Dec 12, 78 • 1750 • Georgetown-State • 4236

[Editor’s note: This text was released at https://wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/1978GEORGE04236_d.html.]

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GEORGE 04236 131136Z
ACTION ARA-15
INFO OCT-01 ISO-00 CIAE-00 INR-10 NSAE-00 /026 W
——————119627 141033Z /13

R 121750Z DEC 78
FM AMEMBASSY GEORGETOWN
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 8429
INFO AMEMBASSY CARACAS
C O N F I D E N T I A L GEORGETOWN 4236

E.O. 12065: GDS 12/12/84 (BURKE, JOHN R.) OR-M
TAGS: CASC, OREP (RYAN, LEO), GY
SUBJ: JONESTOWN AS “TRIP WIRE.”

1. IN CONVERSATION WITH AMBASSADOR DECEMBER 12 VENEZUELAN AMBASSADOR ENRIQUE PEINADO BARRIOS SPECULATED AT SOME LENGTH AS TO WHY THE GOG HAD SITUATED THE JONESTOWN COMMUNITY IN THE EXTREME NORTHWEST PART OF THE COUNTRY. IT APPEARS FROM HIS REMARKS THAT AMBASSADOR PEINADO BARRIOS IS INCLINED TO ACCEPT THE THESIS ADVANCED BY OTHERS THAT THE BURNHAM GOVERNMENT HAD POSITIONED THE JONESTOWN COMMUNITY IN TERRITORY WHICH IS STILL IN DISPUTE BETWEEN THE GOG AND GOV SO THAT ANY OCCUPATION OF THE TERRIORY [TERRITORY] BY THE VENEZUELAN GOVERNMENT WOULD BRING ITS OCCUPATION FORCES DIRECTLY IN CONTACT WITH A COMMUNITY OF AMERICANS. THUS, STILL ACCORDING TO THE HYPOTHESIS, A U.S. INTEREST WOULD BE DIRECTLY INVOLVED IN THE CONFRONTATION BETWEEN VENEZUELA AND GUYANA.

2. COMMENT: THE “TRIP WIRE” HYPOTHESIS TO EXPLAIN THE LOCATION OF JONESTOWN IS NOT A NEW ONE. IT HAS BEEN CURRENT IN GUYANA FOR SOME MONTHS AND ALMOST ALL OF THE FOREIGN CORRESPONDENTS WHO HAVE BEEN COVERING THE JONESTOWN INCIDENT HAVE PICKED IT UP. WHAT IS INTERESTING IN THE AMBASSADOR’S CONVERSATION WITH THE VENEZUELAN AMBASSADOR IS THE FACT THAT

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THE LATTER SEEMS CONVINCED THAT IT WAS THE OVERRIDING CONSIDERATION WITH THE GOG IN ITS DECISION AS TO JUST WHERE THE JONESTOWN COMMUNITY MIGHT BE LOCATED.

BURKE

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Originally posted on March 24th, 2020.

Last modified on December 30th, 2020.
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