Cristina Fernández ingresando al restaurante Boca Juniors de Queens en compañía de su esposo Néstor Kirchner cuando era el presidente de Argentina. Foto Javier Castaño

De acuerdo a documentos revelados por WikiLeaks, ésta nación quiso saber si la presidenta de Argentina está loca, las embajadas ‘gringas’ son centros de vigilancia, Washington quiere aislar al presidente venezolano Hugo Chávez y varios países árabes quieren bombardear a irán.

Los documentos secretos del Departamento de Estado estadunidense también dan cuenta de los esfuerzos para persuadir a distintos países para que acepten albergar detenidos de la prisión de Guantánamo y  sospechosos de terrorismo, un paso clave para poder cerrar la controvertida cárcel.

Además, se difundió que Estados Unidos pidió a sus diplomáticos en 2008 investigar la posible presencia de Al Qaeda y otros “grupos terroristas” islámicos en Paraguay, en la zona de la triple frontera con Argentina y Brasil, según los documentos secretos filtrados este domingo por WikiLeaks.

Hay cables de gran valor histórico, como el que revela la apuesta de la diplomacia norteamericana por el derrocamiento del general panameño Manuel Antonio Noriega o el que detalla ciertos movimientos de Estados Unidos durante el golpe de Estado que destituyó a Manuel Zelaya en Honduras.

Los secretos de la diplomacia internacional fueron revelados este fin de semana por WikiLeaks y ha comenzado la cascada de críticas. El congresista republicano Peter King, de Long Island, dijo que la publicación de estos secretos son un acto terrorita “que pone en peligro la seguridad nacional de los Estados Unidos”.

El ministro de Relaciones Exteriores de Italia, Franco Frattini, dijo que la revelación de estos secretos es como “el 9/11 de la diplomacia mundial”. Un total de 250,000 cables de información que revelan conversaciones secretas de la diplomacia, como algunos países árabes que solicitaron el bombardeo a Irán.

La Secretaria de Estado, Hillary Clinton, está llamando a los diplomaticos del mundo para pedirles calma. La Casa Blanca ha dicho que estos secretos conducirán a la muerte de varias personas que estaban colaborando con los intereses de los Estados Unidos y de otras naciones del mundo.

La Organización de las Naciones Unidos (ONU) se ha mantenido distante de estas revelaciones y no ha querido presentar abiertamente su posición.

Un movimiento a nivel mundial está haciendo un llamado para que el fundador de WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, sea llevado a la corte y procesado como terrorista.

La respuesta de Assange: “Vamos a revelar más documentos en los próximos meses”.

La página digital WikiLeaks distribuyó información secreta del departamento de Estado norteamericano al diario español y al británico The Guardian, el estadounidense The New York Times, el francés Le Monde y la revista alemana Der Spiegel.

El Departamento de estado también pidió un informe sobre la salud mental de la actual presidenta de Argentina, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner.

Conforme a los documentos revelados el fin de semana, las embajadas de Estados Unidos en América Latina funcionan como centros de vigilancia por órdenes del Departamento de Estado, según revelan los documentos secretos difundidos por Wikileaks y publicados por los principales diarios del mundo.

Los documentos muestran los esfuerzos de Washington por aislar diplomáticamente al presidente venezolano Hugo Chávez.

Entre las revelaciones más destacadas:

Arabia Saudita le pide a los Estados Unidos que bombardee Irán para destruir su programa nuclear. La misma solicitud la hicieron secretamente otras naciones como Jordania, los países emiratos y Egipto. Moscu no cree en la amenaza de Irán a nivel mundial y tampoco cree que Corea del Norte llevó de contrabando 19 mega misiles a Irán en el 2005 para luego atacar Europa.

El gobierno de China se metió ilícitamente en Google como parte de un complot de sabotaje.

“El presidente francés Nicolas Sarkozy es un emperador sin ropa”.

“El presidente de Irán Mahmound Ahmadinejad es como Adolfo Hittler”.

“La canciller alemana Angela Merkel evita los riesgos y es poco creative”.

La diplomacia estadounidense también se molestó por la estrecha relación y el intercambio de regalos entre el líder ruso Vladimir Putin y el primer ministro italiano Silvio Berlusconi.

El Gobierno de Estados Unidos advirtió al fundador de WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, que la divulgación de documentos obtenidos de funcionarios sin autorización oficial puede tener “consecuencias graves” .

El asesor legal del Departamento de Estado, Harold Hongju Koh, envió una carta mientras WikiLeaks se preparaba para divulgar lo que ha descrito como unos 250 mil documentos secretos relacionados con la guerra en Irak.

El mes pasado WikiLeaks publicó unos 400 mil documentos estadounidenses, y en julio había divulgado otros 77 mil relacionados con la campaña en Afganistán.

El Departamento de Estado indicó ayer que Assange había escrito al Gobierno de Estados Unidos acerca de las preocupaciones porque esta revelación pública de documentos secretos pueda poner en riesgo a algunas personas.

En su carta de respuesta a Assange, Koh indicó que el Gobierno de Estados Unidos no se involucrará en negociaciones con WikiLeaks acerca de la divulgación o distribución “de documentos secretos obtenidos ilegalmente” .

Si algunos de los materiales que se divulgarán, posiblemente hoy, fueron entregados por funcionarios del Gobierno sin la debida autorización, añadió Koh, “se entregaron en violación de la ley de Estados Unidos y sin consideración por las consecuencias graves de esta acción” .

Koh añadió que el Departamento de Estado ha hablado con representantes de los diarios The New York Times y The Guardian , y la revista Der Spiegel acerca de los documentos que WikiLeaks les ha entregado para la publicación.

Koh describió esa distribución como “una diseminación ilegal de documentos secretos” y añadió que “pondrá en peligro la vida de incontables personas” .

Según WikiLeaks, su próxima divulgación de documentos ofrecerá una lectura de las comunicaciones entre el Departamento de Estado y las 297 embajadas, consulados y misiones en todo el mundo.

_____

WIKILEAKS Y LATIN AMERICA: SAME OLD IMPERIOUS U.S. DIPLOMATS

by Former Senior Research Fellow Nikolas Kozloff

Council on Hemispheric Affairs
(November 30, 2010)

As more and more documents become available from Wikileaks, the public has gotten
a novel and close up view of U.S. diplomats and their operations abroad. I was particularly
interested to review heretofore secret documents dealing with Latin America, a region
which has absorbed the attention of Washington officials in recent years. While
it’s certainly no secret that the Bush administration, not to mention the later
Obama White House, have both sought to isolate the so-called “Pink Tide” of leftist
regimes in South America, the Wikileaks documents give us some interesting insight
into the mindset of U.S. diplomats as they carry out their day to day work.

Needless to say, the picture that emerges isn’t too flattering.

Take, for example, a 2005 cable from the U.S. Embassy in Brasilia which details
a high level conversation which took place between the American ambassador, John
Danilovich, and Brazilian General Jorge Armando Felix. A longtime businessman,
Danilovich spent 20 years in the shipping industry in London and it was there that
the American organized voters for George Bush and his father. A big time GOP donor,
Danilovich proved a loyal lieutenant at his post in Brasilia, specifically by opposing
the left turn in South America.

In 2005, Hugo Chávez was at the height of his political powers, challenging the
unpopular Bush regime throughout the region. Over in Bolivia meanwhile, Washington
fretted that an erstwhile coca farmer, Evo Morales, might win his country’s presidential
election. For Washington, Brazil had become a country of vital geopolitical importance:
if President Lula could be persuaded to drop his support of neighboring Venezuela,
then the U.S. would certainly be more successful at halting the region’s leftist
advance. In the effort to turn back the Pink Tide, Danilovich was a key figure.

Speaking with the Brazilian daily O Estado de São Paulo, the diplomat accused Chávez
of actually funding political forces within Bolivia. Seeking to foster a common
U.S.-Brazilian front, Danilovich said the funding was a concern for Washington and
ought to preoccupy officials in Brasilia as well. When reporters asked Danilovich
whether he was accusing Chávez of directly funding Morales’ campaign, the diplomat
would not specify [Morales himself denied the U.S. allegations].

Behind closed doors, Danilovich continued his diplomatic offensive. After lunching
with General Felix, the ambassador broached the subject of Venezuela, noting that
Chávez was “disrupting Brazil’s efforts to play a leading role politically and economically
in South America.” It’s unclear from the cable what Felix might have thought about
the ambassador’s comments, though reading between the lines it seems the military
man may have been sympathetic toward the U.S. and disagreed with his own government’s
official policy toward Venezuela.

Since we don’t have the full text of Danilovich’s cable, it’s unclear whether the
diplomat approached other figures in the Lula government about Venezuela, let alone
military officials. To be sure, at the time of this meeting Felix was working as
Lula’s own Minister of Internal Security and as such no longer occupied an official
post within the ranks. Yet, there are some disturbing parallels to the historic
past here. Consider that it was not too long ago that Washington collaborated with
the anti-Communist Brazilian military which overthrew democracy in a coup. Later,
the armed forces hunted down leftists both within the country and abroad through
so-called “Operation Condor.”

From Brazil to Argentina

Elsewhere in South America, the U.S. has faced political opposition from some unlikely
quarters. Take for example Argentina, up until recently a fairly reliable U.S. ally
which followed the Washington economic consensus. With the coming to power of Néstor
Kirchner and his wife Cristina Fernández de Kirchner however, U.S.-Argentine relations
have taken a nosedive. A fierce critic of the International Monetary Fund, Néstor
also pursued an unprecedented diplomatic alliance with leftist Venezuela.

Wikileaks cables document the deteriorating relationship between Washington and
Buenos Aires and show U.S. diplomats as imperious and scheming. Take for example
a diplomatic spat between Obama’s Assistant Secretary of State for Hemispheric
Affairs Arturo Valenzuela and Argentine officials, an incident that I wrote about
at the time. An American of Chilean descent and a Chavez critic, Valenzuela made
his way to Buenos Aires late last year. Causing a diplomatic firestorm, Valenzuela
declared before the local media that Argentina lacked adequate legal protections.
When the government protested that such was not the case, Valenzuela clarified that
he had personally spoken with representatives of American companies through the
U.S. Chamber of Commerce who were upset about management of the economy. They were
reluctant to invest due to lack of legal protections, Valenzuela added.

As if he had not annoyed the government enough already, Valenzuela then declared
that he personally had detected a change in the investment climate between 1996
[the height of Argentina’s flirtation with neo-liberal economics] when “there was
a lot of enthusiasm to invest,” and the present day. In a communiqué, the Argentine
foreign ministry angrily retorted that the government “had not received complaints
from U.S. companies which had interests and investments” in the country.

The irate chorus continued with Interior Minister Florencio Randazzo regretting
that some U.S. officials had gone back to “the old practices” even though “there
was an expectation in Argentina of the inauguration of a new U.S. foreign policy”
during the Obama era. The Minister of Justice added that Valenzuela’s remarks were
“very unusual and unjustified.” By far however the most incendiary remarks came
from former president Néstor Kirchner who accused Valenzuela of behaving like a
“viceroy.”

Far from feeling contrite toward Argentina, U.S. diplomats treated the Valenzuela
episode rather flippantly and superciliously. In a cable sent to Washington, recently
released through Wikileaks4 , American officials in Buenos Aires wrote that the
local press had “sensationalized” and over dramatized the incident. “Once again,”
diplomats remarked, “the Kirchner government has shown itself to be extremely thin-skinned
and intolerant of perceived criticism.” Downplaying the tenor of Valenzuela’s remarks,
the authors added that many Argentines routinely complain about the weakness of
governing institutions and the rule of law.

It’s difficult to parse what Washington’s policy might be toward Argentina in the
Obama era. Judging from another cable released by Wikileaks5 , U.S. officials are
still trying to sort it all out and seek to acquire as much information about the
Kirchners as possible. Prior to Néstor’s recent death, Secretary of State Clinton
personally wrote to the American Embassy in Buenos Aires, remarking that the U.S.
was drawing up “a written product examining the interpersonal dynamics between the
governing tandem.”

Clinton added that State had a pretty “solid understanding” of Néstor’s style and
personality, but Cristina remained a mystery. Specifically, Clinton wanted to know
how Cristina managed “her nerves and anxiety.” Somewhat bizarrely, Clinton then
asked her subordinates whether Cristina was taking any medications. Again and again,
the Secretary of State pressed for details about Cristina’s psychological and emotional
profile.

Though certainly intriguing, the Wikileaks cable fails to answer a vital question:
why would Clinton seek a psychological evaluation of Cristina in the first place?
Perhaps, the United States government simply lacked information about the Argentine
president and wanted to know who it was dealing with in South America. Another darker
reading however is that the U.S. does not trust Argentina and is seeking to manipulate
Cristina or uncover some dirt. A Machiavellian if there ever was one, Clinton is
surely capable of playing political hardball and engaging in diplomatic intrigue.

For far too long, the U.S. public has remained ignorant of its government’s overseas
efforts to turn back Latin America’s leftist Pink Tide. Though scant thus far, Wikileaks’
release of documents pertaining to Latin America is telling. From Brazil to Argentina,
American officials have emerged as an imperious and cynical lot. Hopefully in the
days ahead we may learn more about the Bush and Obama administration’s handling
not only of Brazil and Argentina but also Venezuela, Bolivia, and Honduras.

Nikolas Kozloff, Ph.D. is a former COHA Senior Research Fellow and is the author
of Revolution! South America and the Rise of the New Left.