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Cablegate: Nicaragua: No Property Resolutions in First

VZCZCXYZ0024
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHMU #1029/01 1132106
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 232106Z APR 07
FM AMEMBASSY MANAGUA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 9910
INFO RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC
RUEHZA/WHA CENTRAL AMERICAN COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS MANAGUA 001029

SIPDIS

STATE FOR WHA/CEN, EB/IFD/OIA, WHA/EPSC L/LEI/EDAUGHTRY
TREASURY FOR INL/MDONOVAN, GCHRISTOPOLUS,
OWH/ASCHWARTZMAN

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EINV ECON NU
SUBJECT: NICARAGUA: NO PROPERTY RESOLUTIONS IN FIRST
QUARTER 2007

REF:

A. MANAGUA 00626
B. MANAGUA 00381
C. MANAGUA 00591
D. MANAGUA 00862

1. (SBU) Summary: In the three-month period following the
January 10th inauguration of President Daniel Ortega, the
Government of Nicaragua has failed to resolve any claim
involving the restitution of or compensation for U.S.
citizen property illegally expropriated in the 1980s.
Since 1995, when Section 527 of the Foreign Relations
Authorization Act (FY 1994 and 1995) came into effect,
there has been only one month without the resolution of a
claim, so the current lack of progress is unprecedented.
Deputy Attorney General Yara Perez explained to Emboffs
that no new property claims would be settled until a
thorough review of property resolution procedures by the
new Attorney General had been completed. EconCouns is
requesting a meeting with Property Superintendent Molina
during the month of April to stress the importance of
making progress on property claims in the remaining
months of this waiver year. End Summary.

2. (SBU) In the three-month period following the January
10th inauguration of President Daniel Ortega, the
Government of Nicaragua has failed to resolve a single
claim involving the restitution of or compensation for
U.S. citizen property illegally expropriated in the 1980s
(Refs A, B, and C Q i.e., monthly reports). Section 527
of the Foreign Relations Authorization Act (FY 1994 and
1995) prohibits certain U.S. assistance and support for a
government of a country that has confiscated U.S. citizen
property, unless the government has taken sufficient
remedial steps. Since 1995, when Section 527 came into
effect, there has been only one month without the
resolution of a claim.

3. (SBU) The year began on an optimistic note. Property
Superintendent-designate Mireya Molina paid an unexpected
courtesy call to the Embassy on January 18, 2007, a week
before she assumed office (Ref A). A lawyer by
profession, Molina told Emboffs that she wanted to work
cooperatively to resolve outstanding property claims, and
that it was the full intention of the Ortega
Administration to advance the claims process.

4. (SBU) On January 18, Emboffs provided Molina with a
list of claims closest to resolution. During the
discussion that ensued, Molina displayed intimate
knowledge of many of the claims on the list. Molina
expressed her desire to engage all parties, encourage
compromise, and resolve all claims as soon as possible.

5. (SBU) In subsequent meetings, Emboffs distributed the
aforementioned list to the Minister of Foreign Affairs,
the Attorney General and Deputy Attorney General, and
President of the National Confiscations Review
Commission. On January 29, Emboffs supplied the list to
Ambassador-designate to Washington Arturo Cruz. Cruz
stated that he understood the importance of resolving all
outstanding claims, and promised to assist as much as
possible from his end. We continue to pursue this angle.

6. (SBU) Embassy staff requested a meeting in February
with Attorney General Hernan Estrada, who passed the
meeting to Deputy Attorney General Yara Perez. On March
1, Perez told Emboffs that the government could not work
on new resolutions until a review of agencies involved in
the process had been completed, whenever that might be.
Perez said that priority attention was being given to
claims settled after the November 5 presidential
elections, especially those involving unexplained
increases in settlement values that had been previously
rejected or estimated at lower levels.

Comment
-------

7. (SBU) Post believes there may be three reasons for the
governmentQs inactivity during the past three months.
One, new appointees are learning their jobs, including
the Property Superintendent, her assistant, the Property
Assessment Director, and the Assistant to the Minister of
Finance for Property Issues. Two, the Ortega
administration wants to assert authority and control over
all agencies to accomplish a clean break with the Bolanos
Administration. Three, new officeholders are reluctant
to move on outstanding claims involving properties in the
possession of military authorities, Sandinista party
members, or the government.

8. (SBU) One way or another, inaction brings government
intentions into doubt. EconCouns is requesting a meeting
with Property Superintendent Molina in April to stress
the importance of making progress in the remaining months
of this waiver year. Post will report on the outcome of
that meeting septel.

TRIVELLI

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