Search

 

Cablegate: Nicaragua: Gon Cooperation Improves During February Meeting

VZCZCXYZ0001
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHMU #0287/01 0702145
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 102145Z MAR 08
FM AMEMBASSY MANAGUA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 2223
INFO RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC
RUEHZA/WHA CENTRAL AMERICAN COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS MANAGUA 000287

SIPDIS

STATE FOR WHA/CEN, EB/IFD/OIA AND L/CID
STATE FOR WHA/EPSC
STATE PLEASE PASS TO USTR
TREASURY FOR INL AND OWH

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EINV ECON USTR KIDE NU
SUBJECT: NICARAGUA: GON COOPERATION IMPROVES DURING FEBRUARY MEETING
ON PROPERTY CLAIMS

REF: A) MANAGUA 274, B) MANAGUA 173, C) MANAGUA 0106,
D) MANAGUA 0002, E) 07 MANAGUA 2581, F) 01 MANAGUA 2313, G) 04
MANAGUA 2442, H) 04 MANAGUA 2324

SUMMARY
-------

1. (SBU) During the February 28 monthly Working Group meeting on
property issues, Embassy Property Office and Government of Nicaragua
(GON) officials reviewed 50 U.S. claims and discussed ways that the
USG and GON could cooperate to attain their favorable resolution.
One official from the National Confiscations Review Commission told
us that the GON would allow some U.S. citizens to defend claims
dismissed as "no ha lugar" in 2007. We raised concerns about the
application of anti-Somoza decrees and pressed GON officials to
explain the process used to determine a claimant to be "an ally of
Somoza." The Head of the Office of Assessment and Indemnification
said the GON would do more to protect individuals who benefited
under the "Pinata" laws, a potentially negative development. The
Embassy will utilize the GON's newfound, but likely short-lived,
spirit of cooperation to resolve claims, clarify the application of
certain laws, and press for more flexibility and transparency to
provide claimants the opportunity to defend their recently dismissed
cases.

PRODUCTIVE DISCUSSION WITHOUT SUPERINTENDENT PEREZ
--------------------------------------------- -----

2. (SBU) During the February 28 monthly Working Group meeting,
Econoff met with two officials from the National Confiscations
Review Commission (CNRC) and with the head of the Office of
Assessment and Indemnification (OCI) to discuss the list of U.S.
claims Attorney General Hernan Estrada passed to the Ambassador at
the six-month review of the 2007-08 waiver year on February 26 (Ref
A), and to review 14 additional cases provided by the Property
Office. Property Superintendent Yara Perez did not attend the
meeting, which allowed for constructive casework and frank
discussion concerning GON policies. During previous Working Group
meetings, Perez dominated discussions with accusations of corruption
against U.S. claimants and obstructed the sharing of information
with the Embassy Property Office (Refs B, E, G, and H).

THOROUGH REVIEW OF 50 CLAIMS
----------------------------

3. (SBU) GON officials and the Property Office staff reviewed 50
U.S. claims on a case-by-case basis to discuss next steps for
favorable resolution. GON officials explained that they would send
settlement offers to 15 claimants; another 15 claims might be
resolved favorably if certain documents were provided to OCI. The
head of OCI noted that 6 claims were previously resolved in favor of
the claimant, but the claimants had rejected the settlement offers.
With regard to the 14 additional claims provided by the Property
Office, GON officials said they would review each claim and provide
an update on their status at the March Working Group meeting.
Econoff asked the GON to provide a list of documents that the 15
claimants needed to provide to OCI, and added that the Embassy will
contact the 6 claimants who rejected settlement offers to fully
understand their concerns and suggest that they continue their
negotiations.

FLEXIBILITY TO DEFEND DISMISSED "CLAIMS"
---------------------------------------

4. (SBU) Econoff pressed GON officials on better cooperation and
more flexibility to allow U.S. citizens to defend claims dismissed
as "no ha lugar" in 2007 (Ref B). One CNRC official clarified that
some U.S. claimants are allowed to submit documents to show that
they either owned the property in question and/or that it had been
confiscated. She added that the CNRC notified 24 claimants that the
GON had dismissed their cases, adding that these could no longer be
pursued via the administrative process. Econoff asserted that the
USG will not recognize these dismissals if U.S. claimants are not
given an opportunity to defend their claims in a fair and
transparent manner.

CLARITY ON THE APPLICATION OF ANTI-SOMOZA DECREES
--------------------------------------------- ----

5. (SBU) Econoff raised concerns about the GON's recent decision to
apply Decrees 3 and 38, which mandated the confiscation of property
of "allies of Somoza," against 21 claims (Ref B). Econoff
complained that the application of these decrees appears to be an
arbitrary and non-transparent process, complicating USG-GON efforts
to resolve outstanding claims. He explained that the claims that
the Ortega administration recently dismissed based on those decrees
had been previously accepted as legitimate claims by the Chamorro,
Aleman, and Bolanos administrations. Econoff noted that some
claimants also received certificates acknowledging that were not
"Somocistas," and he asked if the GON had a process to allow
claimants to clear their names. CNRC and OCI officials suggested
that these concerns be raised with Attorney General Estrada [Note:
The Embassy is preparing a letter to Attorney General Estrada asking
for clarification regarding the application of Decrees 3 and 38, and
whether an appeals process is available for affected claimants. End
Note].

PROTECTION FOR THE PINATEROS
----------------------------

6. (SBU) OCI officials said Estrada has recently decided to enforce
the provision in Law 278/1998 that states that the Attorney
General's Office would intervene in court cases to protect and
defend those individuals who received property under the Pinata
laws, i.e., Pinateros (Ref E). Econoff requested an explanation of
how the GON would apply this statute and its impact on U.S.
claimants. OCI officials suggested that the Embassy address these
questions to Attorney General Estrada [Comment: We are concerned
that the GON will improperly apply the law to protect illegal
occupants of confiscated property, using it as a basis for not
returning property to the uncompensated owners. End Comment.].


COMMENT
-------

7. (SBU) The absence of Property Superintendent Yara Perez allowed
us to communicate more freely with other GON officials and conduct
in-depth case work to identify the next steps in resolving U.S.
claims. The Ambassador's six-month review with Estrada may have
opened the door to better USG-GON cooperation. We will capitalize
on the GON's newfound, but likely short-lived, spirit of cooperation
to press forward on resolving claims, clarify the application of
certain laws, and to afford claimants the opportunity to defend
cases subject to dismissal.

TRIVELLI

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Werewolf: Gordon Campbell On North Korea, Neo-Nazism, And Milo

With a bit of luck the planet won’t be devastated by nuclear war in the next few days. US President Donald Trump will have begun to fixate on some other way to gratify his self-esteem – maybe by invading Venezuela or starting a war with Iran. More>>

Victory Declared: New Stabilisation Funding From NZ As Mosul Is Retaken

New Zealand has congratulated the Iraqi government on the successful liberation of Mosul from ISIS after a long and hard-fought campaign. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Current US Moves Against North Korea

If Martians visited early last week, they’d probably be scratching their heads as to why North Korea was being treated as a potential trigger for global conflict... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Lessons From Corbyn’s Campaign

Leaving partisan politics aside – and ignoring Jeremy Corbyn’s sensational election campaign for a moment – it has to be said that Britain is now really up shit creek... More>>

ALSO:

Another US Court: Fourth Circuit Rules Muslim Ban Discriminatory

ACLU: Step by step, point by point, the court laid out what has been clear from the start: The president promised to ban Muslims from the United States, and his executive orders are an attempt to do just that. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 
 
  • Pacific.Scoop
  • Cafe Pacific
  • PMC