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Cablegate: Foro Liberal Seeks Liberal Unity Via

VZCZCXRO8190
PP RUEHLMC
DE RUEHMU #1069 1161457
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 261457Z APR 07
FM AMEMBASSY MANAGUA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9980
INFO RUEHZA/WHA CENTRAL AMERICAN COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS PRIORITY 1077
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 MANAGUA 001069

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

WHA/CEN

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/26/2017
TAGS: PGOV PREL PINR KDEM NU
SUBJECT: FORO LIBERAL SEEKS LIBERAL UNITY VIA
MUNICIPALITIES AND THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY

REF: MANAGUA 1036 AND PREVIOUS

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

1. (C) Eight Liberal Forum (Foro Liberal) members, who
invited the Ambassador, DCM, and PolCouns to meet over
breakfast on April 24, are seeking to foster Liberal unity at
the municipal level and through the National Assembly's
Nicaragua Liberal Alliance (ALN) and the Liberal
Constitutional Party (PLC) caucuses. While the Foro lost
much of its wind before the 2006 elections when divisions
arose between members favoring the ALN candidate and those
supporting the PLC option, after what all members concur was
a "disastrous electoral outcome," they are now attempting to
regroup and serve as financers and facilitators of opposition
unity efforts.

2. (C) Margarita Sevilla Sarmiento, who chaired the session,
concurred with the Ambassador that Liberals are not tangibly
further along in their efforts to unite than they were over a
year and a half ago. The group also agreed that as long as
Arnoldo Aleman rules the PLC, it will not reform, and
deserves its nickname, "Partido Zancudo" (the mosquito, or
bloodsucker, party). Sarmiento attributed much of the
dilemma to Nicaraguans' growing "relativism" of their values
and a disregard for rule of law, probably in an effort to
adjust to adversity and uncertainty from decades of
dictatorial regimes.

3. (C) Sarmiento termed the recent Foro-sponsored meeting
between seven PLC-associated mayors who reject Aleman's pact
and the Ambassador (Ref A.) a "modest success." Foro members
offered that only pressure from the party bases at the
municipal and departmental levels will convince the PLC
leadership that Aleman's time at the helm must end, and that
his presence poses the main obstacle to Liberal, and broader,
opposition unity. They agreed that the 2008 municipal
elections, if Ortega does not find a way to postpone them,
present a window of opportunity to the opposition to chip
away at the Sandinista National Revolution Front's (FSLN)
local power base and to form a viable political front in
preparation for the 2011 national elections.

4. (C) Foro leaders were receptive to the information we
provided on a professional mediator, Mexican-Salvadoran
Francisco Xavier Hernandez Velazquez, who could facilitate
negotiations between the two estranged Liberal caucuses to
create a common legislative agenda, independent from Aleman
and his master Ortega. They indicated that the Foro might
cover the expenses of the mediator and the sessions, and
agreed that U.S. technical legislative assistance would round
out the effort.

5. (C) Comment: This somewhat philosophical meeting with
the Liberals brought to mind the old Nicaraguan saying that
Nicaragua is a land "where cork sinks and lead floats." The
high tolerance for "moral relativism" and disregard for rule
of law, especially among Nicaragua's traditional political
elites, is a bane to the country's democratic evolution.
Reform-minded politicians who promote transparency in
government and refuse to play mafia politics invariably fall
victim to fabricated charges by the FSLN-PLC pact-controlled
judiciary sector, which attempts to drag them down to the
lowest, corrupt denominator. A national pastime is divisive
Machiavellian, "zero sum" politics, in which it is preferable
to allow a mediocre, autocratic candidate to win an election
if doing so blocks a more capable, democratic competitor.
TRIVELLI

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