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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
07MANAGUA1028
2007-04-23 20:11:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Managua
Cable title:  

IN SEARCH OF OPPOSITION UNITY

Tags:   PGOV  PINR  PREL  KDEM  NU 
pdf how-to read a cable
VZCZCXRO4144
PP RUEHLMC
DE RUEHMU #1028/01 1132011
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 232011Z APR 07
FM AMEMBASSY MANAGUA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9908
INFO RUEHZA/WHA CENTRAL AMERICAN COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS PRIORITY 1068
RUMIAAA/CDR USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL PRIORITY
RUEHLMC/MILLENNIUM CHALLENGE CORP WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
						C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MANAGUA 001028 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

WHA/CEN, DRL

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/23/2017
TAGS: PGOV PINR PREL KDEM NU
SUBJECT: IN SEARCH OF OPPOSITION UNITY


Classified By: Ambassador Paul A. Trivelli. Reasons 1.4 (B,D).



1. (C) Summary: A group of democratic-minded Nicaraguans are
attempting to create a political opposition force to counter
President Ortega's apparent determination to turn Nicaragua
into an autocratic regime along the lines of Chavez's
Venezuela. The group proposes to establish a new national
democratic party that would encompass most opposition parties
and form alliances with others. The party would focus on
setting a common legislative agenda; prepare for the 2008
municipal elections; and, block Ortega's efforts to postpone
these elections and reform the constitution to permit
consecutive presidential reelection. The group has met with
all parties associated with the Nicaraguan Liberal Alliance
(ALN), including ALN president Eduardo Montealegre, who
appears supportive of the initiative. MRS presidential
candidate Edmundo Jarquin has reportedly shown interest in
the project, but under the condition that Arnoldo Aleman is
not involved. The group will also approach individuals
affiliated with the Liberal Constitutional Party (PLC) to
join the new party, but not Aleman. End Summary.



2. (C) Ambassador, DCM, and PolCouns met on April 18 with a
group of democratic-minded Nicaraguans who are attempting to
create a solid and coherent political opposition force to
counter President Ortega's apparent determination to turn
Nicaragua into an authoritarian regime along the lines of
Chavez's Venezuela. Representing this new initiative were
Jose Adan Guerra, former Defense Minister; Alfredo Cesar, a
National Assembly lawmaker/and Assembly president during the
Chamorro government and founder of the National Democratic
Party (PND); Mauricio Diaz, Ambassador/former Director of
Foreign Ministry's Multilateral Affairs Office and a founding
member of the Popular Social Christian Party; and, Mauricio
Mendieta, plastic surgeon, entrepreneur, and a founder of the
Nicaraguan Democratic Movement (MDN).



3. (C) Group members shared their plans to create a new
national democratic party that would encompass most
opposition parties and form alliances with others, including
the Sandinista Renovation Movement (MRS). Eduardo
Montealegre's ALN with its allies from the Conservative Party
(PC), The National Resistance Party (PRN), Social Christian
Party (PSC), Alliance for the Republic (APRE), Independent
Liberal Party (PLI) would form the base of the party. The
MRS would also be invited to join the new party, or to enter
into an alliance with it, they explained. While at the start
of the meeting, the group proposed to invite the PLC to join,
by the end of the evening, they agreed with the Ambassador
that this approach is untenable given Aleman's control over

that party and his pact with Ortega. Instead, the group will
encourage individuals associated with the PLC to participate.



4. (C) Guerra explained that the new party will focus on
setting a common legislative agenda; preparing for the 2008
municipal elections; and blocking Ortega's efforts to
postpone these elections and legislate consecutive
presidential reelection. He mentioned that the group had met
separately with all parties associated with the ALN and would
meet on April 19 with ALN president Eduardo Montealegre
together with leaders of the ALN allied parties. Then, they
would approach MRS former presidential candidate Edmundo
Jarquin. The party's basic tenets include internal democracy
(conventions and primaries); the defense of basic freedoms
including free enterprise; and the protection and promotion
of democratic institutions. Guerra calculated that the party
could start with an internal voter list of some 300,000 -
approximately 10% of registered voters.



5. (C) Next, Mendieta sketched the group's "battle" plan and
timeline:

--Form a "Unity for Nicaragua Committee" (CUN) (May-June
2007);

--Release a CUN working document and "manifesto" (June 2007);

--Conduct focus groups and polls, assess results, and find a
suitable name for the new party (July-August 2007);

--Conduct primaries to select 1,500 conventioneers (each
representing 2,000 party members) and municipal authorities
(September-October 2007);


MANAGUA 00001028 002 OF 002


--Hold a national convention, name the party, review and
approve its statutes, and establish qualifications for
national, departmental, and municipal leaders (November);

--Target candidates for the November 2008 elections
(January-February 2008); and,

--Hold primaries for municipal candidates, inviting civil
society and private sector leaders to participate as well as
local politicians (March 2008).



6. (C) Cesar recognized that Nicaragua's history is replete
with these types of initiatives. He noted that Violeta
Chamorro's UNO was one that went further than most, but not
far enough, attributing its inability to prosper to political
inexperience and lack of a strategy. Since then, many
Nicaraguans have matured, reject the old caudillo parties,
and desire a truly modern, democratic party, he argued.
(Note: The group's printed materials propose the creation of
a modern party committed to genuine internal democracy, based
on fundamentals that transcend personal, sectarian, and
electoral interests, and governed by ethical principles and
clear and fair rules. All members will enjoy the same
opportunities, responsibilities and rights.)

Comment
- - - -



7. (C) On April 20, Mendieta e-mailed a copy of the
presentation the group presented to Montealegre on April 19
and informed PolCouns over the phone that Montealegre had
been very receptive to the initiative. According to
Mendieta, Montealegre was open to inviting the PLC's former
presidential and vice-presidential candidates, Jose Rizo and
Jose Antonio Alvarado, respectively, to join the effort.
Mendieta recounted that in his follow on conversation with
Rizo, the former presidential candidate welcomed the new
political project. And, in his phone conversation with
Jarquin, the MRS leader was "enthused and fascinated" by the
idea -- under the condition, however that Aleman would not be
invited to participate, said Mendieta. This initiative is
the latest in a growing stream of efforts to create a viable
opposition. The project looks good on paper and merits
attention. To the degree it gains momentum and buy-in from
Nicaragua's diverse and splintered opposition, including
civil society, it may have a fighting chance to succeed.
TRIVELLI