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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
03ZAGREB862
2003-04-18 08:42:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Zagreb
Cable title:  

DONJI LAPAC STRUGGLES AHEAD

Tags:   PGOV  PHUM  PREF  HR 
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This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
						C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 ZAGREB 000862 

SIPDIS

USAID/E&E FOR ACONVERY
DEPT FOR EUR/SCE-MNARDI AND INR-RNASH

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/14/2013
TAGS: PGOV PHUM PREF PHUM PREF HR HRPGOV
SUBJECT: DONJI LAPAC STRUGGLES AHEAD


CLASSIFIED BY: POLOFF MITCH BENEDICT FOR REASONS 1.5 (A) AND (B)

SUMMARY
-------

CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 02 ZAGREB 00862 01 OF 02 180844Z


1. (SBU) REFUGEE RETURNS, RECONSTRUCTION, AND ETHNIC
RELATIONS DOMINATED A RECENT VISIT TO DONJI LAPAC, A
MUNICIPALITY OF 3,400 NEAR CROATIA'S WESTERN BORDER WITH
BOSNIA. SEVERELY AFFECTED BY THE WAR, BOTH IN TERMS OF
DISPLACEMENT OF THE POPULATION AND DESTRUCTION OF
INFRASTRUCTURE, THE MUNICIPALITY IS BEGINNING TO SHOW SOME
SIGNS OF RENEWAL. THE CHALLENGE WILL BE FOR THE COMMUNITY TO
MAINTAIN REALISTIC EXPECTATIONS WHILE AT THE SAME TIME
EXPANDING AVENUES FOR CONSTRUCTIVE PARTICIPATION IN LOCAL
GOVERNMENT DECISION-MAKING.

SEVERELY AFFECTED BY THE WAR


--------------------------





2. (SBU) DONJI LAPAC SUFFERED MIGHTILY IN 1995, THOUGH NOT
APPARENTLY IN THE FIGHTING TO RETAKE THE TOWN. IT WAS IN THE
DAYS IMMEDIATELY FOLLOWING THE REASSERTION OF CROATIAN
CONTROL THAT MANY OF THE SERB-OWNED HOUSES WERE DAMAGED OR
DESTROYED. NEARLY EIGHT YEARS LATER SIGNS OF THE WAR REMAIN
LARGELY UNCHANGED -- OF 614 DAMAGED OR DESTROYED HOUSES ONLY
54 HAVE BEEN REBUILT. MANY HOMES STILL BEAR ON THEIR WALLS A
HAND PAINTED SIGN OF THE TIME -- "DON'T BURN, RIJEKA POLICE"
-- INFORMING CROATS OF THE VARIOUS POLICE UNITS THAT WERE
EITHER OCCUPYING OR USING THE HOUSES. THE CENTER OF THE TOWN
CONSISTS MOSTLY OF BOMBED OUT OR DESTROYED BUILDINGS. THERE
ARE NO STORES OR RESTAURANTS, AND THE ONE FORMER HOTEL IS
BOARDED UP.



3. (SBU) THE TOWN OF DONJI LAPAC DID NOT HAVE A CHURCH OF ANY
CREED PRIOR TO THE WAR. THE MUNICIPALITY HAD A TOTAL
POPULATION OF 4,600 IN THE 1991 CENSUS, 4,460 OF WHOM WERE
CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 03 ZAGREB 00862 01 OF 02 180844Z
SERBS. CROATS MADE UP LESS THAN ONE PERCENT OF THE
POPULATION. ALMOST ALL THE SERBS FLED THE REGION IN AUGUST
1995 DURING OPERATION STORM. THE GOC THEN INVITED BOSNIAN
CROATS AND CROATS FROM OTHER PARTS OF CROATIA (SO-CALLED
"SETTLERS") TO INHABIT THE AREA. EVENTUALLY 178 BOSNIAN
CROATS AND 254 CROAT SETTLERS ACCEPTED THE GOVERNMENT'S OFFER
AND TOOK UP RESIDENCY. HOUSES AND APARTMENTS VACATED BY
SERBS WERE OCCUPIED, AND MANY OF THESE WERE OCCUPIED
ILLEGALLY -- THAT IS, WITHOUT OFFICIAL DECISIONS GRANTING
TEMPORARY OCCUPANCY. TODAY APPROXIMATELY 2,800 SERBS AND 450
CROATS RESIDE IN THE MUNICIPALITY.



4. (C) ACCORDING TO MILAN DJUKIC, THE MAYOR, 45 PRIVATELY
OWNED HOMES STILL HAVE "TEMPORARY OCCUPANTS," AND NO HOMES
HAVE BEEN RETURNED TO THEIR RIGHTFUL OWNERS. HE SAID OF
THESE, APPROXIMATELY 35 ARE OCCUPIED BY BOSNIAN CROATS WHO
OWN HOMES IN BOSNIA, YET REMAIN IN CROATIA BECAUSE THEY
EITHER CANNOT OR WILL NOT RETURN TO BOSNIA. THE MAYOR
STRESSED THAT RESTITUTION OF PROPERTY TO SERBS CANNOT BE
DEALT WITH UNTIL THE SITUATION OF BOSNIAN CROATS IS RESOLVED.

HOWEVER, DJUKIC THEN SAID "TO PREVENT SERBS FROM RETURNING"
IS THE POLICY OF THE GOVERNMENT. HE FURTHER ACCUSED THE
GOVERNMENT WITH "CONTINUING A POLICY OF ETHNIC CLEANSING OF
THE POPULATION." DJUKIC WAS NOT ABLE TO SQUARE HIS
INFLAMMATORY ACCUSATIONS AGAINST THE GOVERNMENT WITH HIS
CLAIM THAT THE SERB POPULATION OF DONJI LAPAC CONTINUES TO
INCREASE, AND WILL AGAIN LIKELY REACH NEARLY 100 PERCENT.

THE MUNICIPALITY


--------------------------



CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 04 ZAGREB 00862 01 OF 02 180844Z


5. (SBU) DONJI LAPAC MUNICIPALITY IS IN LIKA, CLOSE TO THE
BOSNIAN BORDER, OVER THREE HOURS SOUTH OF ZAGREB BY CAR.
VERY POOR ROADS EFFECTIVELY ISOLATE THE REGION, WHICH IN
WINTER MONTHS CAN BE COMPLETELY CUT OFF FROM THE REST OF
CROATIA. THE REGION WAS ORIENTED TRADITIONALLY TOWARD BIHAC
IN BOSNIA, WHICH IS LESS THAN 20 MILES TO THE NORTH. LIKE
OTHER TOWNS AND MUNICIPALITIES IN THE WAR-AFFECTED AREAS,
UNEMPLOYMENT IS A MAJOR PROBLEM. OUTSIDE SMALL-SCALE FAMILY
RUN AGRICULTURE, THERE ARE ALMOST NO JOBS OTHER THAN
GOVERNMENT JOBS. HOWEVER, THOSE JOBS ARE RARELY OPEN TO
SERBS OR RETURNEES. THERE IS NOT A SINGLE SERB ON THE POLICE
FORCE OF 60 OFFICERS. ONLY TWO OF THE 30 EMPLOYEES OF LOCAL
GOVERNMENT ADMINISTRATION ARE SERBS. DJUKIC TOLD US THERE
ARE NO SERB TEACHERS IN THE SCHOOL, ALTHOUGH LATER WE WERE
TOLD THAT TWO PART-TIME TEACHERS COME CONDUCT SERBIAN
LANGUAGE CLASSES.



6. (C) ALL NGOS AGREED THAT PEOPLE FEEL DISAPPOINTED WITH THE
MUNICIPAL GOVERNMENT. THERE ARE NO MEANINGFUL AVENUES FOR
PUBLIC PARTICIPATION IN THE GOVERNANCE OF THE MUNICIPALITY,
AND VERY LITTLE HAPPENS WITHOUT THE MAYOR'S EXPRESSED
APPROVAL OR PARTICIPATION. A YOUNG WOMAN WITH A SOCIAL
SERVICE NGO SAID THE CURRENT GOVERNANCE STRUCTURE REMINDED
HER OF HOW IT WAS UNDER SOCIALISM. THERE IS NO TRANSPARENCY.
"THINGS ARE BOUGHT AND SOLD, OR SOMETHING IS RECONSTRUCTED,

CONFIDENTIAL

CONFIDENTIAL PTQ1018

PAGE 01 ZAGREB 00862 02 OF 02 180845Z
ACTION EUR-00

INFO LOG-00 NP-00 AID-00 AMAD-00 CIAE-00 INL-00 DODE-00
SRPP-00 DS-00 EB-00 OIGO-00 FBIE-00 VC-00 TEDE-00
INR-00 IO-00 L-00 VCE-00 AC-01 NSAE-00 NSCE-00
OIC-02 OMB-01 OPIC-01 PA-00 PM-00 PRS-00 ACE-00
P-00 SCT-00 SP-00 IRM-00 STR-00 TRSE-00 USIE-00
ECA-00 PMB-00 DSCC-00 PRM-00 DRL-01 G-00 NFAT-00
SAS-00 SWCI-00 /006W


--------------------------

57D095 180845Z /38
R 180842Z APR 03
FM AMEMBASSY ZAGREB
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 9983
INFO EASTERN EUROPEAN COUNTRIES COLLECTIVE

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 02 OF 02 ZAGREB 000862

SIPDIS

USAID/E&E FOR ACONVERY
DEPT FOR EUR/SCE-MNARDI AND INR-RNASH

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/14/2013
TAGS: PGOV PHUM PREF PHUM PREF HR HRPGOV
SUBJECT: DONJI LAPAC STRUGGLES AHEAD

AND NO ONE KNOWS HOW, OR WHY, OR WHERE THE MONEY COMES FROM."
ACCORDING TO THE NGOS WE SPOKE WITH, THERE IS NO KNOWLEDGE
OF THE MUNICIPAL BUDGET, OR HOW DECISIONS ARE BEING MADE.
THERE HAVE BEEN NO SPORT, CULTURAL OR OTHER PUBLIC EVENTS
UNDER THE MAYOR. THE PROGRAM FOR THE ANNUAL "MUNICIPAL DAY"
CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 02 ZAGREB 00862 02 OF 02 180845Z
WAS ANNOUNCED SUDDENLY WHEN NGOS RECEIVED INVITATIONS TO
ATTEND. AS FAR AS THEY KNEW THERE WERE NO MEETINGS OR OPEN
DISCUSSIONS HELD IN ADVANCE TO DEVELOP THE PROGRAM. ONE NGO
TOLD US THAT THEY WAITED NEARLY A YEAR TO GET A MEETING WITH
THE MAYOR, WHOSE OFFICE IS A STONE'S THROW AWAY.

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENTS


--------------------------





7. (SBU) SOME RAYS OF HOPE EXIST ON THE ECONOMIC FRONT.
AGRICULTURE WAS THE MAINSTAY OF THE REGION, AND EFFORTS ARE
UNDERWAY TO REVITALIZE THIS SECTOR. MOST FARMERS RAISED
LIVESTOCK -- CATTLE, SHEEP, AND HORSES -- AND SOME
SMALL-SCALE DAIRY ACTIVITY HAS RESTARTED. PLANS ARE AT THE
FEASIBILITY STAGE FOR A LARGE-SCALE POULTRY-PROCESSING PLAN,
WHICH WOULD RELY ON LOCAL FARMERS FOR SUPPLY OF CHICKENS.
HOWEVER, ACCESS TO FINANCING REMAINS A HUGE OBSTACLE. DUE TO
DESTRUCTION OR LOSS OF LAND RECORDS IN THE WAR, FEW FARMERS
ARE ABLE TO PROVE OWNERSHIP OF LAND, THE ONLY REAL COLLATERAL
THEY HAVE TO NEGOTIATE FOR A LOAN. ZAMIR.NET, A USAID FUNDED
NGO PROVIDING INTERNET ACCESS AND TRAINING, ARE WORKING MORE
AND MORE WITH YOUNG PEOPLE ON JOB SEARCH SKILLS AND
TECHNIQUES, AND THEY ARE TEACHING LOCAL BUSINESSMEN WEB
MARKETING SKILLS. ACCORDING TO ZAMIR.NET, EXPECTATIONS ARE
HIGH, AND YOUNG PEOPLE IN PARTICULAR WANT TO ACQUIRE COMPUTER
SKILLS SO THAT THEY CAN COMPETE FOR NEW JOBS.

COMMENT


--------------------------





8. (C) IN PART DUE TO CONCERNS ABOUT THE MAYOR'S OPENNESS TO
CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 03 ZAGREB 00862 02 OF 02 180845Z
INVOLVING REPRESENTATIVES OF ALL CITIZENS IN THE GOVERNANCE
OF THE COMMUNITY, USAID HAS ALLOWED ITS PARTNERSHIP AGREEMENT
WITH THE MUNICIPALITY TO LAPSE. DONJI LAPAC FACES THE SAME
PROBLEMS CONFRONTING MANY OTHER WAR-AFFECTED AREAS --
ISOLATION, DEPOPULATION, SEVERE UNEMPLOYMENT, LACK OF
HOUSING, AND OBSOLETE, DAMAGED OR DESTROYED INFRASTRUCTURE --
PROBLEMS THAT ARE BEYOND THE CAPABILITY OF ONE MAN TO SOLVE,
AND WOULD BENEFIT FROM THE CONSTRUCTIVE ENGAGEMENT OF THE
BROADER COMMUNITY. "WEB MARKETING FOR BUSINESSMEN" MAY NOT
BE THE ANSWER AT THIS POINT IN TIME, BUT WHILE IT MAY SEEM
FANCIFUL, IT DOES INDICATE AT LEAST SOME PEOPLE ARE HOPEFUL
ABOUT THE FUTURE. THE CHALLENGE IN THE NEAR TERM WILL BE TO
MEET AT LEAST MINIMALLY SOME OF THE EXPECTATIONS OF THE
COMMUNITY IN TERMS OF JOBS AND OPPORTUNITIES.
ROSSIN

CONFIDENTIAL

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