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DOCUMENTO Íntegro

Cable en el que la embajada de EE UU en Caracas desacredita a Henry Ramos

La legación redacta un demoledor perfil del secretario general del partido Acción Democrática (AD). Lo descalifica personal y políticamente. Informa a Washington sobre la insistencia de la dirección del partido en pedir fondos y favores al cuerpo diplomático

ID: 60714
Date: 2006-04-17 12:34:00
Origin: 06CARACAS1026
Source: Embassy Caracas
Classification: SECRET
Dunno: 05CARACAS3713
Destination: VZCZCXRO5204
PP RUEHAG
DE RUEHCV #1026/01 1071234
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S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 03 CARACAS 001026

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

HQSOUTHCOM ALSO FOR POLAD
FOR FRC LAMBERT

E.O. 12958: DNG: CO 04/12/2026
TAGS: PGOV, KDEM, VE
SUBJECT: ACCION DEMOCRATICA: A HOPELESS CASE

REF: A. 05 CARACAS 03713

B. 05 CARACAS 01011

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Classified By: ACTING POLITICAL COUNSELOR MARK A. WELLS FOR 1.4 (D)

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Summary
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1. (C) Accion Democratica (AD), Venezuela's largest
opposition party, is going nowhere fast. Its leader,
secretary general Henry Ramos Allup, is unimaginative,

SIPDIS
overconfident, and even repellent. Rather than seeking unity
among the opposition, Ramos Allup insults other party
officials. Rather than formulate a platform, AD officials
plead for help from the international community, whose
representatives Ramos Alup also disrespects. Because AD is
an extremelycentralized party even by Venezuelan standards,
fficials with alternate views rarely have a voice.
Challengers to Ramos Allup wind up marginalized. As a
result, AD's voter base, which consists ofpeople who vote
for the party out of tradition, i quickly dwindling.

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Fecklss Leadership
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2. (S) Acion Democratica's main problem has a name: Henry
Ramos Allup. Accion Democratica (AD) secretary gneral Ramos
Allup is crude, abrasive, arrogant, ad thin-skinned. His
style is not unlike that ofPresident Hugo Chavez. In a
meeting with AndeanAffairs office director Phillip French
February 5, Ramos Allup pounded on the table and called his
opponents names. Reflecting Chavez' idealistic uderstanding
of foreign policy, he ranted about hw the Spanish had
forgotten the generosity of fomer AD administrations after
the Spanish Pablo Ilesias foundation had withdrawn some
scholarship offered AD. His pettiness extends to his
intra-arty rivals--he told the press "no one supports" oe
of his AD challengers--and to U.S. Ambassadors whom he
critiqued during a party meeting attendd by poloff. Asked
how he responded to charges hat traditional political
parties were responsibl for many of Venezuela's problems,
Ramos Allup eumerated improvements the so-called Fourth
Repubic had made on the dictatorships that preceded it.

3. (C) Ramos Allup has become perhaps the mos vocal
advocate of electoral abstention since a prceived snub by
opposition party Primero Justici forced him to cave to
pressure from the AD rankand-file to withdraw from the
December 2005 legilative elections (REF A). He has received
prais from conservative Chavez opponents who have
apprciated his grandstanding--Ramos Allup's greatestskill--against the electoral process. According t March
press reports, Ramos Allup said those whoadvocated
participation in the December 2006 preidential elections
would be voting "with their pats around their ankles." He
has disparaged thos who have declared themselves as
candidates. While his counterparts in Primero Justicia and
Copei have adopted a wait-and-see approach and have urged
quick consensus on a unity candidate, Ramos Allup has already
announced that he expects the new CNE leadership to consist
of Chavez lackeys masquerading as opposition representatives,
according to April 4 press reports.

4. (S) Ramos Allup is as overconfident as he is
unimaginative. He tends to rest on his increasingly obsolete
laurels as the head of the largest opposition party, a title
he claimed repeatedly during the meeting with the AND
director. He boasted to reporters during a March interview,

CARACAS 00001026 002.5 OF 003


"either conditions change here or there will be no
elections." Ramos Allup alleged in March that AD would
certainly win a primary election, but he reasoned that he was
not going to help seek a unity candidate because no other
party would support AD in a race against Chavez. (Embassy
Note: AD does have the most support in terms of numbers of
opposition voters; it polls about 8 percent. Yet, the party
lacks anyone charismatic enough to confront Chavez.) Ramos
Allup opponent Luis Emilio Rondon told us that surveys of
possible candidates did not mention a single name from AD.

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Solve Our Problems For Us
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5. (C) Rather than court Venezuelan voters, Ramos Allup's
principal political strategy has been to seek help from the
international community, a media interview of the AD leader
suggests. Indeed, AD officials have explicitly and
repeatedly sought funds and favors from the Embassy. When
refused by one Embassy official, they ask another. AD first
vice president Victor Bolivar, who solicited funding from
poloff (REF B), organized a meeting in December 2005 with
polcouns to make the same pitch. When polcouns changed the
subject, Bolivar and his fellow AD officials made the same
long, detailed request in English in case poloff did not
understand. Asked whether they were planning to engage the
public on important issues, the officials said they intended
to go to the OAS to complain about Chavez' handling of the
National Assembly election instead. Former AD National
Assembly deputy Pedro Pablo Alcantara calls and visits the
Embassy regularly with requests for visas, scholarships for
friends, etc. He calls different sections of the Embassy if
he does not receive what he requests. One of the few, albeit
brief, successes of AD's strategy to depend on foreigners was
a news segment it helped a Norwegian television station
produce that highlighted Chavez' failures to alleviate
poverty.

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No Support For Alternative Views
--------------------------------

6. (C) In a country where hierarchical parties is the norm,
both AD officials and contacts from other political parties
single out AD for its centralized decisionmaking practices.
Not only is AD extremely vertically organized, it also is
dictatorial. The party prohibited AD official Luis Emilio
Rondon, who struck poloff as having better ideas than most AD
officials during an October 2005 meeting, from running for
secretary general in late 2005. Discussing the lack of free

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internal elections, Rondon rhetorically asked poloff what
made AD different from Chavez' movement. The party also
replaced its international affairs secretary, Rondon's
running mate Alfredo Coronil, with Mauricio Poler, one of
AD's solicitors for Embassy funds.

7. (C) There are a few AD officials willing to challenge
the party's conventional wisdom, but their views rarely
surface in daily party rhetoric. For example, National
Executive Council (CEN) member Alfonso Marquina opposed
withdrawing from the parliamentary elections, Ramos Allup
told us. Former AD president Humberto Celli still favors
participating in the presidential elections, according to
press reports. Movement toward Socialism party officials who
support seeking a unity candidate have also told us they have
met with sympathetic AD officials.

8. (C) Strategic thinkers within AD are even rarer.
Alfonso Marquina, AD's haughty former parliamentary bloc

CARACAS 00001026 003.2 OF 003


leader, told poloff in late 2004 the opposition needed to
shift its rhetoric away from political issues and address the
problems of the majority poor, but his own party has not yet
taken his advice. In contrast with Ramos Allup's policy of
antagonizing many opposition counterparts, the now silenced
Luis Emilio Rondon told us in October 2005 that the most
important task facing his party was to build an opposition
alliance. In April 2006, CEN member Nelson Lara told poloff
he had a plan to work within Chavez' poor voter base,
although he based it on an unwarranted sense of optimism.
Lara claimed that the opposition controlled 85 percent of
Caracas's neighborhood associations. He also said the
opposition needed an action plan in case Chavez unexpectedly
fell from power after a palace coup.

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Comment
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9. (C) As the principal party of the discredited Fourth
Republic, AD boasts card-carrying members who traditionally
vote the AD ticket throughout the country. As such, however,
it carries even more baggage. These voters are becoming the
only ones on which the party can count. Barring a major
reinvention, AD is well on its way to becoming a relic of the
past. Ramos Allup's current threat to halt elections is
delusional on two counts. First, he does not speak for
anyone in the opposition outside AD. Second, while a
credible opposition candidate would certainly make the
presidential election more believable, Chavez does not
technically need the opposition to hold an election. Should
he lack real opponents, Chavez would most likely invent his
own.

BROWNFIELD