in Stories

Brazilian ambassador said Zimbabwe’s elections were exemplary

Brazil’s ambassador to Zimbabwe Raul de Taunay criticised the Movement for democratic Change for prematurely celebrating their victory after the 2008 elections because only a fraction of the results had been evaluated when they made their announcement.

Taunay said that he did not see any problems in the delay in releasing the results, saying that “according to the electoral calendar, the announcement of results was foreseen as occurring between March 30 and April 1. Therefore, it is within the parameters. Delays are normal. Here it’s not like a Swiss timepiece”.

He described Zimbabwe’s elections as exemplary.

 

Full cable:


Viewing cable 08BRASILIA540, BRAZIL “MONITORS” ZIMBABWE ELECTIONS

If you are new to these pages, please read an introduction on the structure of a cable as well as how to discuss them with others. See also the FAQs

Reference ID

Created

Classification

Origin

08BRASILIA540

2008-04-23 12:03

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Brasilia

VZCZCXRO5603

RR RUEHRG

DE RUEHBR #0540/01 1141203

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

R 231203Z APR 08

FM AMEMBASSY BRASILIA

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 1483

INFO RUEHSB/AMEMBASSY HARARE 0039

RUEHRG/AMCONSUL RECIFE 7942

RUEHRI/AMCONSUL RIO DE JANEIRO 6052

RUEHSO/AMCONSUL SAO PAULO 1923

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 BRASILIA 000540

 

SIPDIS

 

SIPDIS

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/23/2018

TAGS: BR PHUM PREL AF

SUBJECT: BRAZIL “MONITORS” ZIMBABWE ELECTIONS

 

REF: A. BRASILIA 00064

B. BRASILIA 00057

 

Classified By: Deputy Chief of Mission Phillip Chicola for reasons

1.4 b and d

 

Summary

——-

1. (SBU) Summary: Brazil’s surprising decision to

participate in monitoring Zimbabwe’s elections was not what

it initially appeared. Although Brazil was among those

countries invited to serve as an observer, it was the

participation of a federal deputy as an observer on behalf of

an NGO that forced Brazil’s Ministry of External Relations

(MRE) into an observer role. Although the Brazilian deputy

was critical of the process, the Brazilian Ambassador

uncharacteristically made several comments in the media. He

criticized Zimbabwe’s opposition for declaring an early

victory and described Zimbabwe’s elections as “exemplary.”

In the end, MRE says that it never had an official delegation

engaged in election monitoring. But the incident showed that

Brazil’s increasing global engagement will make it more

difficult to maintain a low-profile on controversial issues.

For now, MRE appears determined to follow its usual course on

such controversial matters by making as few waves as possible

and maintaining a friendly relationship with the Zimbabwean

Government. End Summary.

 

Drawn Into the Fray

——————-

2. (SBU) Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe’s administration

offered countries that have never voted against it in

international fora or otherwise criticized it to participate

in “election monitoring.” Among those invited were

Venezuela, China, Iran, and Russia. MRE, which generally

avoids placing itself in situations that might require taking

a controversial stance against another country, had its hand

forced in this case by Brazilian Federal Deputy Antonio

Carlos Pannunzio (PSDB — Brazilian Social Democracy Party,

Sao Paulo State), who agreed to monitor the elections on

behalf of an NGO. This forced Brazilian Ambassador to Harare

Raul de Taunay to observe along with the deputy. Pannunzio

left the elections early, criticizing the process, leaving

Taunay alone to assess the situation, but Taunay

uncharacteristically made several public comments, reported

in the media, in which he criticized Zimbabwe’s opposition

for declaring an early victory and described Zimbabwe’s

elections process as “exemplary.” Taunay heads one of

Brazil’s growing number of single officer posts in Africa,

part of MRE’s South-South diplomatic efforts to gain African

support for its international ambitions.

 

A Difference of Opinion

———————–

3. (SBU) Poloff met with Deputy Pannunzio in his office on

April 2 to discuss his thoughts on the election. Pannunzio

explained that he was not asked to observe the elections at

the behest of the GOB, but received an urgent invitation from

the NGO Lawyers for Human Rights. He said that, from his

perspective on the ground, the elections were well monitored

by a variety of international observers and the election

stations were in order; however, he stressed that he was not

naive enough to think that his brief stint in Harare

constituted real “election observation.” His assessment from

his brief time there is that there is an incredible desire

for change, especially with the infrastructure in chaos and

no respect for human rights. He also noted that the delay

(at the time only a few days) was unacceptable and “worrying”

for him. He said that the results were known by officials

soon after voting closed. Ambassador Taunay provided him all

of his logistical support during his visit, he said, but did

not work with Taunay in the role of observer.

 

4. (C) In discussions with Poloff, MRE was on the defensive

with regard to the Ambassador Taunay’s comments. Taunay said

that he did not see any problems in the early delay of

releasing the results, saying that “according to the

electoral calendar, the announcement of results was foreseen

as occurring between March 30 and April 1. Therefore, it is

within the parameters. Delays are normal. Here it’s not

like a Swiss timepiece.” He also said that the opposition

was premature in celebrating its victory as it did during the

last election; he said that only a fraction of the results

had been evaluated when they made their announcement.

Regarding press reports implying that MRE was willing to

cover up election irregularities to gain support for Brazil’s

goal of obtaining a UN Security Council seat with African

Union support, MRE Africa II Division’s Camila Silva Leao

d’Araujo Olsen stressed that not all countries are in as

advanced stages of democracy as others, by and handed Poloff

 

BRASILIA 00000540 002 OF 002

 

 

an op-ed from an MRE official rejecting the accusation.

There were other observers, including Uruguay and South

Africa (a careful choice of the more credible), and the EU

and US Ambassadors were also accredited to observe at the

time the elections. When Poloff mentioned that the USG was

not invited to send an official observer delegation to the

election process overall, she revealed that the GOB actually

had never taken up the Zimbabwean offer to send a delegation

to monitor elections. She said that MRE passed the

invitation around within the government, but that no one was

willing to act as an observer.

 

Comment

——-

5. (SBU) Comment: Although it appeared Brazil might at last

be taking a more assertive position with regard to democracy

than it traditionally has (ref B), that truth is that the GOB

responded to the offer to act as an observer to Zimbabwe’s

election in a much more typical way. Brazil’s presence in

Zimbabwe is itself part of a broader development. The GOB is

pushing its South-South strategy with a strong focus on

Africa (ref A), largely with an eye to Brazil’s effort to

gain support for high-level positions in international fora,

in particular the UNSC seat. By the end of this year, Brazil

will have doubled its presence in Africa to 34 embassies

since the beginning of President Lula’s first term in 2003.

However, Harare is one of Brazil’s Ambassador-only posts, and

Taunay’s statements, made after serving over a year there,

may be an indication that coordination between such posts and

Brasilia is proving difficult. Moreover, in Brasilia, the

entire African continent is currently covered by just ten

officers, some of whom are in the midst of preparations to go

overseas themselves. As Brazil becomes more recognized as a

global player, it will undoubtedly become more difficult to

keep a low profile and avoid taking a position on challenging

issues. For now, MRE appears determined to follow its usual

course on such controversial matters by making as few waves

as possible and maintaining a friendly relationship with the

Zimbabwean Government. End Comment.

SOBEL

 

(39 VIEWS)

Don't be shellfish... Please SHAREShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInEmail this to someonePrint this page

Write a Comment

Comment