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Cablegate: Liberal Mayors Reject Aleman, Pledge to Support

VZCZCXRO4313
RR RUEHLMC
DE RUEHMU #1036/01 1132332
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 232332Z APR 07
FM AMEMBASSY MANAGUA
TO RUEHZA/WHA CENTRAL AMERICAN COLLECTIVE
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHINGTON DC
RUEHLMC/MILLENNIUM CHALLENGE CORP WASHDC

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MANAGUA 001036

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR WHA/CEN

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/20/2017
TAGS: PGOV PINR KDEM NU
SUBJECT: LIBERAL MAYORS REJECT ALEMAN, PLEDGE TO SUPPORT
LOCAL UNIFICATION EFFORTS

REF: A. MANAGUA 0982
B. MANAGUA 0953
C. MANAGUA 0905

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

1. (C) Summary: A group of mayors from the Liberal
Constitutional Party (PLC) meeting with leaders of the
Nicaraguan Liberal Alliance (ALN) strongly rejected any role
for convicted PLC leader Arnoldo Aleman in the Liberal
unification process. The mayors plan to form local
commissions ahead of the 2008 municipal elections to bring
together the democratic forces and jointly confront the FSLN.
Members of the private sector Foro Liberal also attended the
meeting and pledged to continue supporting Liberal unity
efforts. End Summary.

2. (C) Ambassador and poloffs met with Liberal mayors, ALN
officials, and members of the Foro Liberal on April 20 to
discuss plans for local unity efforts. Eduardo Montealegre
(ALN president and deputy), Jamileth Bonilla (deputy), and
Ramiro Silva (deputy) represented the ALN. The PLC mayors
were Bronley Alvarez (Ciudad Dario), Boanerges Gonzalez
(Sebaco), Carlos Roque (Matiguas), Luis Jarquin (La
Trinidad), Elba Salinas (Santa Lucia), Nubia Marin
(Comalapa), and Jose Rizo Falcon (a Resistencia-affiliated
mayor from Rio Blanco).

3. (C) The mayors detailed their plans to form local "unity
commissions" to bring in all groups that oppose the current
administration (including the Conservatives and MRS) and
identify candidates for the 2008 municipal elections (ref B).
Salinas and Roque mentioned the need to reach out to the
rural population and pressure the PLC Central Committee to
permit "true Liberal renovation." The group pledged to
oppose constitutional reforms such as continuous presidential
re-election and select a new box on the voting ballot that
would not be affiliated with the PLC or ALN. Boanerges
Gonzalez commented that the reformist mayors should confront
the pro-Aleman directorship of the Liberal Association of
Patriotic Mayors (ASALPAT) and "take over the agenda" of the
forum.

4. (C) The group was unanimous in its rejection of Arnoldo
Aleman -- a far cry from their pre-election vacillation.
Luis Jarquin labeled Aleman a "blood sucker" and a "loyal
Sandinista." Jose Rizo Falcon related that his constituents
were critical of his support for Eduardo Montealegre before
the elections, but now realize that Montealegre was the
"right choice" and reject Aleman for his support for Ortega
and Chavez. In general, the mayors reported that Aleman's
recent tour of Nicaragua has not been successful, although
they complained that the media gives the colorful caudillo
too much coverage.

5. (C) The mayors commented that their opposition to Aleman
has resulted in threats, physical intimidation, and
persecution through pact-controlled institutions such as the
courts and Comptroller's Office. Polcouns suggested the
mayors seek assistance from CENIDH to file complaints before
the Inter-American Human Rights Commission (IAHRC). Bronley
Alvarez reported that the PLC recently orchestrated the
destitution of the anti-Aleman mayor of Diriomo on trumped up
financial mismanagement charges by bribing town councilors to
vote for his ouster. Ambassador thanked the mayors for their
courage and urged them not to let Aleman and his supporters
"infect" the unity process.

6. (C) Eduardo Montealegre, referring to a private New Link
study (ref C), commented that a united opposition could win
122 of 153 municipalities. Montealegre warned that any
appearance of deal making with Aleman would result in a
significant loss of support from independent voters and drive
away potential allies. He predicted that a successful
rapprochement at the municipal level could put pressure on
PLC deputies in the National Assembly to openly break with
Aleman in favor of a democratic alliance. The group should
also reach out to ex-PLC presidential candidate Jose Rizo,
who has gained sympathy with grass-roots supporters because
of abuse by the party leadership, Montealegre said.

7. (C) The members of the Foro Liberal agreed that Aleman is
an obstacle to unity and he has betrayed the Liberal cause.
The purpose of his tour is to recapture ALN votes for
himself, they believe. Margarita Sarmiento, who provided the
venue for the meeting, pledged that the Foro would continue
to support the groups' efforts financially.

MANAGUA 00001036 002 OF 002

8. (C) Comment: The reformist mayors have come much closer to
the ALN post-elections, although we cannot assume that all of
them will remain committed to the cause -- Luis Jarquin
reportedly phoned Aleman after the meeting to confirm his
loyalty to the PLC. Montealegre's presence, despite his
apparent skepticism with the project (ref A), was a positive
sign, and he and the Ambassador were able to firmly clarify
that any deal with Aleman is unacceptable and self-defeating.
It is still uncertain whether this core group of reformists
will be able to convince a critical mass of Liberal mayors
and town councilors to break with Aleman despite the threats
and intimidation, and whether private sector organizations
such as the Foro Liberal will finally loosen their purse
strings to support democratic efforts.
TRIVELLI

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