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Cablegate: Another Convergencia Member Questions Ortega,S

VZCZCXRO3778
PP RUEHLMC
DE RUEHMU #1021/01 1131434
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 231434Z APR 07
FM AMEMBASSY MANAGUA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9898
INFO RUEHZA/WHA CENTRAL AMERICAN COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS PRIORITY 1066
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 001021

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

WHA/CEN

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/23/2017
TAGS: PGOV PINR PREL KDEM NU
SUBJECT: ANOTHER CONVERGENCIA MEMBER QUESTIONS ORTEGA,S
INTENTIONS AND COMMITMENT TO CAMPAIGN PROMISES

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

1. (C) Summary: Azucena Ferrey, a former Contra and
longstanding Christian Democrat currently associated with
Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) political ally
Convergencia, tells us that a number of Convergencia members
are disillusioned with the Ortega administration. Ferrey,
who directs the City of Managua's Women's Affairs Office,
also noted that divisions within the FSLN are increasing, and
some Sandinista militants reject President Ortega's hermetic,
autocratic style of governance. Ferrey is one of the eight
beneficiaries of the Inter-American Human Rights Commission's
(IAHCR) recent resolution in favor of the Nicaraguan Human
Rights Center's petition concerning electoral fraud committed
in 1996. She intends to use the IAHCR decision as a platform
to advocate for electoral reform and the depoliticization of
Nicaragua's Supreme Electoral Council. End Summary.

2. (C) On April 17, PolCouns lunched with Azucena Ferrey,
Director of City of Managua's Women's Affairs Office. Ferrey,
who is a former Contra and longstanding Christian Democrat is
now associated with Sandinista National Liberation Front
(FSLN) political ally Convergencia. She was a National
Assembly deputy with Violeta Chamorro's UNO from 1990-1995.
Ferrey was recently interviewed by the media regarding the
IAHRC's recent resolution in favor of the Nicaraguan Human
Rights Center's (CENIDH) petition concerning electoral fraud
committed in 1996. Ferrey and seven other candidates
competing in the 1996 National Assembly elections claimed
that the Supreme Electoral Council's (CSE) manipulation of a
complex formula for vote tally remainders caused them to lose
their seats to other candidates representing the FSLN and the
Liberal Constitutional Party (PLC), the two parties
controlling the CSE.

3. (SBU) Ferrey explained that the CENIDH filed the petition
on behalf of the eight candidates over ten years ago. The
Commission reached a decision in October 2006, but decided to
delay its release until after Nicaragua's November 2006
national elections to avoid politicizing the process. She
reported that the IAHCR decision (Resolution 11,878, dated 16
March 2007) will be included in the body's annual report.
While Ferrey does not expect the decision will enable her to
gain an Assembly seat, she intends to use the resolution as a
launching point to advocate for electoral reform and the
depoliticization of the CSE.

4. (C) Ferrey confirmed her recent comments to the press
that she suspects the FSLN-PLC "pact" controlling the CSE
also finagled some results of the November 2006 Assembly
elections to favor the PLC and FSLN in detriment of
Nicaraguan Liberal Alliance (ALN) and the Sandinista
Renovation Movement (MRS) candidates. The fact that the CSE
has declined to release the final election results feeds this
suspicion, asserted Ferrey. (Note: Ferrey was ninth on the
FSLN-Convergencia slate of Parlacen candidates for the
November 2006 elections and hence did not make the cut. End
Note.)

5. (C) Moving on to the subject of Convergencia and its
views on the Ortega administration thus far, Ferrey commented
that she and a number of other Convergencia members are
quickly becoming disillusioned with Ortega, citing Christian
Democrats Agustin Jarquin and Myriam Arguello, as well as
Contra/Resistance leader Elida Maria Galeano ("La Chaparra")
as examples. First, he has not delivered on his campaign
promises to their movement, and second, they are
uncomfortable with his hermetic, autocratic style of
governance. Third, first lady Rosario Murillo's
co-governance is "out of line" and has aggravated the
divisions within the FSLN to the point that it is hurting the
government's ability to function. Ferrey claimed that some
Sandinista militants, especially those working in
departmental and municipal government and in civil society,
are also upset over Ortega's failure to deliver on his social
campaign promises and apparent overreaching goal to create a
family dynasty.

6. (C) Ferrey considers the public school teachers' and
administrator's recent protests (septel) a trial balloon for
the Ortega government. They are calling on Ortega to deliver
on his campaign commitment to raise their wages and living
standards. If he does not address their demands, his entire

MANAGUA 00001021 002 OF 002


"social project" will come into question, she warned.

7. (C) Responding to PolCouns' remark that Ortega, likely
with the support of PLC leader/convicted money launder
Arnoldo Aleman, will attempt to postpone Nicaragua's November
2008 municipal elections, Ferrey was unequivocal -- Ortega
intends to delay the municipal elections to buy time and gain
more support. The Sandinistas know that if elections were
held today, they would lose Managua, she explained, basing
her assessment on what she hears from her FSLN colleagues.

8. (C) In Ferrey's view, another area of concern is Ortega's
treatment of Cardinal Obando y Bravo, a close friend. Ferrey
mentioned she had met with Obando the previous day and he had
shared his frustration over Ortega's delay in issuing a
presidential decree formalizing his appointment as director
of the new Peace and Reconciliation Council. Reportedly,
Obando had also complained that the Council is penniless and
inoperable. (Comment: Ferrey defended Obando's decision to
support Ortega, asserting that Ortega had "rescued" Obando
from then-President Aleman's personal attacks against him and
claiming that he has "curbed" Ortega's extremist
inclinations.)

Bio
- - -

9. (SBU) Maria Azucena FERREY Echaverry was born in Granada,
Nicaragua on June 2, 1945. She studied business
administration at Nicaragua's National Autonomous University
(UNAN), joined the Social Christian Unity party in the 1950s.
An active opponent of the Somoza regime, Ferrey became
disillusioned with the Sandinista revolution, joined the
Contra movement, and then moved to Miami in 1987 where she
became one of the movement's political leaders in exile. She
was a member of the National Assembly under Violeta
Chamorro's UNO alliance and ran for re-election under a
Christian Democrat alliance in 1995, but lost, allegedly
because of the CSE's manipulation of the vote tally. Before
serving as the city's Director of Women's Affairs, Ferrey was
Managua's External Relations Director. She is a founding
member of a number of women's organizations, including the
Nicaraguan Women's Foundation, and the Nicaraguan Women's
Alliance. Ferrey has one son, Carlos Alfredo Montealegre
Ferrey, born in 1974.
Comment
- - - -

10. (C) Ferrey's views on the Ortega administration track
with what we are hearing from other Convergencia members,
such as Jarquin, Galeano, and Arguello. Whether or not they
act on their discontent is another matter, especially since
some of them appear to be more driven by narrow, personal
interests than broader social or political concerns.
TRIVELLI

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