. Dinasa employee Michel Guerrier thinks the President's plan is a long shot at best. Post agrees with Guerrier. Essentially, President Preval is asking the oil companies to operate with petroleum purchased solely from Petrocaribe via the GOH. End Summary.
2. (C) Porter told econoff that the President asked the four companies for their position on Petrocaribe supplying 100 percent of Haiti's petroleum: Dinasa (a Haitian oil company) and Total (French) representatives agreed with the proposition, the Chevron (operates as Texaco) representative said it is not his decision, and the ExxonMobil representative said nothing. (Porter explained that Chevron and ExxonMobil were not appropriately represented because Preval called the meeting only the day before and they had not been alerted to the broad scope of the proposal.) According to Porter, Preval took this to be an unofficial agreement between the GOH and the international oil companies, and is now encouraging the oil companies to communicate directly with Venezuela. Porter, speaking for both ExxonMobil and Chevron, stressed that they would not be willing to do this because they would lose their off-shore margins and because of Petrocaribe's unreliable reputation. Under existing arrangements, a tanker arrives every two weeks and its contents are distributed to the four oil companies. Porter noted that Preval did not explicitly prohibit the oil companies from importing oil, at least not yet.
3. (C) Michel Guerrier, an employee of Dinasa told econoff October 2 that the government may intend to import 100 percent of Haiti's petroleum through Petrocaribe but Guerrier doubted that this plan would be realized. He said the GOH does not have the means or capacity to manage 100 percent of Haiti's petroleum supply, as seen by their experience with the first 100,000 barrels of Petrocaribe fuel, and thus is looking for help from the oil companies. (Note: The first and only Petrocaribe shipment of 100,000 barrels of refined fuels arrived May 14, but the GOH was unable to completely unload it until mid-August (reftels A and B), and is still having difficulty selling the petroleum to the two interested buyers, Total and Dinasa, because the world market price for oil has since dropped. Storage is at a premium in Haiti, and transportation is difficult and expensive because of poorly-maintained roads. Representatives of the two U.S. oil companies told Ambassador early June that they do not make a profit selling fuel in Haiti; their only profit is through off-shore margins. End note.)
4. (C) Comment: The Petrocaribe agreement continues to advance in theory. In practice, however, the agreement has been stalled ever since the initial shipment arrived in May. In discussions with the Ambassador early June, Edouard Baussan (vice-president of Dinasa and Preval's point person on Petrocaribe) agreed with the Ambassador that the GOH was not capable of handling petroleum logistics like insurance, transportation, storage and distribution. He also pointed out that the government is wary of disturbing distribution channels established by the four oil companies (reftel C). It seems that Preval wants to have his cake and eat it too: PORT AU PR 00001905 002.2 OF 002 he has asked that the oil companies participate in the logistical and commercial process, whereby the GOH buys and sells the petroleum (and benefits from the preferential terms of the agreement, which GOH officials estimate will total about USD 100 million per year (reftel D)) and then give responsibility to the oil companies for the management of storage and distribution of the product. This is a dubious proposal that neither the U.S. oil companies in Haiti — responsible for about 45 percent of Haiti's petroleum imports — nor Venezuela, for that matter, is likely to agree to. The Ambassador plans to meet with ExxonMobil representatives next week. Post will continue to follow Haiti's plan for implementation of Petrocaribe and update as appropriate. SANDERSON =======================CABLE ENDS============================
VZCZCXRO8968 PP RUEHQU DE RUEHPU #1960/01 2861546 ZNR UUUUU ZZH P 131546Z OCT 06 FM AMEMBASSY PORT AU PRINCE TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4306 INFO RUEHZH/HAITI COLLECTIVE PRIORITY RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA PRIORITY 1256 RUEHSA/AMEMBASSY PRETORIA PRIORITY 1095 RUEHQU/AMCONSUL QUEBEC PRIORITY 0600 RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC PRIORITY RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC PRIORITY
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 PORT AU PRINCE 001960 SIPDIS SENSITIVE SIPDIS STATE FOR WHA/CAR WHA/EPSC FOR FAITH CORNEILLE, ED MARTINEZ EB/IFD STATE PASS TO USAID FOR LAC/CAR TREASURY FOR JEFFERY LEVINE COMMERCE FOR SCOTT SMITH E.O. 12958: N/A TAGS: ENRG EPET ECON EAID HA SUBJECT: U.S. OIL INDUSTRY RESPONSE TO GOH PETROCARIBE PROPOSAL REF: PAP 1905 PORT AU PR 00001960 001.2 OF 002 (SBU) 1. Summary: Post met with representatives of the two U.S. oil companies operating in Haiti, ExxonMobil (operates as Esso) and Chevron (operates as Texaco), following President Rene Preval's September 27 announcement of GOH intentions to import 100 percent of Haiti's fuel demand from Petrocaribe (reftel). Though representatives of both companies were shocked by the announcement, ExxonMobil representatives expressed strong reservations, whereas Texaco representatives had a more passive response, stating that they would go along with it if the playing field was level for all of the oil companies in Haiti. Neither company has informed the government of their concerns with the proposal to supply all of Haiti's fuel through Petrocaribe. Post encouraged the two companies to do so. Despite the Ambassador's numerous attempts to discuss (and discourage) GOH intentions to move forward with the Petrocaribe agreement, the GOH insists the agreement, implemented in full, will result in a net gain for Haiti. GOH officials recognize their limited capacity — to manage, import, supply, transport and distribute — all of Haiti's fuel, but hope to implement the preferential payment plan while leaving the logistics to the private companies. End Summary. (SBU) 2. Both companies were shocked by the government's intentions to import 100 percent of Haiti's fuel from Petrocaribe. ExxonMobil representatives speculated that perhaps Venezuela said that it could meet 100 percent of Haiti's fuel demand and that the GOH is simply exploring whether or not it could manage and control that much petroleum (about 11,000 barrels per day), despite its limited capacity. ExxonMobil and Chevron reps said that the GOH knows nothing about the supply side of petroleum, and that clearly a lack of information on the government's part motivated their most recent declaration. They argue that if the GOH understood what it took to supply petroleum to Haiti, it would know better than to disrupt the process and that if the GOH had any technical expertise it would not need to ask for the participation of the oil companies. Both companies also noted that President Preval does not want to discuss the details of the agreement and has remained ambiguous about his intentions. (SBU) 3. Chevron and ExxonMobil representatives have not openly expressed their reservations to the government. Following Preval's September 27 meeting with all four oil companies (ExxonMobil, Chevron, Total, and Dinasa), the oil industry association (Association des Professionals du Petrole — APP) received an invitation to meet with representatives of the Venezuelan oil company who were in Haiti. All four companies refused to attend. Also, the companies received letters separately requesting information on importation and distribution from the GOH on October 9. So far, no one has responded. (SBU) 4. The representatives also noted (in separate meetings) that a Cuban transport company, Transalba, will ship the petroleum from Venezuela to Haiti, and that as U.S. companies, they would not be allowed to work directly with the Cuban vessel. Also, they said that the first and only shipment of Petrocaribe fuel, which arrived May 14, would never have passed their inspections — because of the type of ship and because it was uninsured. ExxonMobil also gave examples of the difficulties it would have with working with Petrocaribe due to Exxon's high standard of quality and necessary product inspections. (Note: ExxonMobil and Chevron are responsible for 45 percent of total fuel demand in Haiti, 12 percent and 33 percent respectively. Chevron is the sole supplier of the airline industry (they have a station right next to the airport), which accounts for about three percent of total demand. End note.) (SBU) 5. Comment: Ambassador has discussed Petrocaribe with a number of GOH officials, including President Preval and his two closest advisors, Bob Manuel and Gabriel Verret. Though they usually agree with the Ambassador's numerous and valid points (from specific logistical complications to the larger PORT AU PR 00001960 002.2 OF 002 negative message that this would send to the international community at a time when the GOH is trying to increase foreign investment), they argue that the economic benefits to Haiti are too good to miss. In fact, the President attributes the Ambassador's concern to the political impasse between the U.S. and Venezuela. It is clear that President Preval and his inner circle are seduced by the payment plan for Petrocaribe fuel (by which the government pays for 60 percent over a 90 day period and 40 percent over a period of 25 years at a one to two percent interest rate). The Embassy will continue to discuss Petrocaribe with GOH official and the industry representatives. SANDERSON =======================CABLE ENDS============================
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C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 PORT AU PRINCE 000078 SIPDIS SENSITIVE SIPDIS STATE FOR WHA/CAR WHA/EPSC FOR FAITH CORNEILLE, ED MARTINEZ EB/IFD STATE PASS TO USAID FOR LAC/CAR TREASURY FOR JEFFREY LEVINE COMMERCE FOR SCOTT SMITH E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/18/2017 TAGS: ENRG EPET ECON EAID HA SUBJECT: GOH ON PETROCARIBE: STOKING THE FIRES REF: A. 06 PORT AU PRINCE 1618
B. PORT AU PRINCE 55
C. 06 PORT AU PRINCE 846
D. 06 PORT AU PRINCE 2418
E. 06 PORT AU PRINCE 1905
F. 06 PORT AU PRINCE 1960 PORT AU PR 00000078 001.2 OF 002 Classified By: Charge d'Affaires Thomas C. Tighe for reasons 1.4 (b) an d (d).
1. (C) Summary: Michel Lecorps, the newly-appointed head of the independent monetization office (formally known as the PL-480 office), met with Poloff January 10 to discuss Petrocaribe implementation in Haiti. Lecorps, apparently infuriated by Chevron's lack of cooperation with the GoH, stressed that Petrocaribe is no longer negotiable; it has been ratified by parliament (ref A) and the GoH is working to implement the agreement early this year. Chevron country manager Patryck Peru Dumesnil confirmed his company's anti-Petrocaribe position and said that ExxonMobil, the only other U.S. oil company operating in Haiti, has told the GoH that it will not import Petrocaribe products. Lecorps and separately, President Preval's economic advisor, Gabriel Verret, outlined problems Haiti was likely to have with the agreement, such as the usage of a national company (like Jamaica's national refinery, Petrojam) to control Petrocaribe Verret speculated that Venezuela (BRV) wanted its beneficiary countries to have a national company so that the BRV could eventually buy into it, as it reportedly plans to do with Petrojam. Verret also discussed lessons he and Lecorps learned in Jamaica January 3 -7 (ref B), notably that it is important to separate the "commercial from the political" aspects of the Petrocaribe plan. End summary.
2. (U) Lecorps said the GoH struggled to find a home office for Petrocaribe At the BRV's suggestion, the GoH tried to shift the responsibility to the national electricity company (EDH, ref C) to meet the agreement's initial requirements. Lecorps said that the GoH would like to run Petrocaribe through a national company, but, without a suitable one or the capacity to create one, the GoH gave Lecorps' office the Petrocaribe program. Haiti and Venezuela have not agreed upon the specifics of the Petrocaribe plan, but Lecorps said that Venezuela will most likely accept Haiti's plan to control Petrocaribe through his office. Chevron says "No" to Petrocaribe – – – – – – – – – –
3. (C) Lecorps said that the GoH solicited the input and participation of the four oil companies operating in Haiti — Chevron (operates as Texaco), ExxonMobil (operates as Esso), Total and Dynasa — but that "one company" refused to move forward with the discussions because "their representatives would rather import their own petroleum products." (Note: In a separate meeting with the Ambassador, Chevron representatives outlined the problems posed by Petrocaribe (ref D). Poloff later confirmed with Chevron's country manager Patryck Peru Dumesnil that Chevron is the company to which Lecorps referred, but Dumesnil said that ExxonMobil has made it clear that it will not cooperate with the current GoH proposal either. Post is uncertain why Lecorps mentioned Chevron as the only company not cooperating. End note.) Lecorps was enraged that "an oil company which controls only 30 percent of Haiti's petroleum products" would have the audacity to try and elude an agreement that would benefit the Haitian population. Ultimately Lecorps defended his position with the argument that the companies should want what is best for their local consumer, and be willing to make concessions to the GoH to this end. Lecorps stressed that the GoH would not be held hostage to "capitalist attitudes" toward Petrocaribe and that if the GoH could not find a compromise with certain oil companies, the companies may have to leave Haiti.
4. (C) Verret confirmed that Chevron is not buying into the agreement (but said nothing about ExxonMobil), and thought that perhaps the GoH could work out a deal, whereby Chevron imports its petroleum from an independent source while PORT AU PR 00000078 002.2 OF 002 maintaining its shared shipment with the other oil companies. (Note: Currently, Chevron manages the shipping for the four oil companies, which share a tanker to import one petroleum shipment every two to three weeks. Total oil demand in Haiti is around 11,000 barrels per day. With the limited storage available in Haiti, the companies could not afford to ship separately to Haiti. End note.)
5. (C) According to Dumesnil, ExxonMobil and Chevron have told the GoH that neither company can work within the GoH's proposed framework to import 100 percent of petroleum products via Petrocaribe (ref E and F). (Note: Together, ExxonMobil and Chevron supply 49 percent of all oil products in Haiti. End note.) Of the four companies, Dumesnil said, there are three levels of discussion with the GoH: the U.S. companies stand together in opposition to the current proposal; Total is discussing the agreement but has not promised cooperation; and the only local company, Dynasa, has pledged cooperation. Dumesnil said that the GoH is moving too quickly with the agreement, that it has not presented a written plan, and most importantly, does not have full industry cooperation. Lack of Storage, No Refinery Limits Haiti's Leverage – – – – – – – – – –
6. (C) Lecorps outlined some obstacles the GoH faces with implementation, the greatest being the lack of storage space in Haiti. Recalling the run on fuel at the pump for two days in late November and again in late December, Lecorps said that one of the biggest challenges will be ensuring consistent shipments, because Haiti does not have the capacity to store reserves. Lecorps also admitted that the GoH had very little knowledge of industry operations in Haiti and that it would need industry cooperation for the know-how, as much as for the infrastructure.
7. (C) Verret told Poloff that Haiti would like to model Jamaica's shipping agreement with Venezuela, which stipulates that Jamaica can choose whether to have the petroleum shipped by Venezuela or an independent carrier. According to Verret, Jamaican officials told the Haitians that 90 percent of the time Jamaica imports its own crude oil, because "shipping is not BRV's forte." Verret said that Haiti will seek a "free on board (FOB) plus" agreement by which Venezuela will take care of the shipping unless Haiti finds a better deal. Verret noted, however, that though this works in Jamaica, Haiti does not have Jamaica's advantages of extra storage space and a national refinery, which means regular and timely shipments of refined fuel are necessary (Haiti can not order in advance or wait for good deals).
8. (C) Comment: Both Lecorps and Verret, like other Haitian officials on Petrocaribe focused primarily on the cost benefits (estimated to be USD 100 million per year) to the GoH, which would be used for social projects like schools and hospitals, per Verret. However, Lecorps' self-control wavered while discussing industry cooperation and other modalities of implementation. He seemed overwhelmed by — yet extremely proud of — his new responsibility, and was incapable of addressing minor complications. Often, instead of addressing the specifics, Lecorps reiterated that Petrocaribe will work for Haiti, be well-run, and create enormous benefits for the country: but his insistence was such that he seemed to be trying to convince himself as much as anyone else. End comment. TIGHE =======================CABLE ENDS============================
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UNCLAS PORT AU PRINCE 000266 SIPDIS SENSITIVE SIPDIS STATE FOR WHA/CAR DRL S/CRS SOUTHCOM ALSO FOR POLAD STATE PASS AID FOR LAC/CAR INR/IAA (BEN-YEHUDA) TREASURY FOR MAUREEN WAFER E.O. 12958: N/A TAGS: PGOV PREL EAID XM XL HA VE SUBJECT: CHAVEZ COMING TO HAITI?
1. This message is sensitive but unclassified — protect accordingly.
2. (SBU) The Haitian Media on February 2 reported that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez planned to visit Haiti as early as the following week. However, the foreign ministry's political director, Wiener Jean Baptiste, on February 5 pointed out to Poloff that the reports stemmed from an announcement made by Venezuelan Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Rodolfo Sanz in Caracas on January 22, who promised that Haitians "will soon see President Chavez in Haiti." The Haitian foreign ministry is making no arrangements and has no knowledge of a set date for the visit, according to Jean Baptiste. Deputy Secretary General of the Presidency Raymond Jeanty also told Pol Specialist that the presidency had no knowledge of a Chavez visit.
3. (SBU) Comment: In March, 2006, prior to President Preval's inauguration, President Preval told visiting WHA A/S Shannon that Chavez was pushing a visit to commemorate the bicentennial of Venezuelan flag day on March 12 in Jacmel. (Venezuelan General Francisco de Miranda first flew the Venezuelan flag on his vessel in Haiti's Jacmel harbor.) Preval told A/S Shannon he would do his best to avoid Chavez, and the visit did not occur. Since Preval's inauguration, however, Haitian-Venezuelan relations have warmed considerably. Preval signed a Petrocaribe agreement within his first weeks in office, and he has made clear that he will solicit aid from any country willing to contribute. Haitian officials report that Chavez continues to aggressively court Haiti. Jean Baptiste noted that Sanz also announced a Venezuelan donation of five garbage trucks and one tanker as part of "operation pure air for Haiti," which he attributed to Chavez' earlier remarks to GoH officials that Venezuela owed a "historic debt to Haiti." (Simon Bolivar in 1816 successfully appealed to the first Haitian president, Alexandre Petion, for assistance in his fight for independence.) Preval may well soon issue an invitation to Chavez, possibly centered on the March date. End Comment. SANDERSON =======================CABLE ENDS============================
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UNCLAS PORT AU PRINCE 000492 SIPDIS SIPDIS STATE FOR WHA/CAR DRL S/CRS SOUTHCOM ALSO FOR POLAD STATE PASS TO USAID FOR LAC/CAR INR/IAA (BEN-YEHUDA) TREASURY FOR MAUREEN WAFER E.O. 12958: N/A TAGS: PREL PGOV EAID XM XL HA VE SUBJECT: CHAVEZ ARRIVES LATE REF: A. PORT AU PRINCE 78
B. PORT AU PRINCE 266
1. (SBU) Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez arrived in Haiti March 12 for meetings with Haitian President Rene Preval and Cuban Vice President Esteban Lazo Hernadez. Though the GoH had announced bilateral meetings with the Venezuelan President, as well as a trip to a construction site, Chavez arrived four hours late — while Preval waited at the airport — and so the program was limited to a wreath-lying at Port-au-Prince's monument to Simon Bolivar, and a trilateral meeting followed by a press conference. The organization of the day was clearly thrown off by Chavez' late arrival, and apparently ended with a delay of his plane's departure, again with Preval waiting at the airport.
2. (SBU) During the press conference, Preval confirmed the US $20 million that Chavez had announced in Venezuela on March 5. Reportedly, the money will serve as humanitarian reserve fund for Haiti in order to back social, infrastructure and power-supply programs. Chavez also re-announced his donations of garbage trucks to Haiti, which his Vice President had announced in late January. (Note: According to press reports in late January, Venezuela will donate five or six garbage trucks and Haiti will purchase 25 more. End note.) Also, the Venezuela president said he would augment the amount of fuel Haiti will receive through Petrocaribe from 5,000 barrels a day to 14,000 barrels. (Note: Haiti's daily fuel demand is only 11,000 barrels. Venezuela and Haiti announced last October that Petrocaribe would supply 100 percent of Haiti's fuel, up from 60 percent (the same jump Chavez made reference to at the press conference). Since the initial shipment of fuel arrived May, 2006, Haiti has not received any further shipments. End note.) Venezuela pledged funds for improvement to provincial Haitian airports and airport runways (also previously announced) and experts on economic planning to help identify development priorities. Other pledges include Cuban commitment to bring medical coverage to all Haitian communes, Cuban and Venezuelan electrical experts to improve energy generation, and a trilateral cooperation bureau in Port-au-Prince.
3. (SBU) Comment: Gabriel Verret, one of Preval's closest advisors, told the Ambassador that the trip could have been worse. The GoH stopped a rally that was supposed to take place in favor of Chavez and tried to limit Chavez' speaking time at the press conference. While waiting at the airport, Verret had let the Ambassador know that he (and presumably the President) were frustrated with Chavez' late arrival. Overall, disorganization and last-minute planning were evident, and even the pledges of aid and assistance are either old news or vague. GoH officials have complained to post privately in the past that Venezuelan aid can be a burden the GoH: the initial Petrocaribe shipment sat in storage for months until the GoH finally succeeded in selling it (primarily to the only local company) and the public works minister complained in December that nobody could figure out how to make use of several tons of tar Venezuela sent in late 2006. SANDERSON =======================CABLE ENDS============================
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C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 PORT AU PRINCE 000522 SIPDIS SIPDIS STATE FOR WHA/CAR DRL S/CRS SOUTHCOM ALSO FOR POLAD STATE PASS TO USAID FOR LAC/CAR INR/IAA (BEN-YEHUDA) TREASURY FOR MAUREEN WAFER E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/05/2017 TAGS: PREL PGOV EAID XM XL HA VE SUBJECT: PREVAL: CHAVEZ VISIT A MESS REF: A. PORT AU PRINCE 492
B. PORT AU PRINCE 433
C. PORT AU PRINCE 266
D. PORT AU PRINCE 78 PORT AU PR 00000522 001.2 OF 002 Classified By: Ambassador Janet A. Sanderson for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d ).
1. (C) Summary: To hear President Rene Preval tell it, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez' visit to Haiti on March 12 was a logistical nightmare and an annoyance to the GoH. Chavez thwarted Preval's efforts to keep the public profile of the visit low key. In the aftermath of the visit, Preval told Ambassador and others that he is skeptical of Chavez's promises, especially on delivery of gasoline through the Petrocaribe agreement. Secretary General of the Presidency Fritz Longchamps told Polcouns that the GoH viewed the Chavez visit as the price to pay for whatever assistance Venezuela provides to Haiti. Aside from new and renewed pledges of assistance (ref A) Chavez made concessions on several points allowing Haiti to more easily implement Petrocaribe, according to Michael Lecorps, the head of the GoH office tasked with Petrocaribe. Preval and company may be overselling their irritation toward Chavez for our benefit, but Preval has consistently voiced wariness of Chavez in conversations with Emboffs going back to the early stages of the presidential campaign in 2005. In any case, it appears that Preval will do what it takes to elicit assistance from Chavez, but has otherwise shown no interest in joining Chavez in his broader "Bolivarian agenda." End Summary.
2. (C) Preval told Ambassador the evening of March 13 that Chavez was a difficult guest. The Venezulean did not have a GOH invitation but insisted on coming to mark Venezuelan flag day (ref C) and only the arrival of two advance planes two days before the visit gave Port au Prince warning Chavez was on his way. After finally arriving at the Palace, Chavez made Preval and his team wait 40 more minutes while he spoke to Castro by telephone. Responding to Ambassador's observation that giving Chavez a platform to spout anti-American slogans here was hard to explain given our close relationship and support of Haiti and of Preval's government in particular, Preval stressed that he had worked hard to stop much of Chavez' proposed grandstanding. He vetoed a Chavez-led procession/demonstration from the airport to the Venezuelan Embassy (substituting a wreath laying at Port-au-Prince's monument to Bolivar) and limited the length of the press conference. Chavez, for his part, insisted that the press conference proceed as scheduled, thus cutting into bilateral meeting time. Preval added that he, Preval, is "just an independent petit bourgeoisie" and doesn't go for the grand gestures that Chavez favors. Haiti needs aid from all its friends, Preval added, and he is sure that the US understands his difficult position. The President was uncomfortable with the exchange, later noting that Haiti's chattering classes will claim that the Chavez visit led to cancellation of a rumored visit here by President bush.
3. (C) According to UN SRSG Edmund Mulet (who hosted an ebullient Preval for dinner following the capture of Cite Soleil gang leader Evans Jeune later in the week), Preval told him that he didn't trust Chavez to follow through on his promises and requested that the Cuban ambassador participate in the sessions. The Cuban government went further in sending Vice President Esteban Lazo Hernadez, who had participated in other trilateral meetings with Haiti and Venezuela. Preval also told fomer UNSRSG Juan Gabriel Valdez (visiting here on behalf of the OAS) that he was appalled by Chavez's behavior at the airport and on the way to the palace. He refused to get out of the car when Chavez insisted on greeting his demonstrators in the street on his way in from the airport. Preval and others in the government believe that the Venezuelan Charge d'Affaires orchestrated and paid for the demonstrations by Famni Lavalas militants at the airport, the Venezuelan Embassy, and the palace, which numbered roughly 1,000 and also called for the return of former President Arisitide.
4. (C) ''Now that this trip is over, a great weight has PORT AU PR 00000522 002.2 OF 002 been lifted off my shoulders,'' Longchamps told Polcouns on March 14, stressing that Haiti had to host Chavez if the GoH was going to get any aid and assistance from Venezuela. The GoH does not expect that Chavez will follow through on most of his promises, but even half, or a quarter, would be significant. The most valuable use of Venezuelan aid, according to Longchamps, would be funding for salaries, supplies, medicine, and shelter for the Cuban doctors and advisors currently working in Haiti: the GoH hopes this funding will come from the USD 20 million humanitarian reserve fund that Chavez re-pledged. Longchamps told Polcouns that Haiti has about 300 Cubans working officially in Haiti, of whom 90 percent are doctors. Also, Longchamps recalled, Preval brought the Cubans to Haiti during his first term, and the continued success of this program is important to the President. Longchamps added that the trilateral cooperation bureau that Cuba and Venezuela promised to set up in Port-au-Prince is ''just an idea,'' with no definite plans for implementation. Haiti has no plans to join the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (known as ALBA), Venezuela's free trade zone.
5. (C) The Petrocaribe agreement, through which Haiti would get a 25-year loan on 40 percent of the fuel it purchases from Venezuela is still in discussion stages, and Preval told Valdes that ever since the initial shipment in May, 2006, Venezuela has made no real attempts at progressing with the agreement. Apparently the two countries signed off on a few details during Chavez' visit (which Longchamps told Polcouns the GoH pressured Chavez into signing), such as allowing Haiti's oil industry to ship the product (Venezuela had insisted on the shipping rights until now), and giving the oil companies the right to receive the product in place of a state-owned oil company, as previously stipulated by Venezuela (ref D). Industry representatives claim that despite the progress made during Chavez' visit, the agreement would still take over a year to implement and suspect that it will never take place at all. The head of Haiti's Petrocaribe office (known as the monetization bureau), Michael Lecorps, confirmed that Venezuela doubled its commitment to 14,000 barrels per day and pledged to work with the oil industry in Haiti, an unprecedented move on Chavez' part, according to Lecorps.
6. (C) Comment. The Ambassador and Polcouns have voiced concern to senior officials that Chavez had used his visit as a platform for an attack on Haiti's closest and steadiest bilateral ally, most recently with PM Alexis yesterday. It is clear that the visit has left a bad taste in our interlocutors' mouths and they are now into damage control. Preval himself has no love for Chavez: Valdes reminded us that during a private Preval visit to Venezuela prior to the 2006 elections, Chavez blind-sided him with a draft statement pledging support for the return of Aristide. Preval has yet to forgive him, according to intimates. At no time has Preval given any indication that he is interested in associating Haiti with Chavez' broader "revolutionary agenda." We believe that the GOH will continue to argue that hosting Chavez was an unavoidable consequence of Preval's effort to solicit aid from any quarter, and that Preval did his best to rein Chavez in. Preval himself will continue to focus his public remarks on Venezuelan (and Cuban) assistance for Haiti — it is neither in his character — nor in his calcuation — to repudiate Chavez, even as the Venezuelan abuses his hospitality at home. SANDERSON =======================CABLE ENDS============================
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C O N F I D E N T I A L PORT AU PRINCE 000781 SIPDIS SIPDIS STATE FOR WHA/CAR DRL S/CRS SOUTHCOM ALSO FOR POLAD STATE PASS AID FOR LAC/CAR INR/IAA TREASURY FOR JEFFREY LEVINE E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/30/2011 TAGS: PGOV PREL SNAR KCRM HA SUBJECT: PREVAL GOING TO ALBA SUMMIT: RETURNING WITH A CHECK? REF: A. PAP 522
B. PAP 773 Classified By: Classified by Ambassador Janet A. Sanderson for reasons 1.4(b) and (d).
1. (C) Secretary General of the Presidency Fritz Longchamps on April 26 reported to Polcouns that President Preval will attend the Alba summit in Venzuela as a "special observer" for the express purpose of finalizing a tri-lateral assistance agreement between Haiti, Venezuela, and Cuba, whereby Venezuela will finance the presence of Cuban doctors and other technicians in rural Haiti. Longchamps expressed surprise that the USG would take issue with Preval's attendance at this meeting. He reiterated that Venezuelan assistance, particularly in providing health care to the most deprived parts of Haiti, was too important for President Preval not to pursue. Preval had never participated in or associated himself with Chavez' attacks against the U.S. and would not on this trip. Nor did he have any intention of joining Alba. Longchamps reminded Polcouns of their discussions immediately after Chavez visited Haiti (ref B)–how President Preval had curtailed Chavez' activities during the visit and how uncomfortable Chavez' behavior had made everyone during his stay.
2. (C) Polcouns replied that though that may have been the case, for the USG, the net result was that President Preval gave Chavez another platform from which to attack the United States and then saw him off from the airport. The USG understood that Preval felt obliged to pursue all sources of assistance for Haiti, but did not understand why he continued to participate in fora where Chavez vilified Haiti's most important and reliable bi-lateral partner. USG officials would ask President Preval this question during his upcoming trip to Washington in May.
3. (C) Comment. Longchamps seemed genuinely surprised that Polcouns asked for an appointment specifically to raise our displeasure with Preval's Venezuela trip. To some degree, Longchamp's reaction probably reflects Preval's own obliviousness to the impact and consequences his accommodation of Chavez has on relations with us. Longchamps, sophisticated and experienced as he is, also betrayed a common trait among Haitian officials in misjudging the relative importance that U.S. policy makers attach to Haiti versus Venezuela and Chavez' regional impact. As reported in ref A, messages delivered to Preval in Haiti, whether through intermediaries or directly, are likely to have little impact. We should convey our discontent with Preval's actions at the highest possible level when he next visits Washington. SANDERSON =======================CABLE ENDS============================
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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 PORT AU PRINCE 000829 SIPDIS C O R R E C T E D C O P Y (PARA 8, TEXT) SIPDIS NSC FOR FISK STATE FOR WHA/CAR DRL S/CRS SOUTHCOM ALSO FOR POLAD STATE PASS TO USAID FOR LAC/CAR INR/IAA TREASURY FOR JEFFREY LEVINE E.O. 12958: N/A TAGS: PREL PGOV SNAR KCRM HA VE SUBJECT: ALBA AFTERMATH: HAITI SHRUGGED REF: A. CARACAS 844
B. PORT AU PRINCE 773
C. PORT AU PRINCE 781
D. PORT AU PRINCE 819 PORT AU PR 00000829 001.4 OF 002
1. This message is sensitive but unclassified — please protect accordingly.
2. (SBU) Summary: Media coverage and popular reaction to President Preval's return from the ALBA summit in Caracas (ref A) unsurprisingly focused almost entirely on the details of the agreement between Preval and President Chavez and what prospects are that Chavez might actually deliver. Of most immediate interest are Chavez' promises to provide a combined total of 160 megawatts of electricity (Preval focuses on the 60 megawatts he will save by using low-energy light bulbs) in Haiti and 100 percent of Haiti's energy (read gasoline) needs, though most media observers note that promises made by Venezuela to Haiti under the PetroCaribe accord, signed one year ago, have gone unmet. Haitians appear to attach no significance to the context in which Preval elicits these commitments — Preval parading with Chavez' rogues gallery of ALBA leaders — and evince virtually Q interest in Chavez' regional agenda. End Summary. And a Set of Kitchen Knives ———-
4. (U) President Preval on April 29 announced the following results to the press on his return to Haiti from Venezuela. The Cubans will replace two million light bulbs throughout Port-au-Prince with low-energy bulbs. The initiative will cost USD four million, but save the country 60 megawatts of electricity, which costs the country USD 70 million annually. Venezuela promised to repair the power plant in Carrefour, generating an additional 40 megawatts of electricity. Additionally, Venezuela will by December of this year build new power plants across the country to add 30 megawatts to Port-au-Prince's electrical grid and 15 additional megawatts each for Gonaives and Cap-Haitian, all of which will use heavy Venezuelan fuel oil, a more efficient and less-expensive alternative to diesel. Chavez also promised supply 100 percent of Haiti's energy needs and improved the purchase terms. During his visit here last March, he doubled the Petrocaribe agreement allotment from 7,000 barrels per day (b/d) to 14,000 b/d (ref B). As Preval explained to the Ambassador in ref D, Chavez agreed to give Haiti a loan on 50 percent of all fuel that it purchases through the Petrocaribe agreement. Additionally, Chavez promised to build a petrochemical complex, a natural gas plant, and an oil refinery to refine the crude sent from Venezuela.
5. (U) Two Hundred Eight Five Haitian doctors returning from their studies in Cuba will work to provide basic medical care countrywide. Cuba will construct two basic health care centers in each of Haiti's 133 communes and one advanced diagnostic center in each of Haiti's ten departments. Preval announced that the equipment and materials for the centers are already available in Cuba. Cuba and Venezuela will help Haiti resolve illiteracy with USD 20 million per year for three years. The three governments will also open an ''ALBA office'' in Port-au-Prince in the near future. (Note: During the discussions surrounding Chavez's visit to Port-au-Prince in March, Preval had referred to ''a tri-lateral cooperation office.'' End Note.)
8. (SBU) Comment: The Haitian media coverage virtually ignored the ALBA summit's pomp and circumstance, Chavez' grandiose declarations, and Preval's own address. (Preval managed to be both brief and rambling, but did make a point of twice noting that Haiti was not a member of ALBA.) Though the extravagant promises and commitments that Preval announced on his return made for splashy headlines and news reports, most Haitians (including Preval himself) are already wary and skeptical of Chavez. They remember that Chavez promised them great things when Preval signed the PetroCaribe PORT AU PR 00000829 002.4 OF 002
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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 PORT AU PRINCE 000830 SIPDIS SENSITIVE SIPDIS NSC FOR FISK STATE FOR WHA/CAR S/CRS DRL WHA/EPSC FOR FAITH CORNEILLE, ED MARTINEZ EB/IFD TREASURY FOR JEFFREY LEVINE COMMERCE FOR SCOTT SMITH E.O. 12958: N/A TAGS: ENRG EPET ECON EAID HA SUBJECT: GOH SETS JULY 1 PETROCARIBE DEADLINE REF: A. PORT AU PRINCE 819
B. PORT AU PRINCE 522
C. PORT AU PRINCE 78
D. 06 PORT AU PRINCE 1905 PORT AU PR 00000830 001.2 OF 002
1. This message is sensitive but unclassified — please protect accordingly.
2. (SBU) Summary: ExxonMobil representatives, led by Caribbean Sales Manager Bill Eisner, told Ambassador Sanderson on April 26 that the head of Haiti's Petrocaribe office, Michael Lecorps, gave the four oil companies operating in Haiti until July 1 to sign the GoH contract on Petrocaribe. ExxonMobil's final message to the GoH, based on their overall industry experience and Petorcaribe's record in the region, was that the contract should allow for some percentage of fuel imported from suppliers other than Venezuela's energy company, PDVSA. Eisner explained that the GoH will buy the fuel from Venezuela and sell it to the oil companies but expects the oil industry to otherwise coordinate the supply, shipping and storage aspects of the agreement directly with Venezuela. In various meetings, Lecorps has told Poloff that revisions to the Petrocaribe agreement signed by Haiti and Venezuela (refs A and B) have not changed anything for him, and that the arrival of the first Petrocaribe shipment will ''take time.'' End Summary.
3. (SBU) In a meeting with the Ambassador, Eisner and his colleagues recounted their meeting with Lecorps and finance ministry representatives on April 26. They all speculated that the July 1 deadline will ''come and go,'' but they did not voice their doubts to the GoH officials. Instead, Eisner focused on his concerns about the price structure of the agreement, the danger of relying on a single supplier, and the transport complications that would result from implementation of the agreement. Eisner and Lecorps also discussed the Dominican Republic's Petrocaribe experience, which has been a ''total disaster.'' In an earlier meeting, Lecorps told Poloff he was aware of all the technical difficulties, in terms of supply, transport and storage that the Dominican Republic was having with Petrocaribe. However, he later stated that the GoH had modified its contract with Venezuela so that it would not have the same problems as the Dominican Republic. (Note: When Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez visited Haiti mid-March, Preval forced him to sign a document allowing the oil companies to ship Petrocaribe products free on board (FOB) to Haiti — refs B and C)
4. (SBU) Eisner assured the GoH that ExxonMobil understands that the financial benefits are attractive to Haiti. The company is willing to work with the GoH to implement the agreement, but not under the current proposal. (Note: The GoH declared that Venezuela would supply 100 percent of Haiti's energy needs in September, 2006 (ref D). End note.) The current contract turns the Haitian government into ExxonMobil's sole supplier, a responsibility the GoH is not ready to handle, according to Eisner. Eisner noted that Haiti would be the only Caribbean country to import 100 percent of the country's fuel demand through the Petrocaribe agreement: Jamaica currently receives 25,000 of 70,000 barrels per day (b/d) and the Dominican Republic 50,000 of 150,000 b/d.
5. (SBU) Eisner said he was shocked when he realized that Lecorps expected the oil industry to coordinate the Petrocaribe deal on behalf of the GoH. According to Eisner, the contract proposed by the GoH would make the oil industry prisoner to two incompetent governments, negating much of the industry's role in coordination. He also said that Lecorps, and presumably the GoH, hopes the four companies will sign the agreement voluntarily, instead of passing legislation obliging oil companies operating in Haiti to participate in the Petrocaribe agreement. Eisner observed that Lecorps seemed under extreme pressure from the GoH to turn the Petrocaribe agreement into tangible results. PORT AU PR 00000830 002.2 OF 002
6. (SBU) Comment: Not a drop of petroleum has resulted from the initial agreement that newly inaugurated President Preval and the Venezuelan Vice President signed in May, 2006. Still, the GoH believes the agreement will bear fruit sometime this year, according to Lecorps. As ExxonMobil and Texaco (responsible for 45 percent of Haiti's total supply) representatives have told the Ambassador, they continue to ship fuel to Haiti regularly, and nothing so far has threatened to interfere. Lecorps told Poloff on May 2 that his superiors in the GoH ''do not understand the technical difficulties the Petrocaribe agreement entails,'' complaining that they expected him to move too quickly. Post has had the same experience with various GoH officials, who have demonstrated in conversations with the Ambassador and others that they have no expertise with the petroleum logistics. They understand the immediate financial benefits but have not thought through the rest, expecting that the oil companies will come through with their logistical know-how. SANDERSON =======================CABLE ENDS============================
VZCZCXRO7805 OO RUEHQU DE RUEHPU #0833/01 1271528 ZNY CCCCC ZZH O 071528Z MAY 07 ZDK FM AMEMBASSY PORT AU PRINCE TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 6015 INFO RUEHZH/HAITI COLLECTIVE PRIORITY RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA PRIORITY 1528 RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS PRIORITY 3211 RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHDC PRIORITY
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 PORT AU PRINCE 000833 SIPDIS SIPDIS NSC FOR FISK WHA/CAR PLEASE PASS TO AMBASSADOR SANDERSON DRL S/CRS INR/IAA TREASURY FOR JEFFREY LEVINE E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/08/2017 TAGS: PREL PGOV HA VE SUBJECT: TENSION BEHIND THE SCENES AT ALBA REF: A. PORT AU PRINCE 819
B. PORT AU PRINCE 824
C. PORT AU PRINCE 522
D. PORT AU PRINCE 781 Classified By: Charge d'Affaires James R. Ellickson-Brown for reasons 1 .4 (b) and (d).
1. (C) Summary: Senate President Joseph Lambert described a "very tense" atmosphere behind the scenes of the ALBA summit between President Preval and President Chavez in a meeting with Embassy staff on May 4. According to Lambert, Preval refused to join ALBA and told Chavez that if ALBA membership were a condition for Venezuelan aid, he would leave the summit. Lambert added that Preval and Chavez also clashed over drug-trafficking, diplomatic representation, what to wear to the summit's closing ceremony (Chavez wanted everyone in red), and the terms of the energy agreement Chavez offered Haiti. The Cubans attempted to persuade Preval be more accommodating to Chavez, but Preval stood firm in signing only a vague cooperation agreement with Venezuela and Cuba, to Chavez' vocal dissatisfaction. Polcouns noted that Preval had voiced only general impatience with Chavez in his readout of the summit with the Ambassador (ref B), Lambert replied that it was Preval's way not to reveal the full extent of his dealings on sensitive matters. End summary.
2. (C) Lambert opened discussion of the ALBA summit by repeating Preval's mantra that Haiti cannot afford to isolate any potential ''friends'' and assured his listeners that Preval would never do anything to compromise relations with his "friends to the North." Lambert, who accompanied President Preval along with President of the Chamber of Deputies Eric Pierre Jean Jacques, Senator Kely Bastien, and Deputy Steven Benoit, stressed that the weekend in Venezuela was rife with tension between Preval and Chavez. According to Lambert, Preval refused to sign a an agreement that conditioned Venezuelan assistance on ALBA membership. Lambert said Preval deflected Chavez' pressure to sign on to the summit agreements as an observer by claiming that the parliamentary representatives who accompanied him were not in favor and would not ratify the agreements. Preval's resistance to signing the ALBA accords so upset Chavez that the Cubans tried to get Preval to play along, telling him that ALBA principles should interest a country like Haiti, so why not sign the document in the spirit of the occasion, even if not intending to join ALBA. Preval stood firm, in the end agreeing only to a ''very general'' cooperation agreement. When Chavez read the final negotiated text, he complained that for all the he gives to Haiti, the Haitians give nothing in return. (Comment: The "Cooperation Framework ALBA-Haiti Bolivar Petion, Marti, available in Spanish on the ALBA website, is indeed notable for vagueness, in the main stating that the parties commit to "promote and intensify cooperation." End Comment.)
4. (C) Preval raised with Chavez the issue of drug flights to Haiti originating in Venezuela. Lambert said that ''Comandante Chavez'' was visibly angry and barely managed to stay calm. Cuban Vice President Carlos Lage interjected, ''Viva Preval'' to break the silence and change the subject. Preval and Chavez also disputed diplomatic representation: Venezuela has appointed a new ambassador in Haiti, but Preval said he would assign a mid-level diplomat to Venezuela as a charge d'affaires. Chavez argued that because the relationship involves millions of dollars, Haiti should send an ambassador, but Preval refused. In a final show of dissent, the Haitian delegation, at Preval's behest, opted not to wear the red hats and red shirts that Chavez gave to the participants for the closing ceremony. (Note: On a related note, Lambert recounted that Jean Jacques, who had missed the final meeting with Preval before departing Port-au-Prince and therefore did not know Preval's sentiments, arrived at the airport coincidentally wearing a red dress shirt. Preval jokingly called him ''Chavito,'' but told him to change. End note.)
5. (C) Lambert also recounted tensions in finalizing the new energy agreement between Venezuela and Haiti. The draft prepared by Venezuela for ALBA members and Haiti, which increases the loan on fuel to 50 percent from 40 percent (ref A), included a clause nullifying the current Petrocaribe PORT AU PR 00000833 002 OF 002 agreement once the new agreement came into force. Having already waited one year for implementation of the original Petrocaribe, the Haitians altered that clause to stipulate that the new agreement would come into effect only after the arrival of the first petroleum shipment, which Lambert expected would be in June or July. Lambert said that parliament would not ratify a second energy agreement until Venezuela proved it would meet its commitments. After Chavez proposed to build a fuel pipeline to run from Venezuela to the Caribbean, Preval told Lambert he felt that his head was spinning from such a crazy proposition.
6. (C) Comment: Polcouns and Poloff met with Lambert on the afternoon of May 4 on the spur of the moment — a scheduled meeting the previous day with the Ambassador to discuss Lambert's participation in Preval's trip to Washington the coming week fell through. Polcouns raised Lambert's trip to Venezuela after general pleasantries regarding Lambert's increased travel schedule with Preval. As is his wont, Lambert immediately launched into a detailed and candid assessment of the subject at hand, without appearing defensive or going out of his way to justify Preval's participation in the summit. Rather, he appeared struck by the "hidden face" or diplomacy, which he described as both tense but sometimes comic. When Polcouns wondered why Preval had not shared some of this with the Ambassador during their meeting, Lambert replied that Preval would be uncomfortable revealing details regarding such a sensitive subject. ELLICKSON-BROWN =======================CABLE ENDS============================
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C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 PORT AU PRINCE 000944 SIPDIS SENSITIVE SIPDIS NSC FOR FISK STATE FOR WHA/CAR INR/I WHA/EPSC FOR FAITH CORNEILLE, ED MARTINEZ EB/IFD STATE PASS TO USAID FOR LAC/CAR TREASURY FOR JEFFREY LEVINE COMMERCE FOR SCOTT SMITH E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/22/2032 TAGS: PINR EPET EAID VE HA SUBJECT: (C) C-AL7-00733: VENEZUELAN AID TO HAITI REF: A. SECSTATE 66324
B. 06 PORT AU PRINCE 1377
C. 06 PORT AU PRINCE 1598
D. PORT AU PRINCE 833
E. PORT AU PRINCE 829 Classified By: Ambassador Janet A. Sanderson for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d )
1. (C) Summary: Venezuelan promises of over USD one billion in aid and assistance to Haiti have not materialized except for two examples of in-kind assistance. Venezuela delivered a shipment of petroleum and asphalt, both of which arrived without forewarning, and the GoH re-sold the goods to no immediate benefit to the Haitian people. Though GoH officials have grown increasingly skeptical of Venezuelan promises (and have said so much to Emboffs in private), they continue to hope that President Chavez will follow through on at least a portion of what he has committed. In a bout of optimism, the GoH ended its contract with the largest electricity supplier to Port-au-Prince, partially because of its faith in future Venezuelan assistance to the electricity sector totaling 160 MW of additional capacity. End summary.
2. (U) The answers below are keyed to the questions in Ref A. QUESTION B – – – – – – – – – –
3. (SBU) A team of Venezuelan engineers visited Haiti in December, 2006 to assess potential technical assistance to the airports. There have been no results from the visit.
4. (SBU) According to Venezuelan news reports, President Chavez shipped garbage trucks to Haiti in March. Pol specialist called government contacts in the public works ministry and customs, none of whom could confirm that the garbage trucks had arrived. QUESTION C – – – – – – – – – –
5. (SBU) Venezuela kicked off its relationship with President Rene Preval on the eve of his inauguration by sending one shipment (100,000 barrels) of petroleum in May,
2006. This was a grant and not part of the Petrocaribe agreement. The Haitian government struggled to sell the petroleum and finally convinced the local oil company, whose president Edouard Baussan is very close to Preval, to buy the fuel from the GoH (Ref B). There is no schedule for the second shipment, although GoH officials have said they hope to have the first official Petrocaribe shipment by June or July. (Note: This is highly likely according to contacts in the oil industry. End note.)
6. (SBU) According to Public Works Minister Frantz Verela, Venezuela sent one shipment (10,000 barrels) of asphalt to Haiti in June/July, 2006. The GoH had the same problems with the asphalt that it had with the petroleum: it did not have the means to transport it or storage capacity (Ref C). Post later learned that the GoH shipped and sold the asphalt to the Dominican Republic. QUESTION D – – – – – – – – – –
7. (SBU) President of the National Assembly Joseph Lambert told Emboffs that of Venezuela's promised millions, Haiti has received only USD two million in humanitarian assistance. Post has not come across any evidence to confirm this statement. QUESTION G – – – – – – – – – –
8. (C) Various GoH officials have complained to post that Venezuela has not delivered on its promised aid and assistance. President Preval and his advisors privately told Ambassador Sanderson on numerous occasions that they no PORT AU PR 00000944 002 OF 002 longer count on Chavez' extravagant promises. President Preval continues to hold out some hope and has taken advantage of his last two encounters with Chavez to press him to carry out the agreements between Venezuela and Haiti. However, he appears to be losing patience: Lambert told Emboffs that Preval took an anti-ALBA stance during private meetings with Chavez at the ALBA summit in April, telling Chavez he can keep his aid if ALBA membership is a condition (Ref D). QUESTION I – – – – – – – – – –
9. (SBU) Michael Lecorps is the head of the GoH's bureau of monetization (informally known as the Petrocaribe office) and is charged with carrying out the Petrocaribe agreement. In addition to shipments of gasoline, diesel and asphalt, the agreement includes assistance to the electricity sector (an additional 60 MW countrywide, 40 MW following the repair of a Port-au-Prince power plant, and 60 MW saved by using lower-energy light bulbs — Ref E).
10. (C) Comment: Even if the GoH has some hope that the Venezuelan aid will materialize, the general population appears to give little heed to Chavez' claims. At first his promises generated some attention, but recently, his guarantees receive little, if any, press. The GoH appears to be well on its way to realizing what the populace already knows: seeing is believing when it comes to promises from Venezuela, and Chavez' words are empty until he arrives with cash in hand. SANDERSON =======================CABLE ENDS============================
VZCZCXRO8921 OO RUEHQU DE RUEHPU #0959 1491447 ZNY CCCCC ZZH O 291447Z MAY 07 FM AMEMBASSY PORT AU PRINCE TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 6183 INFO RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC PRIORITY RUEHZH/HAITI COLLECTIVE RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA 1543 RUEHSA/AMEMBASSY PRETORIA 1362 RUMIAAA/HQ USSOUTHCOM J2 MIAMI FL RUCOWCV/CCGDSEVEN MIAMI FL//OLE/OI//
C O N F I D E N T I A L PORT AU PRINCE 000959 SIPDIS SIPDIS STATE FOR WHA/CAR DRL S/CRS SOUTHCOM ALSO FOR POLAD STATE PASS AID FOR LAC/CAR INR/IAA TREASURY FOR JEFFREY LEVINE NSC FOR FISK E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/25/2012 TAGS: PGOV PREL HA SUBJECT: HAITIAN DELEGATION PLEASED WITH WASHINGTON VISIT Classified By: Classified by Ambassador Janet A. Sanderson for reasons 1.4(b) and (d).
1. (C) Members of the delegation who accompanied President Preval and other Haitian officials informed Emboffs that Preval was very pleased with the reception he received from President Bush, Secretary Rice, other USG officials and members of Congress. Presidential counselor Gabriel Verret claimed in a conversation with Polcouns that Preval was neither surprised nor taken aback by President Bush's concerns regarding Haitian-Venezuelan relations. Verret related that when the White House regretfully asked the Haitian delegation to change the time of the meeting with President Bush on short notice, President Preval instructed him to accommodate the White House, saying the most important goal of the trip was to see President Bush and make him understand where he (Preval) stood on Venezuela. Verret said they joked afterward that they should have been prepared to explain their Venezuela policy with a Haitian proverb, "The bigger imbecile than the one who gives is the one who doesn't take."
2. (C) In a separate conversation with Polcouns, unofficial presidential advisor and veteran Hill lobbyist Leonel Delatour downplayed the friction reportedly caused by the issue of granting Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to Haitians illegally in the U.S. between President Preval and some members of Congress. The leadership of the Congressional Black Caucus, he said, respected President Preval's position not to raise TPS with President Bush. When asked why President Preval would even consider advocating for an issue at odds with his campaign to promote a return of people and investment to Haiti, Delatour replied that as a small, poor country, Haiti could not afford to alienate any friends on the Hill, especially those who had been instrumental in passing HOPE legislation.
3. (C) Foreign Minister Clerisme and Prime Minster Alexis (neither of whom accompanied Preval) also expressed the GoH's overall satisfaction with the Washington visit in meetings with the Ambassador. Clerisme took pains to excuse his absence, noting the importance of the CARICOM heads of state preparatory meeting President Preval had asked him to attend. The PM said that the President was particularly pleased with prospects for continued cooperation in taking advantage of the HOPE legislation and further counter-narcotics legislation. (Note. Nonetheless, Prevals' intimates expressed to Ambassador anger at how hard some CBC members pressed the President on TPS. One member of the CBC walked out of the meeting with Preval, a breech of protocol that upset Preval's colleagues. End note.)
4. (C) Comment. Preval's visit appears to have underlined for the delegation the importance of the Haiti-U.S. partnership and their need to cultivate Washington decision-makers. Post is confident that the trip established the groundwork for closer consultations with the GoH on issues such as drugs and anti-corruption cooperation. Of some concern, however, is Preval's continued blase attitude toward staffing. Among those accompanying Preval, economic advisor/fiance Elizabeth Delatour appears firmly established as his closest confidante and factotum, but appears to play little role in promoting or implementing policy, and is thus of limited utility as a contact in promoting the bilateral agenda. On the positive side, Gabriel Verret remains a reliable and valuable interlocutor. Preval continues to rely on Leonel Delatour in dealing with the Hill, but otherwise appears to keep him at arms-length on policy, resulting in Preval's inconsistent and contradictory stand on TPS with the Hill and the White House. We hope that President Bush's clear message on Venezuela sank in, but only time will tell. Preval answers only to himself on Venezuela policy, and he may not be able to resist displaying some show of independence or contrariness in dealing with Chavez in the future. SANDERSON =======================CABLE ENDS============================
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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 PORT AU PRINCE 001184 SIPDIS SIPDIS STATE FOR WHA/EX AND WHA/CAR S/CRS SOUTHCOM ALSO FOR POLAD STATE PASS AID FOR LAC/CAR INR/IAA WHA/EX PLEASE PASS USOAS TREASURY FOR JEFFREY LEVINE COMMERCE FOR SCOTT SMITH E.O. 12958: N/A TAGS: EAID ECON ENRG EPET HA PGOV PREL SUBJECT: GOH CLARIFIES JULY 1 PETROCARIBE DEADLINE PORT AU PR 00001184 001.4 OF 002 PLEASE CANCEL THIS CABLE AND BLANK ASSOCIATED MCNs. PORT AU PR 00001184 002.4 OF 002 PLEASE CANCEL THIS CABLE AND BLANK ASSOCIATED MCNs. SANDERSON =======================CABLE ENDS============================
VZCZCXRO6978 PP RUEHQU DE RUEHPU #1989 3541915 ZNY CCCCC ZZH P 201915Z DEC 07 FM AMEMBASSY PORT AU PRINCE TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7390 INFO RUEHZH/HAITI COLLECTIVE PRIORITY RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS PRIORITY 3221 RUEHUB/USINT HAVANA PRIORITY 0072 RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC PRIORITY RUMIAAA/HQ USSOUTHCOM J2 MIAMI FL PRIORITY
C O N F I D E N T I A L PORT AU PRINCE 001989 SIPDIS SIPDIS STATE FOR WHA/CAR, DRL, S/CRS, INR/IAA STATE PASS TO USAID FOR LAC/CAR NSC FOR DAN FISK SOUTHCOM ALSO FOR POLAD TREASURY FOR MAUREEN WAFER E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/18/2017 TAGS: PREL PGOV EAID ENRG EFIN XL HA VE CU SUBJECT: VENEZUELAN & CUBAN CONSTRUCTION OF 3 ELECTRICITY PLANTS IN HAITI Classified By: Charge Thomas C. Tighe for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).
1. (SBU) Summary: Venezuela and Cuba appear to be taking advantage of Haiti's electricity gap. GOH sources up to and including President Preval say Haiti is accepting delivery of three Venezuela-supplied generators to supply Port-au-Prince, Cap Haitien and Gonaives. The generators are to be installed with Cuban technical help. After the December 16 visit to Haiti of Taiwanese Foreign Minister James Cheung, Haiti continues to accept assistance from a diverse set of donors. End Summary.
2. (SBU) Embassy first heard of this project August 14 from Michael Lecorps, Director General for the GoH's Office of Monetization in the Ministry of Planning (the office responsible for managing PetroCaribe in Haiti). He told Econoff that the Venezuelans had begun construction of three electricity plants in Haiti: Port-au-Prince (30 megawatts), Cap Haitien (15 megawatts) and Gonaives (15 megawatts). The plant construction would be a product of a three-country cooperative effort including Haiti, Venezuela and Cuba. At that time, he expected that the plants would be completed by January 2008.
3. (C) President Rene Preval announced on December 18 at airport press conference before departing for Cuba that the Gonaives and Cap Haitien plants would open in February and the Port-au-Prince plant in May. (Note: Preval said he would attend the 4th PetroCaribe summit and have a medical check-up in Cuba. End note.) Ambassador heard from a close business associate of President Preval on December 14 that Venezuelan President Chavez is pressing President Preval to visit Haiti to inaugurate the Cap Haitien plant in a splashy public ceremony. Rene Jean Jumeau (protect), Energy Consultant in the Ministry of Public Works, noted that the GoH would have to work on the state-owned electricity company EDH's (Electricte d'Haiti) distribution infrastructure to bring electricity to the large numbers of consumers who currently do not have access to EDH's network. Jumeau also said the plants would run on fossil fuels purchased through the PetroCaribe agreement.
4. (C) Jumeau said the Government of Cuba is providing the technical assistance for construction of the plants, and training Haitians in Cuba to operate them. As for management, Jumeau said that the "options are still being considered," but the plants will have a mixed management team with representatives of all three countries.
5. (SBU) President Preval told visiting Congresswoman Corrine Brown December 10 that Haiti was taking delivery of the three generators for these power plants the second week of December. Installation of the units would follow soon, he said.
6. (C) Comment: Venezuela, aided by Cuba, is taking advantage of a yawning electricity gap in Haiti: the capital is without power at least 50 percent of the time (longer during the dry winter months) and much of the rest of the country suffers even longer blackouts. Haiti will accept this kind of assistance from any source. We do not believe the Preval administration is ideologically motivated in accepting aid from Venezuela or Cuba. Indeed, many Haitians rationalize that foreigners owe their country assistance in exchange for Haiti's unique historical contributions to freedom in the hemisphere. Lecorps on August 14 told Econoff that the BRV was providing this development assistance to Haiti as compensation for the help provided to Simon Bolivar in the early 19th century. Haiti is omnivorous in soliciting and accepting assistance. The day after telling Congresswoman Brown about accepting Venezuelan-financed generators, President Preval received visiting Taiwanese Foreign Minister James Huang. Press reports say the main subject was Taiwanese assistance, including assistance for agriculture. TIGHE =======================CABLE ENDS============================
VZCZCXRO1988 PP RUEHQU DE RUEHPU #0234 0461834 ZNY CCCCC ZZH P 151834Z FEB 08 ZDK FM AMEMBASSY PORT AU PRINCE TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7687 INFO RUEHZH/HAITI COLLECTIVE PRIORITY RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA PRIORITY 1800 RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS PRIORITY 3222 RUEHSA/AMEMBASSY PRETORIA PRIORITY 1605 RUEHQU/AMCONSUL QUEBEC PRIORITY 1028 RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC PRIORITY RUMIAAA/HQ USSOUTHCOM J2 MIAMI FL PRIORITY RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC PRIORITY RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
C O N F I D E N T I A L PORT AU PRINCE 000234 SIPDIS SENSITIVE SIPDIS STATE FOR WHA/CAR WHA/EPSC FOR FAITH CORNEILLE, ED MARTINEZ EB/IFD STATE PASS TO USAID FOR LAC/CAR TREASURY FOR JEFFEREY LEVINE COMMERCE FOR SCOTT SMITH E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/13/2018 TAGS: ENRG EPET ECON POL EAID HA SUBJECT: CHEVRON SIGNS PETROCARIBE AGREEMENT WITH GOH REF: A. 07 PORT AU PRINCE 1416
B. 07 PORT AU PRINCE 1679 Classified By: Ambassador Janet A. Sanderson for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d ).
1. (C) Michael Lecorps, Director General for the Government of Haiti's (GoH) Office of Monetization within the Ministry of Finance, told Econoff on January 25 that Chevron signed a three-year contract the week of January 21 with the GoH under the PetroCaribe arrangement to purchase refined oil products produced by the Venezuelan state-owned oil company PDVSA from the GoH through private sector oil traders. (Note: The Office of Monetization, responsible for managing PetroCaribe in Haiti, was previously in the Ministry of Planning. End note.) Chevron also agreed to ship the refined petrol on one of its tankers. The GoH expects to receive a PetroCaribe shipment in late February or early March. The two other oil companies operating in Haiti, Total (French-owned) and Dynasa (a Haitian company) are still negotiating with the GoH. Patryck Peru-Dumesnil (protect), Chevron's Haiti Retail Manager, told Econoff on January 30 that he suspects Total will sign an agreement with the GoH soon, but finds it "strange" that Dynasa, a Haitian company, has not. (Note: As of March 1, ExxonMobil (Esso) will no longer operate in Haiti (Ref B). End note.)
2. (C) Peru-Dumesnil told Econoff that Chevron management in the U.S. does not want to make a lot of "noise" about the agreement because they do not want to appear to support PetroCaribe. Peru-Dumesnil noted that Chevron has been experiencing some trouble with product delivery from PDVSA in and outside of Haiti. Most recently, PDVSA suspended shipment of 'Premium' 95 oil because of problems at a refinery in Venezuela. Peru-Dumesnil is not certain when PDVSA will resume shipment of the 'Premium' oil. He also said that Venezuelan President Chavez has invested very little in the maintenance and improvement of PDVSA facilities while noting that PDVSA has decreased production by 28 percent. Peru-Dumesnil added that PDVSA's inefficiency is attributed to Chavez's dismissal of approximately 15,000 PDVSA employees after the attempted coup in 2003. He subsequently filled the vacancies with military and close friends with little or no competency in the oil industry. He noted that the next three months would be "unpredictable".
3. (C) Partially addressing Peru-Dumesnil's concern over PDVSA's ability to supply refined products under PetroCaribe, the GoH agreement allows Chevron and the other companies to purchase oil from another source in the event that PDVSA cannot supply the oil. However, Peru-Dumesnil stressed that finding another source is difficult, requires considerable lead-time and would inevitably affect the cost of oil for the companies. He explained that after almost two years of negotiating and educating the GoH on oil industry operations, Chevron finally obtained its desired terms from the GOH. However, the feasibility of the PetroCaribe scheme that inserts the GOH into the purchase and sales chain remains unproven. PDVSA will sell to the GoH, which will then sell to private oil traders, who finally will sell to the oil companies in Haiti for distribution. SANDERSON =======================CABLE ENDS============================
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C O N F I D E N T I A L PORT AU PRINCE 000575 DEPARTMENT FOR WHA SOUTHCOM ALSO FOR POLAD DEPARTMENT PASS USAID FOR LAC E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/01/2019 TAGS: PGOV HA KBIO SUBJECT: DECONSTRUCTING PREVAL Classified By: Ambassador Janet A. Sanderson, reason 1.4(b) and (d). Summary and Introduction ————————-
1. (C) Haitian President Rene Preval has now completed three years of his five year presidential mandate. Widely touted as the "transitional president" poised to lead Haiti into a new era of democracy and economic prosperity, he has had only modest success thus far. Haiti's problems are indeed daunting, and redressing them will take much more than a five-year term. However, Preval's particular world view, his personality and often indecisive and uncommunicative leadership style, coupled with Haiti's deeply divided political class and the devastating events of 2008, have conspired to defer, if not derail, forward movement here.
2. (C) That being said, Preval remains Haiti's indispensable man. Legitimately elected, still moderately popular, and likely the only politician capable of imposing his will on Haiti – if so inclined – Preval's role over the next 18 months is critical. Dealing with Preval is a challenge, occasionally frustrating and sometimes rewarding. He is wary of change and suspicious of outsiders, even those who seek his success. Managing Preval will remain challenging during the remainder of his term yet doing so is key to our success and that of Haiti. We must continue to find creative ways to work with him, influence him, and encourage him to recapture the activism of his first year in office. Until he does, political change and economic progress, so necessary to Haiti's future, is likely to be incremental at best. The Politics of Personality —————————-
3. (C) Preval's attitude towards his presidency has been shaped by both experience and personality. As Aristide's Prime Minister and successor, he was overshadowed by the more charismatic ex-priest. At our first meeting, Preval recounted that he was "the last stop after Tabarre (where Aristide lived) when visitors came", bitterly reminding me that many USG visitors barely had time to see him when he was president. Those slights still rankle. A retiring, complex personality, the president shares little. His inner circle has greatly constricted during the past two years, with key advisors including Bob Manuel, all but dropping out. His involvement with his fiancee, financial advisor Babette Delatour has colored many of his other relationships, according to friends, and caused an estrangement of sorts with his sister and one of his daughters.
4. (C) Even those close to Preval concede that his chameleon-like character makes dealing with the president difficult. One close advisor calls it "the roller coaster that is Rene Preval." Personally engaging – even seductive – when he so wishes, Preval can be equally harsh with colleagues and others. Ministers, close advisors and others have felt the sting of his tongue, both in public and in private. Stubbornly holding to ideas long past their shelf life, he rarely welcomes dissenting opinions. His courting of Taiwan in 2006, which almost led to the Chinese blocking renewal of the MINUSTAH mandate in 2006, is a case in point. Preval is highly disinclined to delegate power or authority and even the smallest detail comes to his office for decision, a situation which has caused stress in his relationships with both his current and former prime ministers. Planning Minister Bellerive described to me a recent Cabinet meeting where the Prime Minister and the Cabinet presented a development plan for the long-suffering northern tier of the country. Preval ridiculed the idea and when confronted by a united ministerial front, walked out of the cabinet meeting and told his advisors to strike the proposal from the agenda.
5. (C) Uncomfortable in formal settings such as summits and international conferences, Preval seeks personal "relationships of trust" with his interlocutors. Often unable to articulate exactly what he wants – except in the broadest of terms – Preval tends to view issues in black and white. Nonetheless, he expects a positive – and prompt response. That is particularly true of his dealings with the international community. He remains skeptical about the international community's commitment to his government's goals, for instance telling me that he is suspicious of how the Collier report will be used. He measures success with the international community – and the U.S.- in terms of positive response to his priorities, rather than according to some broader international benchmarks of success.
6. (C) Nevertheless, Preval's stubborn and cautious nature has sometimes borne fruit. In his first year in office, he was widely praised for reaching out to Haitians of all political stripes and for attempting to bridge Haiti's massive political divides. He has shrewdly coopted major political rivals into his personal cabinet over the past two years and has, through patient diplomacy managed to get fractious parliamentary groupings to sit around the table working on issues ranging from the budget to privatization to the current minimum wage crisis. He believes strongly that without his intercession, the international community would have ignored the impact of the 2008 hurricanes on Haiti, and that his early efforts at negotiation and discussion with the gangs of Cite Soleil (which he often reminds me that I criticized at the time) set the stage for the successful MINUSTAH operation to clear the area. A Narrowing Circle? ——————
7. (C) Preval's seeming isolation in the palace during the past year is striking. Close friends report that they have little contact – and even less influence – with him. A businessman who was key to Preval's election said the last time that he talked to Preval, the president brushed him off. Shunning newspapers and radio, he has a friend in New York do a daily press summary for him; otherwise he freely admits that he neither reads nor listens to the news, either local or international. He uses one or two cell phones but rarely shares the numbers with his colleagues. He uses his email to communicate with family and close friends, but prefers to talk on the telephone. He seldom leaves the palace except to travel to his residence each evening and to the retreat he has bought for his fiancee in the mountains above Port au Prince. The Health Issue —————-
8. (C) Preval's occasionally erratic behavior over the past year has again sparked widespread rumors that he is suffering from the effects of his past prostate cancer or that he has resumed drinking. There is no indication that he is taking medicine that affects his judgment or temperament, but he has ignored suggestions from his inner circle, including that of Delatour, that he do complete medical check-up in the U.S. He has not been to Cuba for follow-up tests in more than a year. Preval has increased his alcoholic consumption and often attends a Petionville night club with friends, but during our social interaction I have never seen him drink to excess. Nonetheless, reports of heavy drinking are circulating widely. An Agenda deferred: Elections, Constitutional Reform, and Drugs ——————————————— —————
9. (C) Preval has said that his agenda for his remaining years in office focuses on three interconnected issues: elections, constitutional reform, and drugs. He came late to the election issue, originally suggesting that the partial Senatorial elections be combined with the lower house polls scheduled for fall. He backed down in the face of international pressure, but also as he came to realize that he would have little success – or support – if he moved on constitutional reform without a fully functioning senate. Given the delays in moving this election forward, he no longer believes that he will see an overhaul of the constitution. He now expects to focus on two critical constitutional issues, dual nationality and government decentralization. He has angrily denied charges that he manipulated the electoral process through the CEP and its decision to exclude Lavalas to undermine an already weak legislature.
10. (C) Preval's focus on comprehensive constitutional reform over the past year raised concerns about his ulterior motives. Many in Haiti's political class drew the conclusion that Preval was seeking a third term. The President's refusal to explicitly reject that possibility created confusion and uncertainty, but I view this development as highly unlikely. Nonetheless, concerns about Preval's intentions, coupled with deteriorating relations with parliament, and his cavalier treatment of major political parties has undermined consensus on constitutional reform and he seems now resigned to more limited changes.
11. (C) Preval's fixation on drug trafficking reflects both a growing frustration with the inflow of drugs into the country's political process and irritation that his government is unable to address something that could indeed pose a personal threat to his future after the presidency. Shunning all GOH responsibility for the problem, he looks to hand it over to us. He has yet to believe that we take his concerns seriously, and that has colored much of his dealings with us beyond the counternarcotics agenda. A not-always-helpful world view ——————————-
12. (C) Although Preval's presidency started off well, with the new president reaching out across the political spectrum in an effort to create a new political culture in the country, those efforts have now essentially stalled. The President, whether by inclination or design, has not fully developed a vision of Haiti's future. By turns determined or distracted, Preval is often reluctant to use the levers of power given to him by the office of the presidency. In one telling instance, he held off going public in the April riots until the presidency appeared to hang in the balance. Skeptical of friends from abroad, and cynical about his own political class's ability to effect change, Preval believes that it is best only to speak out after the deals are done. Pressing him to be more expansive and communicative has been, in my experience, counterproductive. At the same time, he is reluctant to let anyone else pick up the slack, and as a result, the political vacuum in Haiti is often filled by those who do not necessarily have the nation's best interests at heart.
13. (C) There are those who argue that the April, 2008 riots so badly shook Preval's world view that he has become reluctant to act. We believe this is too simplistic an explanation. Preval was indeed unprepared for the riots in the street, but he used them to press some key objectives, including the removal of then-Prime Minister Jacques-Edouard Alexis. More to the point, I believe that the President's own style and outlook, his often unilateral decision-making style, his propensity to micromanage, and his essentially cynical (and often justified) view of the Haitian political process were, I believe, reinforced by what he saw in April, and he is looking for ways to ensure he is not caught unawares again.
14. (C) Preval's old friends suggest that in many ways he remains the radical student who broke with his conservative father and spent his university days in the political maelstrom of 1960s Europe. While this may overstate the case, Preval remains essentially a nationalist politician in the Haitian sense of the word – suspicious of outsiders intentions and convinced that no one understands Haiti like he does. He often takes actions, such as publicly dismissing the results of the Washington Donors Conference or stalling elections, which could be construed as working at cross purposes with the U.S. Preval clearly believes that he can walk a fine line without losing U.S. or international community support. Here, however, he runs a risk. Although he briefly lived in the U.S., Preval does not truly understand Americans or the Washington policy environment – and he often ignores advisors who do. The After-Life ————–
15. (C) Close friends speculate that many of Preval's actions during the past year – his rapprochement with Alexis and the Neptune faction of Lavalas, his obsession with constitutional reform, his anger over drug trafficker Guy Philippe, even his reactions to the April riots – stem from his very real fear that politics will prohibit him from returning to private life in Haiti after his presidency. Thus, they argue, his overriding goal is to orchestrate the 2011 presidential transition in such a way as to ensure that whoever is elected will allow him to go home unimpeded. Based on our conversations, this is indeed a matter that looms large for Preval. He has said to me on various occasions that he is worried about his life after the presidency, that he would not survive in exile. His concerns seem real, given Haiti's history, albeit somewhat overblown at this point in time. What It Means for Us ———————
16. (C) Preval and I entered on duty in our respective positions at pretty much the same time and we have enjoyed an interesting, if not always harmonious, relationship during the past three and a half years. During that period, I have found him somewhat isolated, less open to ideas and advice, and more reluctant to use the tools of his office to advance his agenda than in his first year in office. Some say that he is reverting to the do-nothing persona of his first term as president. Like much about Preval, the reality is somewhat more complicated. What is clear to me, however, is that Preval has yet to truly provide the strong, consistent leadership that Haiti's current circumstances demand. In other places, we could find ways to circumvent or overcome these weaknesses. Not so in Haiti. Given Haiti's strong tradition of presidential rule, the blurred constitutional lines of authority, and his own reluctance to delegate authority, I believe that Preval – and only Preval – will continue to set the rhythm and scope of change in Haiti. And while we may argue with him about pace and priorities, we will have to adapt to his rhythm. Dealing with Preval has never been easy. Yet he remains Haiti's indispensable man and he must succeed in passing this country to a new leadership in 2011. We therefore must continue to find creative, consistent ways to reinforce and maintain our engagement – at all levels of the USG – with Preval and to press him to move forward the important agenda of change that remains as yet unrealized here. TIGHE
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C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 PORT AU PRINCE 000591 SIPDIS STATE FOR WHA/CAR WHA/EPSC FOR FAITH CORNEILLE, ED MARTINEZ EB/IFD STATE PASS TO USAID FOR LAC/CAR TREASURY FOR JEFFEREY LEVINE COMMERCE FOR SCOTT SMITH E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/18/2019 TAGS: PGOV PREL ENRG EPET ECON POL EAID HA SUBJECT: HAITI PLEASED WITH PETROCARIBE AND SUMMIT REF: A. PORT AU PRINCE 00583
B. 08 PORT AU PRINCE 01023 PORT AU PR 00000591 001.2 OF 002 Classified By: Charge d'Affaires Thomas C. Tighe for reasons 1.4 (a, d)
1. (SBU) Summary: The Sixth PetroCaribe Summit in St. Kitts on June 12 congratulated Haiti as the ''best payer'' out of 13 countries, having paid approximately USD 220 million to Venezuela. GOH sources confirm that Venezuela announced plans to finance and construct an oil refinery in Haiti projected to process 20,000 barrels per day. GOH officials say Haiti's parliament will soon ratify a tripartite agreement with Venezuela and Cuba that will decide on Haiti's use of a portion of its PetroCaribe revenues for social programs. Haiti's General Director of Monetization in the Ministry of Economy and Finance (the office responsible for Haiti,s PetroCaribe Fund) lauds the agreement and believes it should not be politicized. End summary.
2. (U) Minister of Foreign Affairs Alrich Nicholas stood in for President Preval at the Heads of State meeting at the 6th PetroCaribe Summit in St. Kitts on June 12 (Note: Per Ref. A, President Preval decided to remain in Haiti to continue minimum salary negotiations with Parliament and the private sector. End note) Minister of Finance Daniel Dorsainvil attended the Energy Ministers meeting at the summit on June
11. Director General of the Office of Monetization Michael Lecorps also attended the summit.
3. (SBU) General Director Lecorps told Econ/PolOff June 16 that the summit congratulated Haiti as the ''best payer'' out of 13 countries benefiting from the petroleum preference agreement. With the cost of a barrel of oil now below USD 80, Haiti currently pays 60 percent of its oil debt to Venezuela within 90 days of a shipment, and pays the remaining 40 percent under a long-term financing agreement at one percent interest. Haiti, to date, has paid approximately USD 220 million of its debt this year to Venezuela. As of April 30, Haiti's PetroCaribe account (after Haiti's withdrawal of USD 197 million for its emergency response to the 2008 hurricanes), had a balance of USD 58.5 million. On May 27, the Government of Haiti (GOH) announced that its total fuel imports under PetroCaribe, since the first shipment was received in March 2008, amounts to approximately USD 489 million. Haiti's long-term debt, payable over 17 to 25 years, amounts to approximately USD 240 million.
4. (SBU) Lecorps confirmed to Econ/PolOff June 15 press reports that Venezuela pledged again to construct an oil refinery in Haiti. (Note: Ref. B reported that Venezuela announced this project at the July 2008 PetroCaraibe Summit in Caracas. End note). Lecorps put its capacity at 20,000 bpd and the cost at USD 400 million. He added that the GoH's Office of Mines and Energy, within the Ministry of Public Works, needs to be more cooperative and help Venezuela identify three potential locations for the refinery.
5. (SBU) Lecorps stated that Haiti is not a member of Venezuela's Bolivarian Alternative of the Americas platform (ALBA). He did note, however, that a tripartite (Haiti-Venezuela-Cuba) energy cooperation agreement is waiting to be ratified by Parliament. According to Lecorps, the agreement's purpose is to decide how ten percent of funds from Haiti's PetroCaribe revenue would be spent on social programs in Haiti. Lecorps stated that PetroCaribe ''…is very good for the country.'' He noted that Venezuelan-financed electricity generating plants are operating in Port-au-Prince, Gonaives and Cap Haitien and have led to longer hours of power in those areas. Haiti receives shipments of PetroCaribe fuel every two weeks. The next is expected on June 25-26. Lecorps asserted that Haiti is satisfied with the PetroCaribe agreement and that it should not be ''politicized.''
6. (C) Comment: PetroCaribe's generous financing terms make it a deal the GOH cannot refuse. The GOH continues discretely to express satisfaction with this program. PORT AU PR 00000591 002.2 OF 002 However, the yet-to-be-ratified tripartite agreement would give Venezuela (and Cuba) a say over Haiti's use of a part of its PetroCaribe funds. Last October, this arrangement would have tied the GOH's hands in disaster response by requiring agreement from Havana and Caracas on Haiti use of PetroCaribe funds, which the GOH used for hurricane relief under state of emergency legislation (Refs B and C). In addition to three power plants already in operation and promises to modernize the airport in Cap Haitien, Venezuela's oil refinery project — implementation of which we still see as questionable — would expand Venezuelan and Cuban influence in Haiti. Post will continue to monitor and report on developments. End comment. TIGHE =======================CABLE ENDS============================
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UNCLAS PORT AU PRINCE 000818 STATE FOR WHA/EX AND WHA/CAR S/CRS SOUTHCOM ALSO FOR POLAD STATE PASS AID FOR LAC/CAR INR/IAA WHA/EX PLEASE PASS USOAS E.O. 12958: N/A TAGS: ECON ENRG EAID EAGR EINV ETRD BEXP HA SUBJECT: HAITI ECONOMIC WEEKLY UPDATE FOR SEPTEMBER 7 TO SEPTEMBER 11, 2009
1. (U) Summary. This is a weekly report on a variety of topics of interest which do not merit full reporting cables. End summary. Budget ——
2. (U) The lower house of the Haitian parliament voted in the FY10 budget with numerous changes on September 9 (septel).
3. (U) The European Union signed a budgetary support agreement with the GoH for EUR 27 million (USD 39.5 million) covering 2009 to 2011. EUR 2 million (USD 2.9 million) are earmarked for the Ministry of Finance and budget management. Initial payments will be made this September. Energy ——
4. (U) The Brazilian government has given USD 3 million to the GoH for start-up costs on construction of a new hydroelectric plant in Mirebalais. The project will eventually flood 450 hectares of arable land. President Preval met with farmers/residents from the Central Plain who do not want the dam project to go forward.
5. (U) The World Bank approved a USD 5 million grant to implement the Electricity Loss Reduction Project in Haiti. This is a two-year project providing technical assistance to Electricite D'Haiti (EDH) and advising the Ministry of Public Works on oversight of the energy sector.
6. (U) The Parliament ratified a tripartite energy security agreement between Haiti, Cuba, and Venezuela. The trilateral treaty, which continues the Petrocaribe agreement with Venezuela, includes upgrades to the international airport in Cap Haitian and a 20,000 barrel per day oil refinery near Gonaives. International Investment Community ———————————-
7. (U) A Brazilian textile delegation is scheduled to visit Haiti from September 27 to October 3. The delegation includes representatives from the Brazilian Association of Textile and Clothing (ABIT) and the Brazilian Association of Man-Made Fibers (ABRAFAS). They will meet with GoH officials, international institutions, and textile factory owners. Participants plan to visit textile assembly plants in Port-au-Prince and the free-trade zone of Ouanaminthe.
8. (U) The 10th Annual Caribbean Business Forum is planned for October 21 to 24 in Haiti. The forum will provide Caribbean investors and entrepreneurs an opportunity to create business partnerships with the Haitian private sector. Funding for the event is being provided by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the GoH, and USD 100,000 from the Taiwanese government.
9. (U) The Organization of American States (OAS), in conjunction with the Mexican government, is organizing a working meeting to be held in Mexico next November for coordination of international cooperation of Haitian socio-economic development.
10. (U) Former President Bill Clinton, the UN Special Envoy to Haiti, will be hosting an international business meeting in Port-au-Prince on October 1 and 2, to encourage more U.S. private sector investment in Haiti, particularly in the apparel assembly sector. Dozens of U.S. businesspersons and investors are scheduled to participate.
11. (U) The World Bank 2010 Doing Business Report ranked Haiti as one of the worst countries for doing business in the Latin American-Caribbean region. Haiti, however, did improve three ranks from last year (from 154 to 151 out of 183 countries surveyed). Improvements were made in securing property rights and employing workers. Haiti also expanded access to credit by modifying collateral standards and accelerated trade with an online document handling system and 24-hour port operations. Urban Renewal ————-
12. (U) The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is initiating a renovation project of the Bicentenaire area (downtown Port-au-Prince). USD 500,000 is being provided by the Taiwanese government and other entities, such as the Haitian Central Bank.
13. (U) The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) initiated a USD 50,000 sanitation project in the city of Les Cayes. Customs ——-
14. (U) A new customs office was opened in Thomassique in the Central Plateau to strengthen border controls and fight smuggling activities in the region. =======================CABLE ENDS============================
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C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 04 PORT AU PRINCE 001381 SIPDIS STATE FOR WHA/CAR, DRL, S/CRS, INR/IAA SOUTHCOM ALSO FOR POLAD STATE PASS AID FOR LAC/CAR TREASURY FOR MAUREEN WAFER E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/29/2018 TAGS: PGOV PREL HA SUBJECT: WHY WE NEED CONTINUING MINUSTAH PRESENCE IN HAITI PORT AU PR 00001381 001.2 OF 004 Classified By: Ambassador Janet A. Sanderson. Reason: E.O. 12958 1.4 (b), (d)
1. (U) This report responds to recommendation number 2 of the Embassy Port au Prince OIG inspection report. Summary ——–
2. (C) The UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti is an indispensable tool in realizing core USG policy interests in Haiti. Security vulnerabilities and fundamental institutional weaknesses mean that Haiti will require a continuing – albeit eventually shrinking – MINUSTAH presence for at least three and more likely five years. Haiti needs the UN presence to fill the security gap caused by Haiti's fledgling police force's lack of numbers and capabilities. It needs MINUSTAH to partner with the USG and other donors in institution-building. A premature departure of MINUSTAH would leave the Preval government or his successor vulnerable to resurgent kidnapping and international drug trafficking, revived gangs, greater political violence, an exodus of seaborne migrants, a sharp drop in foreign and domestic investment, and resurgent populist and anti-market economy political forces – reversing gains of the last two years.
3. (C) Summary Continued: MINUSTAH is a remarkable product and symbol of hemispheric cooperation in a country with little going for it. There is no feasible substitute for this UN presence. It is a financial and regional security bargain for the USG. USG civilian and military assistance under current domestic and international conditions, alone or in combination with our closest partners, could never fill the gap left by a premature MINUSTAH pullout. The U.S. will reap benefits from this hemispheric security cooperation for years to come – but only if its success is not endangered by early withdrawal. We must work to preserve MINUSTAH by continuing to partner with it at all levels in coordination with other major donor and MINUSTAH contributor countries from the hemisphere. That partnering will also help counter perceptions in Latin contributing countries that Haitians see their presence in Haiti as unwanted. The Department and Embassies in Latin countries contributing troops should work to ensure th ese countries' continuing support for MINUSTAH. End summary. Haiti Needs MINUSTAH to Become Viable State ——————————————-
4. (C) The fundamental USG policy goal in Haiti is to make it a viable state that does not post a threat to the region through domestic political turmoil or an exodus of illegal migrants. To reach that point, Haiti must be able to assure its own domestic security, govern itself with stable democratic institutions, and create a business climate that will get the economy moving. Haiti has made progress but is still a long way from these goals. The United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) is the largest and most effective external institution pursuing them. Haiti's progress toward viability hinges on a large international security presence and continued injections of assistance to consolidate its institutions and ease human misery. MINUSTAH is the implementing instrument of the security goal, and MINUSTAH elements are key players in the goal of consolidating institutions and providing critical disaster relief. MINUSTAH a Security Linchpin —————————-
5. (C) MINUSTAH's core stabilization function is security: filling the gap left by inadequate force levels and capabilities of the Haitian National Police (HNP). The HNP currently has approximately 9,000 officers. MINUSTAH in 2006 set a five-year target of training and fielding 14,000 officers – although the police reform report to the UN Security Council says 20,000 are needed to adequately police the country. At current training and vetting rates, Haiti PORT AU PR 00001381 002.2 OF 004 will reach this goal by 2012 at the earliest, provided the GOH is willing to fund and staff this level. (Note: This projection rests on HNP plans to expand the capacity of the Police Academy beginning with the summer class of 2008. End note.) This gain in force will be reduced if the HNP acts on the results of the ongoing UN vetting process and weeds out officers found to be linked to crime, corruption, and other misconduct. Normal attrition will also push the 2012 target date further out. Deficient capabilities – in experience, investigative skills, and management, all exacerbated by corruption — limit the HNP's security clout.
6. (C) Given HNP's lack of capability, MINUSTAH's backup security and police training functions are needed to fill the resulting gap in security. MINUSTAH troops continue to provide security in areas such as the Cite Soleil slum, liberated from overt gang rule in early 2007. They are also the country's ultimate riot control force which in times of unrest protects strategic government installations, including the National Palace and the airport. In MINUSTAH's UN police operations pillar, Formed Police Units (FPU – gendarmerie-type police units from individual contributor countries) aid the HNP with security operations, such as helping put down the mutiny at the national penitentiary last November, and performing riot control during the April disturbances. UNPOL officers provide support to HNP operations, down to helping the anti-kidnapping unit and beginning to assist the HNP's counter narcotics unit. The UNPOL development pillar works with the HNP to develop its capabilities. UNPOL officers guide and monitor the training of the HNP at the Police Academy and in the field. The MINUSTAH apparatus is also conducting the vetting of the entire HNP, an essential aspect of HNP reform.
7. (C) The April food riots threw into stark relief MINUSTAH's role as a security force of last resort. MIUSTAH troops, FPU's and UNPOL provided the criticl extra security capability that prevented riotes from overrunning the Presidential Palace and pobably chasing President Preval from office. INUSTAH Role in Institution Building ————————————
8. (C) MINUSTAH contibutes to building up Haiti's political and judiial institutions and supporting them day-to-day n the ground. It has a civilian presence througout the country: its civil affairs division has tams of advisers deployed in larger towns in all tn departments. These units advise and train oficials at a level of government that is just getting off the ground. At the national level, MINUSTAH is a key partner of the U.S. and other donor countries in building up and reforming Haiti's judicial system. The dimensions of the UN's civilian technical assistance and training for Haiti's national and local institutions exceed that of all other diplomatic missions in Haiti put together. MINUSTAH Post-Hurricane Role —————————-
9. (C) The August-September series of hurricanes and floods have put MINUSTAH's disaster relief role in the spotlight. Cut roads and fallen bridges meant that Prime Minister Michele Pierre-Louis' visits to flooded regions were possible only in MINUSTAH helicopters. Their rotary wing aircraft have also flown emergency aid to areas cut off from ground transport, supplementing the air assets of the USS Kearsarge and the World Food Program. MINUSTAH troops rescued flood victims trapped in their homes, and continue to provide security for food convoys and distribution points, assuring that emergency aid commodities reach their destination and are distributed in an orderly manner. MINUSTAH serves as the coordinating body among donors and between donors and the Government of Haiti. Bottom Line on Continuing MINUSTAH Presence ——————————————- PORT AU PR 00001381 003.2 OF 004
10. (C) The U.S. has a strong interest in maintaining MINUSTAH's presence in Haiti until Haiti's security, judicial and political institutions are can maintain a minimal level of domestic security and political stability on their own. Embassy therefore believes that MINUSTAH's presence here is needed until the HNP reaches at least 14,000 officers and Haiti has installed a new President after the 2011 Presidential transition. A UN civilian advisory presence will be needed for an additional period after the MINUSTAH military and police are drawn down to help along Haiti's institution-building. MINUSTAH already envisions gradually transitioning the current force structure from predominantly infantry to more military police and engineering units, provided the UNSC agrees. It will reduce its civilian presence as Haiti's institutions become more solid. However, a significant withdrawal of the MINUSTAH security forces and civilian advisers is not advisable for a minimum of three years, and we believe that a fu ll withdrawal of MINUSTAH should not be considered before five years. Scenario of a Premature MINUSTAH Departure ——————————————
11. (C) A precipitous withdrawal of or premature drawdown of MINUSTAH's security component could open the door to elements that threaten Haiti's political stability and the consolidation of its democratic institutions. These are goals which we and our hemispheric and European allies since 2004 have devoted over two billion USD in resources to achieve. Increased security and other assistance from the U.S. and other large donors individually could not immediately make up for the loss of MINUSTAH boots on the ground.
12. (C) We could see a rollback of stabilization and security gains made since MINUSTAH began to serious confront security problems in 2006. Kidnappings, now reduced through effective police work, might spike upward again. Drug trafficking networks, a large threat even with the current MINUSTAH presence, could ramp up shipments through Haiti and further their penetration of police, the judiciary, parliament — where we estimate perhaps a score of deputies and senators are linked to the drug trade. Gang structures, weakened but not eliminated from Port-au-Prince, Cap Haitien and Gonaives, could flex their muscles again. If gangs resurface, we could see the revival of politically-linked armed groups that during the Aristide era engaged in targeted violence including murder against regime critics. If these factors produced greater general instability, larger numbers of Haitians would likely to take to the boats and attempt to reach the U.S., as they did in the unstable 1990s. An upward trend of the above factors would cause a deterioration of the economic environment and a drop in domestic and foreign investment. MINUSTAH a Good Deal for the U.S. ———————————
13. (C) MINUSTAH's presence produces real regional security dividends for the U.S. Paying one-quarter of MINUSTAH's budget through our DPKO assessment, the U.S. reaps the security and stabilization benefits of a 9,000-person international military and civilian stabilization mission in the hemisphere's most troubled country. The security dividend the U.S. reaps from this hemispheric cooperation not only benefits the immediate Caribbean, but also is developing habits of security cooperation in the hemisphere that will serve our interests for years to come. In the current context of our military commitments elsewhere, the U.S. alone could not replace this mission. This regionally-coordinated Latin American commitment to Haiti would not be possible without the UN umbrella. That same umbrella helps other major donors — led by Canada and followed up by the EU, France, Spain, Japan and others — justify their bilateral assistance domestically. Without a UN-sanctioned peacekeeping and stabilization force, we PORT AU PR 00001381 004 OF 004 would be getting far less help from our hemispheric and European partners in managing Haiti. But We Must Short Up Support —————————-
14. (C) The U.S. will continue to reap these security benefits only if MINUSTAH's mission succeeds and enables Haiti to carry itself as a country. The USG thus has a strong interest that contributing countries continue their commitment until Haiti's stability is self-sustained. The USG should work to shore up support for MINUSTAH in Haiti and in hemispheric troop-contributing countries. We should take emphasize in UN venues and bilaterally to our Latin partners that the Haitian people and their legitimate government support MINUSTAH's presence, and that the UN is here at the express request of the Government of Haiti. We must be sensitive to Latin fears that any Haitian opposition to the UN presence undermines their domestic support for deployments in Haiti. During the April riots, the Brazilian MINUSTAH Force Commander told Ambassador and others that his greatest fear was that his troops would be forced to fire on demonstrators. He understood that this could ignite opposition in Haiti, Brazil, and other contributing countries to his troops' presence in Haiti. The Brazilian Embassy's national day celebration in Port au Prince September 8 was an exercise aimed at the Brazilian domestic audience. Attended by several Brazilian senators, it featured slide paels extolling the humanitarian work of Brazil's army at home and in Haiti, and a pathos-filled speech by the Ambassador about the history and culture Brazil shares with Haiti.
15. (C) The Port au Prince embassies of Latin countries contributing to MINUSTAH look to the strength of the U.S. commitment to the UN presence as a bellwether. Any slippage of U.S. commitment would embolden domestic elements who oppose these countries' participation in in the UN mission here. We sense that the strong U.S. embrace of the UN presence in Haiti helps their case at home for continuing deployments in Haiti. The Embassy uses every opportunity to partner publicly with and support MINUSTAH. The current post-hurricane relief effort, however disordered, is proving an opportunity for U.S., Canadian, and other bilateral donors to partner with MINUSTAH in disaster assistance and reconstruction. We sense that the humanitarian focus of these crisis-response efforts — in contrast to riot-control efforts in April — is helping the case in Latin countries for continuing their peacekeeping contributions in Haiti.
16. (C) The USG in Washington, New York, and in Latin capitals must also do their part to buck up support for MINUSTAH. In UN Security Council discussions of Haiti-related items, U.S. rhetorical appreciation for the UN presence here helps reassure contributor countries that their deployments are justified. Similar expressions of support to Latin representatives in Washington and Latin capitals are also helpful.
17. (C) In the end, what will maintain MINISTAH participants' support for deployments in Haiti is progress toward Haitian stabilization and state viability. Continuing the UN presence at projected levels for three to five years will not guarantee that result, but abruptly downsizing or prematurely withdrawing it will make more likely a result in Haiti we do not want, and would make future hemispheric peacekeeping efforts more difficult to justify. SANDERSON
VZCZCXRO2249 OO RUEHQU DE RUEHPU #0408/01 0601750 ZNY SSSSS ZZH O 011750Z MAR 07 FM AMEMBASSY PORT AU PRINCE TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5478 INFO RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC PRIORITY RUEHZH/HAITI COLLECTIVE RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA 1434 RUEHSA/AMEMBASSY PRETORIA 1257 RUMIAAA/HQ USSOUTHCOM J2 MIAMI FL RUCOWCV/CCGDSEVEN MIAMI FL//OLE/OI//
S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 07 PORT AU PRINCE 000408 SIPDIS SIPDIS STATE FOR WHA/CAR DRL S/CRS SOUTHCOM ALSO FOR POLAD STATE PASS AID FOR LAC/CAR INR/IAA (BEN-YEHUDA) TREASURY FOR JEFFREY LEVINE E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/26/2017 TAGS: PGOV PREL SNAR KCRM HA SUBJECT: RESPONSE TO INR/B REQUIREMENTS ON PRESIDENT PREVAL REF: STATE 5107 Classified By: Classified by Ambassador Janet A. Sanderson for reasons 1.4(b) and (d).
1. (C) Introduction: Reftel asks for a comprehensive assessment of President Preval's decision-making process and leadership style. As noted in reftel, post has reported on many of the specific topics inquired about over the course of Preval's re-election campaign and the first year of his second term. We welcome the opportunity to reiterate key judgments that we believe will become increasingly important as the Preval administration approaches completion of its first year in office. In sum, we believe Preval's commitment to building democratic institutions, promoting political stability, and developing the economy corresponds with our own interests. However, Preval's weaknesses as an executive, his reflexive nationalism, and his disinterest in managing bilateral relations in a broad diplomatic sense, will lead to periodic frictions as we move forward our bilateral agenda. Case in point, we believe that in terms of foreign policy, Preval is most interested in gaining increased assistance from any available resource. He is likely to be tempted to frame his relationship with Venezuela and Chavez-allies in the hemisphere in a way that he hopes will create a competitive atmosphere as far as who can provide the most to Haiti. Additionally, Preval has displayed a tendency to fixate on a particular issue at the exclusion of all others and then to move on to other issues without leaving much to show for his efforts. Since taking office in May 2006, Preval has been the education president, the roads president, and now the anti-narcotics president. All of these issues are worthy of his time and attention, but require a coherent approach to policy implementation in addition to rhetoric. End Introduction.
2. (U) The answers below are keyed to the questions in reftel: Question A ———-
3. (C) How Does Preval make policy decisions? What sources of information does Preval draw from when making decisions and how does he process that information, e.g. is he receptive new information, does he seek advice or rely on his own intuition? Does Preval tend to see policy issues in black and white or in shades of grey?
4. (C) We judge that Preval largely relies on his own intuition and experience in formulating policy. We see that experiences from his first presidential term are nearly always a touchstone on key bilateral issues, even when circumstances have significantly changed or the conclusion he is drawing is not directly applicable to the issue at hand. Preval's recent insistence that the U.S. does not do enough to combat narcotics traffic through Haiti is a clear example of an attitude carried over from his first term. Likewise, Preval's current resistance to making a placating gesture to China after the GoH voiced support for Taiwan at the UN is based in part on Preval's belief that China behaved unreasonably when renewing UN mission mandates during his first term.
5. (C) On balance, we see that issues where Preval has a fixed view, for example relations with China, he is remarkably resistant to policy advice. On other issues, where Preval is not so engaged either because of lack of personal interest or lack of experience, Preval seems readily open to new information and flexible in his approach. This seems most apparent in issues relating to economic policy. Rather than separating Preval's thinking into black and white or shades of gray, we believe it is more useful to bear in mind that Preval often appears not to fully think through the implications or consequences of a particular issue. He neglects to carry out the kind of study or put in place the administrative structure required to turn an idea into workable policy. This was most obvious in his approach to negotiations with gang leaders, his focus throughout the PORT AU PR 00000408 002 OF 007 summer of 2006. Due to a lack of results however, he abandoned the effort. Preval's entire policy seemed to be encapsulated in the formulation, ''disarm or die.'' He never appears to have coherently addressed the issue central to the negotiations — the future of the most violent gang-leaders. Question B ———-
6. (C) Does Preval seek advice from a wide array of sources or only look to certain people, if so, whom and on what issues? Does he trust any of his advisers or ministers to make key decisions in his stead? How does he deal with dissension or criticism from his advisors? What tone does he set when he meets with his advisers – e.g., does he encourage them to work collegially, competitively, or within the formal bureaucratic structure? Has Bob Manuel's influence with Preval diminished, and if so, why? Does Manuel continue to informally oversee the security portfolio? If not, who does, is there another adviser poised to succeed Manuel as Preval's ''right-hand man.''?
7. (C) Preval seems open to a wide array of sources — he reportedly reads and pays attention to the media on a wide variety of subjects and maintains a broad circle of friends — but appears to limit the number of people from whom he actively seeks advice. Some, most notably Robert Manuel, have complained that the number is growing smaller and that his fiancee, Elizabeth Delatour, is the only advisor with whom he has meaningful discussions. Fritz Longchamp, Secretary General of the Presidency, appears to have gained SIPDIS access and influence to Preval regarding the dispute with China. As a former foreign minister, Longchamp may also be advising on broader foreign policy issues. Gabriel Verret remains Preval's closest advisor on economic issues. Lionel Delatour, Elizabeth Delatour's brother-in-law, maintains somewhat regular access due to his family ties and his direct involvement with the effort to promote HOPE legislation, however Delatour himself has complained that Preval often ignores his advice. With a few exceptions, Preval appears not to trust his advisers or ministers to make key decisions, or even to implement key decisions. The most recent account of the council of ministers meetings provided by Gabriel Verret to the Ambassador describes Preval going through the action items of each ministry and demanding status reports.
8. (C) With the Embassy and USG representatives, ministers as a group are deferential and mostly subdued in Preval's presence. There is little air of give-and-take or willingness among ministers to extemporize. In meetings with USG officials Preval has abruptly cut off Prime Minister Alexis on two occasions, disagreeing with his views. On another occasion he cut off Minister of Public Works Frantz Varella, who had offered an observation regarding security, telling him that security was not his responsibility. We hear of very little, if any, substantive criticism or dissension among the cabinet in private. The most visible intra-cabinet dissension, so far, has been between the judiciary and security officials; most recently, a rift between the justice minister and chief prosecutor Claudy Gassant. Preval has pointedly refused to intervene. Many among Haiti's chattering classes attribute this to a strategy on Preval's part to keep members of his government divided and weak. We judge rather that his attitude is more in line with his overall passivity as an executive.
9. (C) Having observed the Preval-Manuel relationship over the past two years since Manuel's return to Haiti to join the Preval campaign, we judge that Manuel's role is most accurately described as Best Friend. Manuel remains Preval's closest confidante, and Preval still uses him as his personal emissary, but the influence of Manuel's own views on any given subject appear limited. For example, against Manuel's advice and own wishes, Preval involved Manuel in his first negotiations with gang leaders in the summer of 2006. With Manuel's displeasure with this policy unabated, Preval simply cut him out of the process. Manuel appears still to be charged with the management of Preval's personal security, PORT AU PR 00000408 003 OF 007 overseeing the Presidential Protection Unit (USPN) in the palace, but Preval himself appears to have taken complete charge of security policy. Manuel, along with the justice minister, is charged with preparing President Preval for the upcoming drug trafficking summit in the Dominican Republic on March 16, but our contacts with Manuel on narcotics issues so far indicate that he does no more than to restate Preval's own views, often with more passion. Manuel confided to the Ambassador that he is frustrated with Preval's unwillingness to listen to him and heed advice and that he wants to leave Haiti, preferably as Ambassador to Mexico, but that Preval has been non-committal about the timing of his appointment. Whatever the state of their relationship on policy issues, Preval clearly values Manuel's friendship and may be reluctant to let him go. Question C ———-
10. (C) What is the nature of Preval's relationship with Director General of the Haitian National Police Mario Andresol, Foreign Minister Jean Reynald Clerisme, Secretary of State for Public Security Luc Eucher Joseph, Secretary General of the Presidency Fritz Longchamp, and economic advisor Gabriel Verret.
11. (C) Preval's relationship with Andresol does not appear to extend beyond their formal association as president and the chief of police. Preval and Andresol had no personal connection to speak of before Preval inherited and then re-appointed Andresol director general of the HNP. For his part, Andresol has, on several occasions, expressed frustration that he has not been able to gain more trust from Preval. Likewise, Preval's relationship with Eucher seems limited to their formal roles: Eucher is not otherwise a close of advisor from whom Preval seeks counsel. Preval and Clerisme have a large number of mutual acquaintances from the rural/populist movements, however they do not have a close personal bond. Preval has reportedly taken personal charge of all important foreign policy issues, leaving Clerisme with little influence. Longchamp is both a trusted advisor and personal friend. With Preval limiting PM Alexis' direction of the cabinet, and not having named a chief of staff, the importance of Longchamp's position has steadily increased. Finally, Gabriel Verret, perhaps even more than either Robert Manuel or Longchamp, is the other advisor in the palace who can claim to be both a trusted confidante and influential policy advisor, as Preval remains open to advice on economic matters. In the same way, Elizabeth Delatour, who is also formally charged with providing economic advice, might be the single most important influence on Preval. Question D ———-
12. (C) What are Alexis and Foreign Minister Clerisme's perceptions of former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide?
13. (C) Based on Alexis' long-standing personal association with Preval from his previous administration through his active role in the most recent presidential campaign, we surmise that Alexis' views on Aristide hew closely to Preval's own (i.e. that Aristide betrayed the Haitian people). If Alexis believes otherwise, he gives no hint of disagreement with Preval. We are less familiar with Clerisme, but note that Clerisme's political engagement began with his involvement as a liberation theology priest working in the rural, peasant movement in Haiti's northeast. Most of this movement's leaders became disillusioned with Aristide during the mid-1990's. Whatever Clerisme's views, as with Alexis, to the extent they do not correspond to Preval's, he keeps them to himself. Question E ———-
14. (C) Is Preval influenced by ideology, and if so, what are the major influences? What motivated him to return to politics? What role do Catholicism, voodoo, and PORT AU PR 00000408 004 OF 007 liberation-theology play in his worldview? What is his full educational history and experience working in private industry?
15. (C) Preval seems profoundly uninfluenced and uninterested in ideology at this stage in his life. Despite his involvement in radical/communist circles as a student in Belgium and his entrance into Haitian politics through a populist movement deeply influenced by liberation theology, Preval's public and private discourse is practically devoid of any notions reflecting that background. In the context of the developing world, we would most accurately describe him as a neo-liberal, particularly in that he has embraced free markets and foreign investment.
16. (C) At the same time, Preval's discourse regarding Haitian politics remains framed in the context of his past. He still refers broadly to ''the people'' and ''the bourgeois'' in referring to Haitian society. His leftist views reportedly caused a deep rift between himself and his family, particularly his father, who although opposed to Duvalier held traditional Haitian upper-class views. This is as close to an insight as we may venture into his motivation to return to politics, which is something of a puzzle. While a canny politician and an effective campaigner Preval evinces little of the ambition or overt drive typical of most politicians. It may be simply that he rightly recognized that he was the only leader in Haiti who legitimately represented the broad-based popular movement that toppled Duvalier and first brought Aristide to power.
17. (C) Like most Haitians, Preval was raised Catholic with an exposure to voodoo practices. He is a non-observant Catholic but maintains a cordial and respectful relationship with Haiti's Catholic hierarchy. He is particularly close to Haiti's Archbishop, who was a life-long friend of his parents. Likewise, he maintains a respectful and cordial relationship with Voodoo leaders. There are unconfirmed reports that Robert Manuel, who is a born-again Christian, influences Preval's religious views and that the two regularly pray together. However, Preval has been jocular and once dismissive of Manuel's praying in conversations with ambassadors.
18. (C) Preval's educational and professional experiences listed in open sources are mostly accurate. He studied agronomy at the University of Louvain in Belgium but did not receive a degree reportedly because he spent too much time participating in political activities. Though he obtained a position with the National Institute for Mineral Resources, apparently as part of Jean-Claude Duvalier's conciliatory gestures to his father's opponents, Embassy sources do not believe he actually worked at his job. He went into the bakery business with several friends in the mid-1970, including Michele Pierre Louis, a renowned patron of Haitian arts, and through her met Aristide. Preval's bakery was successful, but destroyed by associates of the military after the 1991 coup d'etat. Among the many incidents of conflict between the right-wing and Aristide supporters, Preval apparently holds a special grudge against those who destroyed his business. Question F ———-
19. (C) What is Preval's relationship to Geri Benoit? Does his sister, Marie-Claude Calvin, play an influential role in his administration? Does Elizabeth Delatour yield influence over Preval's political decision-making? What is the status of their impending nuptials? One of Preval's daughters lives with him in Port-au-Prince. Where is the other and what does she do?
20. (C) Though Preval and his second wife, Geri Benoit, appeared together at times during the campaign, they have apparently lived entirely separate lives since his inauguration. Mrs. Calvin and Preval are very close. She was among the family members on the payroll at his agricultural foundation in Marmalade, which was funded by PORT AU PR 00000408 005 OF 007 Taiwan. Calvin acts as his scheduler, keeps an office in the palace, and one ambassador reports that Calvin kept him at bay for several days when he had an urgent request to see Preval. Calvin and her husband also accompanied Preval on his second trip to Cuba for medical attention. Mrs. Calvin does not appear to play any role in influencing government policy.
21. (C) It is difficult to assess Elizabeth Delatour's influence on policy. She is extremely private and reserved and does not generally engage foreign officials in substantive conversation. She politely resisted the Ambassador's attempts to establish a more social relationship. Numerous people close to Preval complain that Preval has neglected both his work and limited the input of other advisors in favor of Delatour. During the critical juncture over the dispute with China regarding the renewal of MINUSTAH's mandate, Delatour appeared to play a central role. SRSG Mulet chose Delatour as his contact when he argued that the GoH must provide China some kind of written apology: Preval ultimately grudgingly signed a letter. Delatour called the Ambassador in Washington when she was in the Department for consultations asking for an update on the Chinese delegation's position in New York. Preval's wedding plans remain perhaps the best kept secret in Haiti. We have confirmed from multiple reliable sources that they are formally engaged, but no further reliable news regarding wedding plans has emerged. Factors that might be complicating their plans include Preval's health and living arrangements for Delatour's 11-year old son.
22. (C) Preval's older daughter, Dominique, lives with her mother in Port-au-Prince and runs a stationery store above her mother's book store. She is close to both her parents. Preval's younger daughter, Patricia, is currently in Sri Lanka studying Asian art. Question G ———-
23. (C) How much importance does Preval place on maintaining close bilateral relations with the United States? Are there aspects of the relationship he values more than others? Does he view it as a mutually beneficial relationship? Does he see Haiti as having obligations or responsibilities to the U.S.? How does he view the U.S.' previous involvement in Haiti? What is Preval's relationship with the Haitian Diaspora?
24. (C) Preval recognizes that the U.S. is Haiti's most important bilateral partner and that Haiti's closest societal links internationally are with the U.S. His priority on the bilateral agenda is to leverage and extract the most assistance for Haiti on his own terms and to tap into the wealth and resources of the Haitian-American community in the U.S. As the president of a small, poor nation in the shadow of the American behemoth, he clearly believes that the U.S. has far greater obligations to Haiti than the other way around, if, in fact, Haiti has any obligations at all. Preval numbers a few close friends in the diaspora of whom we know. He established a friendship with Dumarsais Simeus during the presidential campaign, and they stay in contact by email. For the most part, however, Preval does not seem closely connected to or interested in Haitian communities abroad. He has indicated on a number of occasions that he fears that pro-Aristide extremists exert excessive influence in diaspora communities. Question H ———-
25. (C) Are cabinet officials involved in any illicit activities? How does Preval handle corruption within his administration?
26. (C) There has been little indication that cabinet members have been involved in illicit activities so far. At the time of the cabinet's formation, observers noted that the ministers had been mostly free of suspicion over the course PORT AU PR 00000408 006 OF 007 of their careers. Indications regarding Preval's own attitude toward corruption are mixed. During his first term, Preval either tolerated or was forced to accept gross abuses on the part of close associates of Aristide. In either case, Preval has exhibited a non-confrontational approach with passivity toward difficult issues as the hallmark of his political career. Preval maintains a reputation for personal honesty. Question I ———-
27. (C) How has Preval handled domestic criticism thus far? Does he have a public communications or publicity strategy or manager? How does he perform under significant stress? How does he respond to confrontation, either personally or indirectly, e.g. mass unrest?
28. (C) Preval has been remarkably impervious and unresponsive to domestic criticism thus far, which mostly centers on his approach to security and the gang activity during the fall of 2006, when kidnapping and crime spiked upward. There have been no significant incidents of mass unrest since his inauguration on which to judge his reaction. Based on his intense involvement in the daily review of security policy, we surmise that he pays close attention to public opinion, even if remaining uncommunicative himself. He has a palace spokesman in name, Assad Volce but hardly uses him. Nor does he use the minister for communication, who is traditionally the government's chief spokesperson. Regarding his public relations strategy, he has said on several occasions, that he wants to change the tradition of Haiti's presidents being the center of attention who make promises that they are unable to deliver. ''I will talk when I have some accomplishments to talk about.'' Question J ———-
29. (C) What is the status of Preval's Lespwa coalition? Is it a cohesive coalition or is it fractured? Do its members regard Preval as their leader? What is Preval's relationship to Fanmi Lavalas (FL)?
30. (C) Preval has removed himself from involvement in Lespwa and undertakes little visible role in managing relations with the parliament. Lespwa is directionless as a party. Though, in the general, Lespwa's drift does not particularly stand out in the incohesive atmosphere of Haiti's parliament. Senate President Joseph Lambert, has emerged as a leader among Lespwa parliamentarians, but devotes more of his energy to cultivating his image as parliament's chief, rather than simply a party leader. No other Lespwa parliamentarian has demonstrated a capacity to take direction of the party. Lespwa parliamentarians no longer regard Preval as their party leader, but recognizing he remains the country's most popular politician and still associated with Lespwa in the public's mind, they do not generally criticize him in public or in private. Preval has virtually no contact with any of the various FL factions. Question K ———-
31. (C) How long are Preval's workdays? How many breaks does he take during his workday, what does he do during them and how long do they last? Under what circumstances?
32. (C) Preval appears to be keeping an increasingly busy schedule, working longer hours and seeing more visitors. The Ambassador has taken phone calls from him as early as 6:30 am and has had meetings as late as 6:30 pm. Preval told the Ambassador recently that he has for many years taken a full, in-pajamas 2-3 hour nap every afternoon, allowing him to maintain his energy. Question L ———- PORT AU PR 00000408 007 OF 007
33. (S/NF) What family history of alcohol or substance use does Preval have? What alcohol or drugs has he been observed using, how much, and under what circumstances? Any related problems? Has Preval ever been observed to be high or drunk, disoriented, trembling or physically jittery, or had memory lapses? How many drinks can Preval consume before he shows signs of inebriation? Does Preval take any medications?
34. (S/NF) Preval's parents both lived well into their eighties. His father, in particular, reportedly enjoyed robust health. No one in his immediate family has or had a reputation for alcohol abuse. Preval drinks whiskey and smokes in public, including at Embassy functions, but we have not observed him inebriated nor seen him take more than one or two drinks. Rumors abound about his deteriorating physical condition — intense physical pain, high dosages of medication, however; we have no credible first-hand reports to confirm this. In our meetings Preval has always been completely lucid and has never appeared to be in any great pain. Special intelligence indicates that he began taking medication after the most recent round of medical examinations in Cuba that indicated a possibility of the return of prostate cancer. TIGHE