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Cablegate: Gon Respects Venezuelan Decision to Close Rctv,

VZCZCXRO3265
PP RUEHLMC
DE RUEHMU #1311 1422142
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 222142Z MAY 07
FM AMEMBASSY MANAGUA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0284
INFO RUEHZA/WHA CENTRAL AMERICAN COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS PRIORITY 1102
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ PRIORITY 0189
RUEHPU/AMEMBASSY PORT AU PRINCE PRIORITY 0102
RUEHQT/AMEMBASSY QUITO PRIORITY 0454
RUEHUB/USINT HAVANA PRIORITY 0031
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 001311

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

WHA/CEN, WHA/USOAS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/22/2017
TAGS: PGOV PREL PHUM SCUL NU VE
SUBJECT: GON RESPECTS VENEZUELAN DECISION TO CLOSE RCTV,
BUT CLAIMS NICARAGUA WILL CONTINUE TO GUARANTEE PRESS
FREEDOM

REF: STATE 67643

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

1. (C) On May 21, the Ambassador raised with Foreign
Minister Samuel Santos the demarche points on press freedom
contained in refetel. The Ambassador expressed concern that
the imminent closure of Venezuelan television channel RCTV is
an act that violates the OAS' Inter-American Convention on
Human Rights, to which the Governments of Nicaragua and
Venezuela are parties. Further, President Ortega's recent
endorsement of the decision on the margins of the ALBA
meeting in Barquisimeto, Venezuela, could lead to the
assumption that Ortega supports this type of measure.
Attempting to rationalize Venezuelan President Chavez'
decision not to renew RCTV's license and Ortega's support for
the measure, Santos asserted that in Nicaragua there is full
press freedom and that at times one faces a "fine line" when
making "technical" decisions regarding the operation of media
outlets.

2. (C) The Ambassador clarified that President Chavez's
action appears to be driven entirely by political interests,
as Chavez himself has stated that he will not renew RCTV's
license because the channel opposes him. Moreover, a number
of NGOs, as well as the OAS, have publicly opposed Chavez's
decision. Santos countered that the Nicaraguan government
(GON) respects Venezuela's decision. He added that some
media in Nicaragua are also problematic, for example
(right-of-center) daily La Prensa, which he claimed often
distorts or manipulates what he and other GON officials say;
nonetheless, all media are allowed to operate freely in
Nicaragua.

3. (C) Comment: It is clear from the conversation that the
Ortega government is willing to support Chavez even when it
comes to violating such basic rights like press freedom.
Foreign Minister Santos asserts that press freedom is
guaranteed in Nicaragua. Maybe for now, but the signs are
not encouraging. The Ortega administration has cancelled
government advertising in La Prensa in an attempt to
financially hurt the paper, and President Ortega frequently
rails against La Prensa and Nicaragua's right-of-center
Channel 2. More likely, Ortega envies Chavez's ability to
clamp down on RCTV and dreams of the day when he can do the
same with Nicaragua's Channel 2.
TRIVELLI

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