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Cablegate: New Movimiento Director: Civil Society And

VZCZCXRO5300
PP RUEHLMC
DE RUEHMU #1043/01 1141538
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 241538Z APR 07
FM AMEMBASSY MANAGUA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9929
INFO RUEHZA/WHA CENTRAL AMERICAN COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS PRIORITY 1070
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 001043

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

WHA/CEN, DRL

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/24/2017
TAGS: KDEM NU PGOV PHUM PINR PREL
SUBJECT: NEW MOVIMIENTO DIRECTOR: CIVIL SOCIETY AND
LEGISLATURE LAST BASTIONS OF DEFENSE

REF: MANAGUA 0871

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

1. (C) Summary: The new Movimiento por Nicaragua (MpN)
executive director, Violeta Granera, is convinced that the
Ortega government's apparent disorientation is a ruse to
divert attention from the Sandinista National Liberation
Front's (FSLN) clear plan to gain political and economic
power and Ortega's demagogic desire to impose an autocratic,
family dynasty under Venezuela's sphere of influence.
Granera's priorities for the NGO include forming strategic
alliances with like-minded NGOs and political opposition
parties; training MpN leaders and other members in
leadership, communications, advocacy, outreach, and
development; establishing five centers in Managua and
expanding operational presence in Nicaragua's remaining
sixteen departments/autonomous zones; and, gaining long-term
private sector and foreign donor commitment and support.
Under her watch, the MpN will conduct a series of "social
audits" of the Ortega administration and avoid politicizing
its criticism. End Summary.

Don't Let Government Disorder Fool You
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

2. (C) New Movimiento por Nicaragua (MpN) executive director
Violeta Granera, who met with PolCouns on April 18, is
convinced that the Ortega government's apparent
disorientation is a ruse to divert attention from the FSLN's
clear plan to gain political and economic power and reflects
Ortega's desire to impose an autocratic, family dynasty under
Venezuela's sphere of influence. In Granera's view, the
Ortega government is all about power and control and
President Ortega is willing to serve as Venezuelan President
Hugo Chavez's "lackey" in exchange for off-budget
petrodollars that can be directed with no legislative
scrutiny to feed the Chavez-Ortega project in Nicaragua.
Granera explained that she had recently left her position as
executive director of CONPES because the Ortega
administration was uncooperative, warning that Ortega intends
to turn CONPES into an instrument of the Ortega regime.

3. (C) Criticizing the mediocrity of Ortega's cabinet,
Granera suggested that Ortega has deliberately appointed
weak, ineffectual ministers. They are set up to fail;
ultimately the government's traditional institutions will
become mere shells, to be replaced by Ortega's national and
citizens' councils financed by Chavez's money, she warned.
Granera was unequivocal that Ortega seeks constitutional and
other legislative reforms to allow consecutive presidential
re-election and postpone the 2008 municipal elections.
Postponing the municipal elections will allow Ortega to
create his parallel, party-dominated institutions and co-opt
poor Nicaraguans, mused Granera. She speculated that Ortega
will first get his "foot in the door" by making certain
concessions to the opposition parties. For example, Ortega
may support the opposition initiative to raise the threshold
for a candidate to win the presidential election on the first
round from 35% to 50% and reduce the number of National
Assembly lawmakers.

Civil Society and Legislature Last Bastions of Defense
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

4. (C) According to Granera, the two remaining "dikes"
capable of blocking Ortega's authoritarian onslaught are the
National Assembly and civil society. The opposition parties
must find some way of convincing at least 12 Liberal
Constitutional Party (PLC) lawmakers to support them in the
legislature, she said. Granera offered that only a united
opposition comprising diverse, left, center, and
right-leaning democratic parties -- with the endorsement of
like-minded civil society organizations and private sector
leaders -- can limit Ortega's advances. This movement should
be tolerant and inclusive, inviting disaffected PLC militants
and Sandinistas, including a growing number of Nicaraguans
who voted for Ortega and are starting to regret their
decision and question his intentions.

Priorities: Expansion, Leadership, Communications, Advocacy
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -


MANAGUA 00001043 002 OF 002


5. (C) In sharing her vision of the MpN, Granera listed the
following priorities: improve internal organization; form
strategic alliances with like-minded NGOs and political
opposition parties; train MpN leaders and other supporters in
leadership, communications, advocacy, outreach, and
development; educate Nicaraguans on their rights and
obligations; expand presence, including establishing five
centers in Managua and expand operational presence in
Nicaragua's remaining sixteen departments, as well as in
Miami, Los Angeles, and San Jose, Costa Rica; and, gain
long-term private sector and foreign donor support. She also
mentioned the MpN's plans to conduct a seris of "social
audits" of the Ortega administration and avoid politicizing
its criticism. (Note: The MpN offered a seminar on, and
issued a full-page ad featuring its assessment of the Ortega
Administration's first 60 days, as reported in Reftel).
May Day, May Day
- - - - - - - -

6. (C) Granera confirmed that the MpN will join a number
unions and other civil society groups, and opposition parties
for a May Day rally. She explained that the planning
committee includes a diverse assortment of organizations that
span the political spectrum. The unions will lead the march,
followed by civil society, and political parties taking up
the rear. Thus far, the Sandinista Renovation Movement
(MRS), Nicaraguan Liberal Alliance (ALN), and the
Conservative Party (PC) have signed on to the event. The
committee is also planning on issuing a joint communique, and
is seeking funds to cover the expense, she said.

Disappointment with Private Sector, Gratitude for Foreign
Donors
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

7. (C) Granera shared her frustration over the reluctance of
Nicaragua's business elites to contribute to MpN efforts.
She attributes their demeanor to a combination of fear and
indifference. She was receptive to PolCouns' suggestion that
the MpN approach small and medium businesses for support,
instead of relying so much on big business. She noted that
support from the National Endowment for Democracy, NDI, IRI,
the U.S. Embassy, and the Open Society Institute, and the
governments of Japan and Taiwan have been the backbone of the
MpN's support. She mentioned the MpN is reaching out to
Nordic donors and hopes to gain some additional support from
these countries. Granera remarked that donors are reluctant
to fund marches and other public expressions, which are so
crucial to the movement. Granera shared her interest in
visiting NGO leaders and USG government officials in the
United States, perhaps with a few of the MpN's new board
members.

Biographical Information
- - - - - - - - - - - - -

8. (C) Bio: Violeta Granera de Sandino was born in Leon,
Nicaragua in 1951. During the 1980s Sandinista regime, her
family left the country, residing in Guatemala and later in
France, where she studied Sociology. She returned to
Nicaragua in 1991 to work as deputy director of the
Nicaraguan Pro Human Rights Association (ANPDH). Granera was
the executive secretary of the National Commission for Social
and Economic Planning (CONPES) starting in 2005. Previously,
she served as a World Bank social development specialist,
director of the Citizens' Initiative for Peace, and executive
director of the Foundation for Democracy (FUNDEMOS).

Comment
- - - -

9. (C) Although still a relatively new organization, the
Movimiento, as it is commonly called, is now established and
expanding. While during last year's electoral year the
Movimiento was often criticized for holding a political
agenda in favor of ALN presidential candidate Eduardo
Montealegre, many of the MpN's members personally backed MRS
presidential candidate Edmundo Jarquin. Granera's
determination to reach out to all democratically-minded
Nicaraguans, irrespective of their political stripes, is
encouraging, and vital to her organization's future and its
role in defending Nicaragua's vulnerable democracy.
TRIVELLI

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