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Cablegate: Fsln to Use Prn to Further Divide Liberals in 2008

VZCZCXYZ0002
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHMU #1592/01 1791727
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 281727Z JUN 07 ZDK
FM AMEMBASSY MANAGUA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0651
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 001592

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

WHA/CEN FOR SCHIFFER AND CORNFORTH, NSC FOR VALVARADO

E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/25/2017
TAGS: KDEM PGOV NU
SUBJECT: FSLN TO USE PRN TO FURTHER DIVIDE LIBERALS IN 2008

REF: MANAGUA 350

Classified By: Ambassador Paul Trivelli for reason 1.4b

1. (C) SUMMARY: The Nicaraguan Resistance Party's (PRN)
internal problems continue. The Supreme Electoral Counsel
canceled internal PRN elections, citing irregularities and
internal struggles. There is a serious rift between PRN
president Salvador Talavera and vice president Julio Blandon.
The Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) hopes to
gain control of the PRN by supporting Blandon and to finance
an independent PRN campaign in Nicaragua's northern
departments to divide the Liberal vote. END SUMMARY.

CSE Cancels PRN's Convention
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

2. (SBU) In a June 25 meeting with Poloff, Luis Fley,
Director of International Relations for the PRN, lamented
that the PRN's internal problems continue to worsen (reftel).
The PRN, which has tried for nearly a year to convene a
party convention to elect new leadership, had their June 24
convention canceled on June 20 by the Supreme Electoral
Counsel (CSE) due to irregularities and in-fighting.
Although frustrated by the cancellation and the further delay
in holding party elections, Fley commended the CSE for acting
quickly and correctly to avert further problems. In fact, in
the weeks prior to the elections, Fley asked PRN President
Salvador Talavera to cancel the convention after discovering
irregularities in the list of convention participants.
Talavera refused.

PRN Talavera Changes Convention Participants
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

3. (C) Talavera unilaterally substituted approximately 120
of the 476 names on the convention list -- including 15 of
the 17 PRN executive committee members -- with neither board
nor membership approval. By doing so, he effectively removed
them from their elected positions. Because convention
attendees are elected party members, they cannot be replaced
without a convention vote. In the weeks leading up to the
election, Fley, a candidate for the PRN party presidency, had
repeatedly asked Talavera for a copy of the list to review
the convention attendees, but Talavera stalled. Upon seeing
the changes made to the list, Fley immediately asked Talavera
to delay the elections and denounced Talavera's tampering to
the CSE.

Vice President Holds Mini-Convention
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

4. (SBU) In defiance of the CSE's order, PRN vice president
Julio Cesar Blandon (commandant Kaliman) held a parallel
convention on June 24 in which he was elected president.
According to Fley, no more than a few dozen Blandon-loyalists
attended, insufficient to legitimize his election. The
results were further negated by the CSE's refusal to
recognize the election due to their earlier letter
prohibiting the PRN's convention. Fley and other PRN leaders
have petitioned the CSE magistrates for a new convention
date. They hope to meet with the CSE representatives this
week to discuss the matter.

A Story of Betrayal
- - - - - - - - - -

5. (C) Fley explained that Blandon's decision to hold a
parallel convention was caused by a serious rift with
Talavera, dating back to September 2006 when Talavera very
publicly signed a "peace accord" with then-presidential
candidate Daniel Ortega. Talavera signed this agreement
without the approval of either the PRN executive committee or
the membership. Expecting Talavera's treachery lay at the
heart of the conflict, poloff was surprised to learn,
instead, that it was a fight over the spoils of Talavera's
deal. Fley stated that Talavera received six trucks, 24
motorcycles, and $180,000 to divide up between himself,
Blandon, and several other PRN members. However, as the lead
instigator, Talavera kept everything for himself and his
family.

PRN - Tool to Further Divide the Liberals
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

6. (C) With the PRN leadership divided and Blandon looking
for a way to get even with Talavera, the FSLN, reported Fley,
offered to sponsor Blandon's convention to topple Talavera.
Although Talavera has been an FSLN ally, Fley believes the
FSLN has grown tired of Talavera's public whining about its
failure to deliver on campaign promises and wants him out of
the picture. In addition, Talavera angered Lenin Cerna, one
of President Ortega's most trusted confidants, by breaking up
with Cerna's daughter after a several-month romantic
relationship in which Talavera had allegedly promised to
marry her.

7. (C) Further, and more importantly, Fley opined that the
FSLN was privately trying to buy Blandon's allegiance without
ruining his public image and credibility within the PRN (the
way Talavera's was ruined through his deal with Ortega).
Maintaining the image of credible leadership in the PRN is
critical to the FSLN, emphasized Fley, because it wants to
use the PRN in Nicaragua's northern departments -- the base
of the party's strength -- to compete with the Nicaraguan
Liberal Alliance (ALN) and Liberal Constitution Party (PLC)
for Liberal votes. Fley stressed that if Blandon wins the
PRN elections, the FSLN will finance an independent PRN
campaign to divide the Liberal vote.

Comment
- - - -

8. (C) The PRN continues to flounder, wracked by internal
bickering and financial problems. The organization's
official charter expired in April of 2006, and although the
CSE has yet to take any official action to close the party,
the possibility looms in the background. As a political
figure, Talavera has been completely discredited and has
alienated himself from both the Liberal and Sandinista camps
through his constant scheming. While Fley and others
continue to struggle to unify the party, he is keenly aware
that the PRN remains vulnerable to influence and manipulation
as evidenced by the FSLN's financing of Blandon's parallel
convention. As a result, Fley is desperate to convene a
convention to purify the party's leadership and re-energize
the bases prior to the 2008 elections. Fley assured us that
most PRN leaders and members remain committed to the alliance
with the ALN in 2008.
TRIVELLI

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