Cablegate: Nicaragua Nominates Anti-U.S., Former Amcit As
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TAGS: PREL OPDC PINR CVIS UNGA VT NU
SUBJECT: NICARAGUA NOMINATES ANTI-U.S., FORMER AMCIT AS
GRULAC CANDIDATE FOR 63RD UNGA PRESIDENCY
REF: VISAS DONKEY FOR D'ESCOTO BROCKMANN (SENT
8/15/07 THROUGH CCD)
Classified By: Ambassador Paul Trivelli for reasons 1.4 (b) & (d).
1. (C) SUMMARY. Nicaragua plans to nominate former Foreign
Minister, Miguel D'ESCOTO Brockmann, a gratuitously
anti-U.S., former AMCIT, and former Catholic priest, as the
GRULAC candidate for President of the 63rd Session of the
UNGA (2008-2009), Foreign Minister Samuel Santos told us on
August 24. Based on recent consultations with his other
GRULAC counterparts, Santos was assured that no other
candidates were being considered from the region. D'Escoto
is well-known for outrageous and gratuitously offensive
public comments about the U.S. END SUMMARY.
UNGA NEEDS A PRESIDENT, WHY NOT A NICARAGUAN?
2. (C) During an August 24 meeting with the Ambassador,
Nicaraguan Foreign Minister, Samuel Santos, passed us a
letter (see text para 9) addressed to the Secretary informing
that Nicaragua planned to nominate Miguel D'ESCOTO Brockmann,
as the GRULAC candidate for President of the 63rd Session of
the UNGA (2008-2009). Santos told us that the GRULAC region
would take its "turn" as UNGA president during 2008-2009, per
the UN's tradition of regional rotations. He also said that
during recent consultations with his other GRULAC
counterparts, Santos was told that no other candidates were
being considered from the region.
3. (U) On August 28, an article appeared on page 5 of the
left-of-center, Nuevo Diario newspaper, one of Managua's two
major dailies. The article reports that "FM Santos has
confidently declared that Nicaragua will win the UNGA
presidency for 2008-2009." The article adds that Santos told
journalists that D'Escoto's candidacy had been formally
submitted in New York and that no other candidates had been
announced. Santos added that, he had "spoken personally with
each and every ambassador" from GRULAC member states and that
"all of them expressed total support for Nicaragua's
candidate." Santos said his next step would be to seek
backing for D'Escoto's candidacy from the Non-Aligned
Movement countries during their upcoming meeting in Tehran.
WHO IS MIGUEL D'ESCOTO BROCKMANN?
4. (C) D'Escoto, who served as Foreign Minister during the
first Ortega Administration, currently holds a ministerial
rank as advisor to the President on Border Dispute Issues.
Although the former Catholic priest (Maryknoll Order) was
born in Los Angeles, he renounced his U.S. citizenship and
actually was the beneficiary of property seized from other
American Citizens by the Sandinista government in the 1980s.
D'Escoto appears to harbor deep loathing for the country of
his birth. He regularly makes critical and outrageous claims
about U.S. foreign policy.
A MAN WHO BELIEVES THE TWIN TOWERS ATTACK WAS NO BIG DEAL
5. (U) Recently, D'Escoto's anti-U.S. public statements
reached new levels when he dismissed the gravity of the
September 11th attacks. During an August 13 speech President
Ortega said that the 3,000 deaths in New York on September
11th were "insignificant" compared to the "acts of U.S.
genocide" in Hiroshima and Nagasaki that killed 120,000. The
next morning, during a TV interview, D'Escoto opined that
Ortega had been "very moderate," (muy suave) because he had
only included the number of immediate deaths in Japan, not
the total number of those who died as a result of "genocidal"
atomic bombs, "which was five times that number."
MANAGUA 00002008 002 OF 004
6. (C) We suspect D'Escoto's UNGA Presidency nomination is
simply the latest effort by Ortega to challenge us. Since
taking power in January, Ortega has gone out of his way to
offend, with D'Escoto frequently and gleefully engaging in
public one-upsmanship of gratuitously offensive comments.
Ironically, we have, at the same time. been under constant
pressure from the government to expedite and issue visas for
senior advisors and officials, many of whom have serious
ineligibilities--including D'Escoto. In Ortega's mind,
D'Escoto likely embodies the perfect trifecta as a candidate.
He has legitimate international diplomatic experience as
former Foreign Minister. His vociferous, anti-U.S. stance
grants him credibility with hardliners, and like most
high-level Ortega Administration officials, D'Escoto has
serious visa ineligibilities. Only weeks ago, D'Escoto
requested a visa to travel to the U.S. for medical treatment.
D'Escoto initially refused to appear at the Embassy, and
verbally abused Embassy employees over the phone, using
excessively vulgar and offensive language. (NOTE: While
D'Escoto is currently listed in CLASS as potentially
ineligible for a U.S. visa because of "terrorist activities,"
the Embassy does not have information on file that would
support this finding. End note.)
7. (C) D'Escoto is among the worst candidates possible for
63rd UNGA President. Setting aside his poor health and
grotesquely cavalier attitude toward September 11th, D'Escoto
has repeatedly demonstrated disdain and disregard for
democracy, human rights, and the rule of law. In his personal
demeanor, he swings erratically from charming to threatening,
oozing arrogance throughout. We are certain that there are
more suitable candidates for the 63rd UNGA Presidency from
within the GRULAC region. The 63rd UNGA is still over one
year away; however, we believe serious thought should be
given to encouraging the GRULAC to identify more qualified
individuals for the position. Given that, in 1981, D'Escoto
was barred by the Vatican from performing any priestly
functions, it may be worthwhile to consult with the Holy See.
8. (C) D'Escoto comes from what he described as "a
privileged Nicaraguan family with a tradition of rebellion."
Born in Hollywood, CA in 1933, he returning to Nicaragua with
his family in 1934. By 1951 he had renounced his U.S.
citizenship. He received B.A. and M.A. degrees from St.
Mary's College of California and holds an M.A. in Journalism
from Columbia University (1962). In 1981, D'Escoto defied a
Vatican order calling upon priests to remove themselves from
government service and he refused to recognize the authority
of the Vatican. As a result of his defiance, the Vatican
prohibited D'Escoto from performing any priestly duties. To
our knowledge, the prohibition has never been rescinded.
Even so, in Nicaragua D'Escoto is still commonly referred to
a "Father." MFA personnel also address him as "Father" and
Embassy personnel were also instructed to do so when he
applied for a visa. D'Escoto speaks Spanish, English, and
understands some Italian and French. His brother, Francisco,
was the FSLN Ambassador to the U.K. at least between 1984 and
TEXT OF LETTER TO SECRETARY RICE
9. (SBU) Following is our unofficial English translation of
the letter from FM Santos to Secretary Rice. We will pass
the original to WHA/CEN separately.
MANAGUA 00002008 003.2 OF 004
BEGIN EMBASSY UNOFFICIAL TRANSLATION
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Managua, August 24, 2007
Dear Madam Secretary:
With a lot of joy, I want to share with you the decision of
the Government of Reconciliation and National Unity of
presenting the candidacy of father Miguel D'Escoto Brockmann
MM. as president of the 63rd United Nations General Assembly.
Father Miguel D'Escoto was chief of Nicaraguan diplomacy in
the decade of the 80s, which gave him an extraordinary
experience in international themes by actively participating
in the agreement of nations and in the search of political
and diplomatic negotiations in the solution of international
controversies. For this reason and for his human and social
sensibility, he is a most suitable candidate to preside over
the General Assembly.
Your Excellency, Nicaragua grants a particular importance to
this candidacy and is aware of the responsibility and
importance that presiding the General Assembly implies. I
assure you that Miguel D'Escoto Brockmann will dignifiedly
represent our countries in such a high position. Attached
you will find Miguel D'Escoto MM's curriculum vitae.
Waiting that our proposal be considered by your government, I
reiterate the assurances of my highest consideration.
(handwritten above the signature)
Samuel Santos Lopez
Secretary of State
of the United States of America
END Embassy Non-Official Translation of Letter
10. (U) BEGIN D'ESCOTO C.V. (Translation by Ministry of
Miguel d,Escoto Brockmann, M.M.
Was born in California in 1933. A year later, June 1934 he
came to Nicaragua, his parents' country, only four months
after the assassination of the national hero Sandino.
Later, in 1947 he went back to the United States, after
graduating from high school and studied Civil Engineering.
In 1953 entered the Maryknoll Missionary Congregation where
in 1961 was became a priest in New York.
From 1953 to 1955 studied Philosophy in Glen Ellen, Illinois.
Later on, from 1957 to 1961 he studied Theology and Pedagogy
in New York. Further on attended the Journalist School
(Pulitzer Institute) at the Columbia University, New York,
where in 1962 he obtained a Master in Sciences.
In 1963, was send to Chile and funded the Instituto Nacional
de Accion Poblacional e Investigaciones (INAP) where he
worked full-time with "callampas;" the name given to the
poorest neighbors Chile. These "callampas" were located
outside Santiago as well as other cities such Concepcion and
Temuco, in the southern region of Chile.
MANAGUA 00002008 004 OF 004
In 1970 headed the Maryknoll Social Communication Department
in New York where his greatest contribution was to found
ORBIS a publication which is still considered one of the most
important in the United States concerning Third World issues.
After the Managua Earthquake in 1973 he created the Fundacion
pro Desarrollo Comunitaria Integral, FUNDECI, in order to
help the victims of the earthquake.
Afterwards, and living in New York by that time, he became
one of the founders of Grupo de los 12 (Group of 12),
conformed by professionals and intellectuals which shared
democratic and progressive views in favor of the struggle of
the FSLN, Sandinista National Liberation Front.
In July 1979 he was appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs,
staying in the post until 1990, period in which among many
other important events he had an outstanding participation in
the peace process of Contadora and Esquipulas.
In February 2007 he was appointed Counselor to President
Daniel Ortega Saavedra in the field of International
Relations and bordering issues with the rank of Minister.
Carlos Fonseca Amador Order, highest recognition given by the
Julio Cortazar Prize for Peace and Democracy in Latin America
and the Caribbean, given by the International Relations
Institute of Argentina in June 1985.
Lenin For Peace, International Prize given by the Soviet
Union, June 1987.
Alfonso Comin por la Paz Prize in 1984
Doctor Honoris Causa in Engineering, given by the Nicaraguan
University of Engineers on November 25, 2005.
Orden al Merito Centroamericano, given by the Central
American Parliament in May 2006.
Nora Astorga Distinction, given jointly by la Universidad
Nacional Autonoma de Nicaragua, UNAN-Managua and the National
Students Union UNEN, on June 27, 2006
Jose de Marcoleta Order, given by Nicaragua,s Ministry of
Foreign Affairs on June 14, 2007.
Cardinal Miguel Obando Bravo Order, highest award given by la
Catholic University Redemptoris Mater (UNICA), on August 21,
END D'ESCOTO C.V.