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Cablegate: Nicaraguan Justice System at Risk, According To

VZCZCXYZ0004
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHMU #0957 1061549
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 161549Z APR 07
FM AMEMBASSY MANAGUA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 9825
INFO RUEHZA/WHA CENTRAL AMERICAN COLLECTIVE
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHINGTON DC

C O N F I D E N T I A L MANAGUA 000957

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR WHA/CEN

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/16/2017
TAGS: PGOV PREL PINR NU
SUBJECT: NICARAGUAN JUSTICE SYSTEM AT RISK, ACCORDING TO
SOLICITOR GENERAL

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

1. (C) Embassy officials and INR analysts met with Ivan
Lara, the Solicitor General for the Criminal Division on 21
March. According to Lara, the Nicaraguan justice system is
deteriorating. He highlighted the enormous pressure to
politicize the Solicitor General's office and judiciary, and
the blurring between state and party. Each government
institution basically reports to a member of the governing
party, the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN); the
Solicitor General's office answers to Lenin Cerna and is
"oriented" by him. All the solicitors were given a sheet to
sign pledging allegiance to the policies of the state/party.
Several Assistant Solicitors have quit -- including the head
of the environmental division. Lara equated the current
situation to a "witch hunt" to track down the
anti-Sandinistas in the organization. He added that phone
calls of intimidation from the FSLN are common.

2. (C) Lara stated his commitment to stay in his position
and remain independent but he does not know how long he will
be able to last, although he does not feel overt pressure on
him to quit at this time. Lara believes the CENI (debt
bonds) case against Eduardo Montealegre will be taken from
his unit and handed to the finance division, where the
Solicitor General and the FSLN party overseers can exercise
more control over the management of the case.

3. (C) Lara shared examples of general corruption within the
judiciary as well as illegitimate property seizures.
According to Lara, the FSLN customarily hires someone to file
a complaint claiming they were an employee for "X" firm for
15 years, but never paid. In one case a year and a half ago,
an American land owner was accused of owing $24,000 in back
wages to the fictitious employee. Such "cases" are decided
quickly and since the land owner does not have the cash at
the time of the decision to "pay the employee," the land
owner's property is auctioned. In the case Lara mentioned,
the FSLN party treasurer appeared with cash in hand and paid
$24,000 for the land. The FSLN as a party now owns the land
and gets to keep the payment to the "employee."

4. (C) Lara commented that Nicaraguan National Police Chief
Aminta Granera answers to the FSLN and is something of a "yes
woman" although she opposes corruption. He stated that
Rosario Murillo now controls the budget for communications
and publicity which means that the Solicitor General has no
money to publicize its anti-corruption hotline. Lara
believes that the line may be shut down.
TRIVELLI

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