Friday, May 20, 2016

99 Brasilia 02437: Castro Charms His Way Through Brazil

Note:  All Embassy cables go out under the name of the Ambassador or Charge.  The person listed as classifier was probably the drafter.  The key word in the last paragraph is "ponder" not "poder," which is the Portuguese word for "power" or the verb "to be able" thus perhaps the slip of mind.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Brazil Cables Begin: 99 Brasilia 02431

I worked at the NSC 1998-99 and covered, among others, Brazil.  The President's nominee for Ambassador to Brazil -- Brian Atwood -- picked me to be his deputy (DCM).  In the event, Mr. Atwood was prevented from serving because of opposition from Senator Jesse Helms.  When I arrived at post in July 1999, and until leaving in January 2000, I served as chargĂ© d'affaires.  Over the next several months, I will be posting cables from Embassy Brasilia during that period as released through a FOIA request.  I begin with the earliest.

Monday, May 9, 2016

A Belizean Interlude: Perhaps How Not to Say Goodbye

Served as DCM in Belize City 1994-96.  The Ambassador was a political appointee from New Hampshire.  The US had various international crime issues with the Belizean government and as my tour was drawing to a close, we thought I might be used to deliver a tough message through an interview with a local newspaper (the Reporter).  The government was not pleased and suggested it would have PNG'd me but I was already leaving.  (Clever American diplomacy in action.)  The pro-government People's Pulse then responded.  On the day I left, while at the airport with my son waiting for the plane, Belizean police approached me and suggested that they could, if they wished, plant drugs on me and use that to arrest me.  What fun.  Here follows the relevant press pieces. 

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Sudan: Final Words

The break-up of Sudan, aided and abetted by the United States, can be seen as another example of ill-conceived outside interference in an internal conflict in the name of democracy and human rights. The record for holding together the multi-ethnic states left behind by Western colonialism and former empires, without autocratic and often brutal centralized rule, is slim. This is a hard truth. And once such states are broken, they do not heal themselves. 

The full piece on my final thoughts on the string of Sudan entries may be found on TransConflict: