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Cablegate: Nicaragua: Gon Under Pressure to Resolve U.S. Claims

VZCZCXYZ0000
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHMU #0724/01 1611926
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 091926Z JUN 08
FM AMEMBASSY MANAGUA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 2723
INFO RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC
RUEHZA/WHA CENTRAL AMERICAN COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS MANAGUA 000724

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 UNDER PRESSURE TO RESOLVE U.S. CLAIMS

REFS: A) MANAGUA 633, B) MANAGUA 564, C) MANAGUA 424,
D) MANAGUA 287, E) MANAGUA 173

1. (SBU) During the May 29 monthly Property Working Group meeting,
the head of the Office of Assessment and Indemnification stated that
on June 16 the Government of Nicaragua (GON) would close the
administrative process for 42 claims it considers resolved and place
the indemnification bonds equivalent to the GON's final settlement
offer in escrow at the Ministry of Finance for distribution to the
claimants at a later date. Econoff pressed the GON for more
flexibility to allow U.S. claimants to defend 14 claims the GON
dismissed administratively. GON officials asserted that they are
working diligently to resolve as many claims as possible before the
end of the waiver year. The willingness of working-level officials
to engage more constructively to resolve claims reflects a
recognition on the part of the GON that this year's waiver decision
is not a done deal.

FINAL OFFERS ON 42 CLAIMS TO BE DEPOSITED IN ESCROW
--------------------------------------------- ------

2. (SBU) During the May 29 monthly Property Working Group meeting,
Econoff met with the head of the Office of Assessment and
Indemnification (OCI), the director of the National Confiscations
Review Commission (CNRC), and an official from the Office of the
Property Superintendent to discuss the status of 42 claims that, in
the GON's view, are ready for final settlement, pending additional
paperwork and claimant signatures (Refs A and B). Ruth Zapata, the
head of OCI, asserted that 15 out of the 42 claims might be resolved
by June 6, noting that the GON had already sent the Embassy five
final settlement documents, "finiquitos" (septel).

3. (SBU) Econoff asked Zapata to clarify how the GON would close a
case if claimants did not accept the final settlement offer by the
GON's June 16 deadline, recently extended from May 15 (Ref A). She
answered that closing a case would preclude claimants from further
administrative recourse; the GON would deposit indemnification bonds
(BPIs) equivalent to the GON's final settlement offer in escrow with
the Finance Ministry for claimants to withdraw later. Claimants who
refuse the settlement offers must take their cases to court.

SOME FLEXIBILITY ON DISMISSED CLAIMS
------------------------------------

4. (SBU) Econoff pressed GON officials to allow U.S. claimants to
defend 14 claims that the GON recently dismissed administratively.
The director of the CNRC, Jeanette Garcia, said she would review the
claims and send us a list of documents that claimants needed to
provide to advance their cases. Zapata noted that because of the
attention the case has received in Washington, the GON is reviewing
the previously dismissed claim of U.S. citizen Uri Kollnesher, whose
property is under control of the parastatal holding company CORNAP.

GON PRESSURED TO RESOLVE MORE CLAIMS
------------------------------------

5. (SBU) Property Office staff and GON officials reviewed 60
additional claims, including cases under the control of the
Nicaraguan Army and government ministries, about which that the
Ambassador had written Attorney General Hernan Estrada to request
additional information. GON officials discussed the status of each
case and they asserted that they are working diligently to resolve
as many claims as possible before the end of the Section 527 waiver
year. Zapata highlighted that the GON has loosened its application
of relevant law in some instances to resolve more claims, such as
signing finiquitos before receiving the requisite paperwork from
claimants. In the case of U.S. claimant Eva Navarro, for example,
Zapata noted that OCI will not require her family to formally notify
the public property registry to expedite the settlement of this
claim. Zapata explained that heirs are normally required to notify
the registry of their inheritance rights and pay property taxes
before receiving compensation. Zapata noted that the GON will not
require the heirs to pay property taxes in this case.

COMMENT
-------

6. (SBU) The Ambassador's recent meetings with Attorney General
Estrada and Foreign Minister Santos, as well as the Department's
engagement on this issue with Nicaraguan Ambassador Cruz in
Washington, signaled to the GON USG concern about the lack of
progress in resolving claims. The willingness of working-level
officials to engage more constructively to resolve claims may well
reflect a recognition on the part of the GON that this year's waiver
decision is not a done deal.
TRIVELLI

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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