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Cablegate: Fsln Using Foreign Assistance to Spread

VZCZCXYZ0004
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHMU #0543 0591802
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 281802Z FEB 07
FM AMEMBASSY MANAGUA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9283
INFO RUEHZA/WHA CENTRAL AMERICAN COLLECTIVE
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS 0982
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHINGTON DC
RUEHUB/USINT HAVANA 0027

C O N F I D E N T I A L MANAGUA 000543

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR WHA/CEN AND WHA/PD

E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/26/2017
TAGS: PGOV PREL PINR EAID NU VE CU
SUBJECT: FSLN USING FOREIGN ASSISTANCE TO SPREAD
IDEOLOGICAL MESSAGE IN LIBERAL STRONGHOLDS

REF: A. MANAGUA 0324

B. 06 MANAGUA 1556

Classified By: Ambassador Paul Trivelli for reasons 1.4 (b and d)

1. (C) Summary: Liberal mayor Bronley Alvarez reports that
the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) is using
assistance programs sponsored by Venezuela and Cuba to spread
the message that the USG "does nothing" in Nicaragua and only
the FSLN and its allies can alleviate poverty. Alvarez fears
that this strategy has won the FSLN many new friends in
traditionally Liberal bastions such as Ciudad Dario, his
municipality. He agrees that the best way to check
Sandinista advances is through unity of the Liberal
opposition and has organized a meeting for 26 mayors with the
Nicaraguan Liberal Alliance (ALN) and dissident legislators
of the Liberal Constitutional Party (PLC). End Summary.

2. (C) Poloff met with Ciudad Dario (Matagalpa Department)
mayor Bronley Alvarez on February 26 to discuss the political
activities of the FSLN in outlying departments. Alvarez
commented that the FSLN is using a Cuba-sponsored literacy
campaign and a Venezuela-sponsored lightbulb exchange program
to spread a message in "Liberal territory" that the U.S. has
abandoned Nicaragua and that the rural population can only
count on the FSLN and their allies for help alleviating
hunger and poverty. Now that all of the official government
municipal assistance programs are in the hands of the
Sandinistas, the Liberal mayors "have their backs against the
wall," he said. (Note: Alvarez was a leader of the PLC
mayoral revolt against Arnoldo Aleman prior to the November
elections -- see ref B. The lightbulb exchange program was
"borrowed" from the ALN's election campaign. End Note.)

3. (C) Alvarez added that U.S. assistance is often
"invisible" because the NGO partners take all the credit. He
only learned about considerable U.S. aid to the northern
departments of Matagalpa and Jinotega after attending a
USAID-organized presentation with the Ambassador in Santo
Tomas last year. Alvarez urged the U.S. to better publicize
its programs and activities in the region.

4. (C) Alvarez agreed that the only way to block the FSLN
political juggernaut is to achieve Liberal unity. To this
end, he organized a meeting of 26 mayors opposed to the
leadership of corrupt PLC caudillo Arnoldo Aleman with ALN
leader Eduardo Montealegre and PLC "dissident" National
Assembly deputies (he only identified Enrique Quinonez) to
take place on February 28. Alvarez commented that the PLC
rank and file feel "cheated" by Aleman and the Liberals in
general following the electoral defeat by the FSLN. He said
that the internal PLC elections called by Aleman are a
"farce" used to legitimate his continued domination of the
party.

5. (C) Alvarez noted that Aleman has summoned the PLC mayors
to a meeting at El Chile (his hacienda) on March 1 to "bring
them in line." He commented that Aleman's modus operandi is
to threaten dissidents with persecution through the judges he
controls, but that Liberals' fear of Ortega's totalitarianism
is beginning to outweigh their fear of Aleman. Alvarez
concurred, however, that a significant number of mayors and
deputies will never break ranks with the caudillo because
"they owe their power to Aleman."

6. (C) Comment: We will continue to work with courageous
leaders such as Alvarez to encourage Liberal unification
through a transparent, consultative process free of Aleman's
influence. The ALN and PLC dissidents must capitalize on the
Liberals' disenchantment with the caudillo before Ortega
allows him to consolidate his power (by altering his "medical
parole" status to allow him to travel throughout the country,
for example). Ambassador has made numerous trips throughout
Nicaragua to highlight USG assistance and the benefits of a
friendly relationship; however, we will identify new
opportunities for public outreach.
TRIVELLI

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