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Cablegate: Nicaraguan Police Chief Shares Views On Police Role

VZCZCXYZ0014
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHMU #1097/01 1172305
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 272305Z APR 07
FM AMEMBASSY MANAGUA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0026
INFO RUEHZA/WHA CENTRAL AMERICAN COLLECTIVE
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS 1078
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHINGTON DC

C O N F I D E N T I A L MANAGUA 001097

SIPDIS

SIPDIS


DEPT FOR WHA/CEN, INL

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/27/2017
TAGS: KDEM NU PGOV PINR SNAR
SUBJECT: NICARAGUAN POLICE CHIEF SHARES VIEWS ON POLICE ROLE

REF: MANAGUA 893

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

1. (C) Summary: Police Chief Aminta Granera is committed to
counternarcotics and enforcement efforts as well as ensuring
public safety, although she has no faith in the Nicaraguan
judicial system and receives little assistance from other
government agencies. During meetings with Emboffs, Granera
continued to voice her support for cooperative efforts with
the United States, but serious coordination problems remain.
In a recent meeting, Granera responded to Embassy concerns by
agreeing to investigate allegations by Nicaraguan human
rights leaders that they have been threatened due to their
activities. Granera also commented on the role of the police
and stated that she reports directly to President Daniel
Ortega and the Ministry of Government exercises little to no
oversight. End Summary.

Committed to Counternarcotics Efforts, but More Coordination
Needed
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- - -

2. (C) Police Chief Aminta Granera is committed to
enforcement efforts and pointed out recent high-profile
counternarcotics operations as a sign of police success.
Granera has repeatedly stated her support for cooperation
with the United States, however despite the recent apparent
successes, some serious coordination problems continue. The
recent "Mexican cartel" arrests were planned without
coordination with DEA and resulted in the detention of
low-level "laborers and enforcers" instead of key cartel
members. The arrests of these individuals also preempted
other regional operations and could jeopardize current
investigations and future operations throughout Central
America. The Nicaraguan National Police (NNP) has also
failed recently to coordinate fully with the Nicaraguan Navy.
The NNP arrested a number of suspects and seized 1,800 kilos
from a fastboat off the Nicaraguan coast on April 24, but
"neglected" to inform the Navy about the operation. The
National Police seized another 700 kilos of cocaine on April
26.

Politically Motivated Threats, Slow Police Response
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

3. (C) During an April 23 meeting, Emboffs relayed their
concerns to Granera about recent threats against leading
Nicaraguan human rights leaders. Members of the Nicaraguan
Permanent Human Rights Commission (CPDH) NGO had reported to
Emboffs that they had received threats (reftel) due to CPDH's
championing of a case alleging human rights abuses committed
against the Miskito population on the Atlantic Coast in the
1980s by President Ortega and other prominent Sandinistas.
Executive director Marcos Carmona recently reported to
Emboffs that the threats had escalated. Granera told emboffs
that she was aware of the situation but that it was being
handled by Juan Baez, Inspector General of the National
Police. She promised to check on the status of the case.
Emboffs also informed Granera about several Liberal
Constitutional Party (PLC) mayors who have been threatened by
members of their own party for "straying" from the party line
and she responded that they should file formal complaints
with the police.

4. (C) When Emboffs questioned Granera about the recent
Cervantes secondary school takeover -- when 14 members of the
Federation of Secondary Students (FES) wearing hoods and
under the command of Cuban-born Sandinista radical Victor
Cienfuegos, stormed the Miguel de Cervantes school, allegedly
using homemade pistols and other weapons, and removed school
director, Juan Narvaez (septel) -- she argued that the Police
did the right thing by staying out of the situation. She
added that during the incident they received telephonic
reports from people on both sides of the confrontation and
would have intervened if the situation had escalated. She
added that the police have to be careful about any actions
around schools.

Defining the Role of the Police
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

5. (C) Granera emphasizes the independent role of the
police. Though the NNP is technically under the Ministry of
Government, Granera has told Emboffs on several occasions
that she reports directly to Ortega. Granera shares Embassy
concerns about corruption in the judicial system and
considers it a major obstacle to the NNP's enforcement
efforts. She also cited deteriorating relationships with
other GON offices as an obstacle -- according to Granera
cooperation from airport, immigration, and customs
authorities has declined, particularly with regard to
information sharing.

6. (C) Comment: Granera maintains that she wholeheartedly
supports U.S.- funded initiatives with the NNP, and she was
instrumental in setting up the vetted unit; however, we have
some concerns. The lack of coordination with DEA remains a
key issue, which Granera claims can be addressed by better
defining the mechanisms for cooperation and the conduits for
passing information. We plan to pursue this further with her
and her team. It is also unclear how much autonomy Granera
enjoys in running NNP operations. We have heard that Granera
maintains a close relationship with first lady Rosario
Murillo, but is trying to remain autonomous from Ortega,
which may become increasingly difficult. Another concern is
that Granera does not possess operational expertise and
relies heavily on the Sub-Directors below her, who do not
necessarily share her same commitment to cooperative efforts
with the United States. End Comment.
TRIVELLI

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