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lunch with the General: Brazil’s Minister for Institutional Security tight lipped on Venezuela

November 29, 2010

Among the cables made available by WikiLeaks is one sent on May 6, 2005 by the US Ambassador to Brazil, John J. Danilovich.

The ambassador offered a report of his lunch meeting with Brazil’s Minister for Institutional Security, General Jorge Armando Felix, whose status as “the country’s most senior intelligence official and the rough equivalent of national security advisor to the president” remained despite his having “much less influence than his predecessor from the previous government”. After all, how much influence can you expect from “an amiable, low- key individual [who] does not appear overly ambitious”?

The three subjects under discussion during the lunch, in order, were:

  1. the tri-border region of Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay
  2. Venezuela
  3. US assistance for Brazilian security

Here is the full recap of the Venezuela conversation:

4.(S) Venezuela: Following the CT discussion, the Ambassador raised Venezuela and its president Hugo Chavez and noted that Chavez was disrupting Brazil’s efforts to play a leading role politically and economically in South America. General Felix nodded his head and appeared to be very carefully measuring his response. He then said that he had his own personal opinions about Chavez (which he did not share) that were different from the Brazilian Government’s position. That being said, General Felix said that he preferred keeping in line with the official position (though he did not elaborate on it either). Felix noted that whether one was pro- or anti-Chavez, he had become very much a part of the “Latin American” reality.

A diplomatic response, in the fullest sense of the term.

Here’s the Ambassador’s final assessment:

General Felix has always been a straightforward interlocutor, and his term at GSI has been highlighted by very cooperative, joint CT operations between RMAS and ABIN. All in all, his continued presence at GSI bodes well for U.S. interests.

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