Cablegate: Former Mrs Candidate Jarquin Hopes to Unite Forces


DE RUEHMU #0955/01 1061546
R 161546Z APR 07

C O N F I D E N T I A L MANAGUA 000955




E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/16/2017

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

1. (C) SUMMARY: Former Sandinista Renovation Movement (MRS)
presidential candidate Edmundo Jarquin told Embassy officers
and INR analysts that he is focusing on the municipal
elections and uniting forces opposed to President Daniel
Ortega during a meeting on 23 March at his residence.
Jarquin reported that he is acting as the political
coordinator for the MRS and has met with some success in
obtaining media coverage for the party. He is also working
for the United Nations in Panama and Spain. He commented
that he has now established himself in Managua but will be
traveling several times a month to Panama and Spain. END

Focused on the Municipal Elections
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

2. (C) Jarquin told emboffs and INR analysts that he is
focused on the 2008 municipal elections and stated that the
lack of media exposure and good political analysis, along
with the typically high abstention rates for municipal
elections, are obstacles for his party. Jarquin commented
that during the last few months of the national campaign, the
MRS did not have enough presence or coverage in the press.
The party will focus on avoiding the same problem during the
municipal elections.

3. (C) Jarquin shared that he is working with the Nicaraguan
Liberal Alliance (ALN) to form an alliance for the municipal
elections. He met with ALN leader Eduardo Montealegre in
mid-March to discuss such cooperation. Jarquin believes that
if the ALN and MRS unite for the municipal elections, and
choose consensus candidates, they stand a chance of winning a
majority of the departments. However, the parties would need
to select candidates through a democratic process enough in
advance of election day to allow time for the public to
become familiar with them.

4. (C) An alliance between the MRS and ALN would be the
first step in changing the current political dynamic,
according to Jarquin. The alliance then could try to pull in
some support from the Liberal Constitutional Party (PLC);
Jarquin mentioned Maximo Rodriguez and Enrique QuQ,6hwyrtega's actions, they do not support the
MRS. Jarquin did comment, however, that he has received some
notes from FSLN deputies telling him they like what MRS
deputies Monica Baltadano and Enrique Saenz are doing in the
National Assembly.

Political Analysis Sorely Needed
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

5. (C) According to Jarquin, there is nobody in Nicaragua
doing serious economic or policy analysis of what is
happening in the country. Internal reports by the parties
say different things, which will lead to errors in
formulating political strategies in Jarquin's opinion. Small
parties experience particular difficulty in this regard.
Jarquin is also surprised by the weakness of the private
sector's political and technical analysis. He expressed the
need for analysis of the new agreements between Nicaragua and
Venezuela. He also commented that FUNIDES has been
particularly disappointing.

6. (C) Jarquin suggested that good analysis of the national
election results would help spur an MRS-ALN alliance. He
believes that of the 900,000 votes that the ALN and MRS won
together (ALN - 700,000 and MRS -- 200,000), about 300,000 to
400,000 are a "voto duro" (hard vote) for the ALN and MRS
parties. The majority -- 500,000 to 600,000 -- were simply
anti-Pact votes, and were not for one party or another.
These voters would like to see the MRS and ALN united and
would most likely be more supportive of ALN/MRS consensus
candidates in the municipal elections. Jarquin reported that
he planned to speak with Raul Obregon of M&R about an opinion
poll that would target the anti-Pact vote and views of the
ALN and MRS.

On Ortega and the Future
- - - - - - - - - - - - -

8. (C) Jarquin claimed that he is more optimistic than his
colleagues about the situation in Nicaragua. Stating that
Somoza was at his strongest five years before he fell,
Jarquin opined that the current strength of the Aleman-Ortega
pact is a sign of the end, or the "last hurrah." Jarquin
added that Ortega will be at an advantage if he is only
attacked by the right. Therefore, the left must also
challenge him and closely monitor his actions.

9. (C) Jarquin believes that Ortega and Arnoldo Aleman will
do anything to prevent a repeat of 2006, when the anti-Pact
forces were actually a real threat to the continuing power of
the pact. As soon as Montealegre started spendi~jVQPLC
and continue the division among the Liberals. Jarquin
predicted that there would be some kind of announcement on
Montealegre and the CENIs issue after Easter week, but he
still believes that it is hard to make too much of an issue
out of it without spooking the banking sector.

10. (C) According to Jarquin, Ortega is not a
detail-oriented person and the recent trend toward
micromanagement -- for example controlling the travel of all
ministers -- is new and can be attributed to Rosario
Murillo's influence. Jarquin believes that Vice President
Jaime Morales has no role in the new administration except
for helping with public relations. According to Jarquin,
Nicaragua is Ortega's to lose -- he inherited the best
possible situation, particularly in terms of the economy that
was strengthened during the Bolanos administration. That
said, what made Ortega's win possible, according to Jarquin,
is the fact that there has not been any real poverty
alleviation in Nicaragua. The paradigms of democracy and a
market economy have not worked for the poor in Latin America.

11. (SBU) Jarquin speaks English adequately, although he is
more comfortable speaking in Spanish. His wife attended part
of the meeting.

© Scoop Media

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