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mercoledì 26 gennaio 2011

Wikileaks : Viewing cable 05THEHAGUE1556, NETHERLANDS/VENEZUELA/ANTILLES: POTENTIAL DUTCH


26 Gennaio 2011


This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 THE HAGUE 001556

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/02/2015
TAGS: PREL PBTS PINS MARR SNAR NL NA VE
SUBJECT: NETHERLANDS/VENEZUELA/ANTILLES: POTENTIAL DUTCH
FALKLANDS?


Classified By: AMBASSADOR CLIFFORD SOBEL, REASONS 1.5(B) AND (D)

1.(C) SUMMARY: The Dutch are increasingly worried that
Venezuelan President Chavez is actively seeking to reduce or
eliminate Dutch influence in the Antilles, including by force
if necessary. While some in the GONL argue that greater
engagement with Chavez' government is necessary to reduce
misunderstandings, others, including FM Bot, openly state
that a Dutch/U.S. military presence in the region is a
necessary deterrent to Venezuelan territorial ambitions.
Post believes the Dutch would appreciate and benefit from
high-level consultations on this issue at an early
opportunity. See guidance request in para 6. END SUMMARY.

¶2. (C) On June 1, Ambassador Sobel (accompanied by Embassy
DEA representative and POLCOUNS) was invited to brief members
of the Dutch MFA's Western Hemisphere Affairs department on
his recent trip to the Netherlands Antilles. Following a
detailed discussion of successful Dutch-U.S.-Antilles
cooperation in combating illegal narcotics trafficking,
Marianne Kappeyne van de Coppello (Director of the Western
Hemisphere Department) raised growing Dutch concerns about
Venezuelan intentions vis-a-vis the Antilles. Noting that
Antilles Prime Minister Ys would be visiting the Netherlands
June 6, she stressed that the Dutch worried that he was
facing mounting pressure both from Venezuela directly and
from members of his own government, including former deputy
PM Cova, who favored a more pro-Venezuelan line. She
expressed concern that a pro-Venezuelan, anti-Dutch/U.S.
government could emerge from the January elections.

¶3. (C) Kappeyne van de Coppello said that Venezuelan
influence over certain groups in the Antilles was being
used to undermine Dutch-Antilles-U.S. cooperation in the
fight against drugs. She noted that the Dutch MFA had called
in the Venezuelan Ambassador recently to protest recent
remarks by Chavez reviving old Venezuelan territorial claims
to the islands. Although the Venezuelan constitution, she
noted, still formally considers the islands (including
Aruba, Curacaou and Bonaire) to be part of Venezuela, until
recently the Dutch have had no reason to worry about
Venezuela's intentions -- but that is now changing. Given
the Netherlands Antilles' dependence on Venezuelan oil, she
added, Chavez has several means at his disposal for
exercising leverage..

¶4. (C) As a first step, Kappeyne van de Coppello said the
Dutch government planned to increase contacts with the
Venezuelan government to reduce possible misunderstandings.
Simultaneously, however, the Dutch would like to begin a
dialogue with the U.S. on how to deal with the issue. Karel
de Vey Mestagh, Kingdom Affairs Advisor for the MFA,
suggested that a lowering of the U.S. profile in the area --
i.e., fewer ship visits, etc. -- could help reduce tensions.
He was immediately contradicted, however, by Lucita
Moenir-Alam, the Dutch Consul General-designate for Miami
(and native Antillean who formerly worked for the Netherlands
Antilles government in Curacao), who argued that the U.S.
profile provided an essential deterrent. In response to a
question from the Ambassador, Kappeyne van de Coppello
stressed that the Dutch response to Venezuelan requests to
reduce the degree of counternarcotics trafficking cooperation
with the U.S. had been a crystal clear no.

5, (C) Later the same day, the issue was raised again in a
meeting between Ambassador Sobel and Foreign Minister Bot.
Bot was emphatic that the Dutch took Chavez' sabre rattling
seriously, and stressed that only the Dutch and U.S. presence
in the region deterred Venezuela from taking the near islands
by force: if we left tomorrow, the next day they would be
part of Venezuela. Even though 92 percent of Antilleans
wished to remain part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, he
said, a small group headed by former PM Cova wishes to sever
this connection. This could lead quickly to the realization
of Venezuelan claims, he added, as Venezuela would never
tolerate an independent Antilles. Comparing Chavez to Simon
Bolivar, Bot argued that he wishes to go down in history as a
liberator and struggler against colonialism, and,
unfortunately, Aruba, Curacao, and Bonaire present the
closest and juiciest opportunity for him to realize this
vision. Bot disdainfully called Spanish PM Zapatero a fool
for thinking that Europe should seek a more productive
relationship with Chavez under these circumstances.

¶6. (C) COMMENT AND GUIDANCE REQUEST: Justified or not, the
Dutch are clearly worried that Venezuela is engaged in a
serious campaign to reduce or eliminate Dutch influence in
the Netherlands Antilles. If successful, such an outcome
would have considerable negative implications for the U.S.,
particularly with regard to our ability to conduct
counternarcotics and other missions in the region. At the
moment, the Dutch are divided on how to deal with Chavez, and
would appreciate the opportunity to discuss this and other
regional issues at an appropriate level. Post believes the
Dutch would be very receptive to an offer to engage in
consultations on this issue in The Hague, Washington, or the
Netherlands Antilles at an early opportunity. Post would
appreciate guidance from WHA and EUR on whether they would
support such consultations at this time and, if so,
recommendations on format, timing, and location. END COMMENT
AND GUIDANCE REQUES

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