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Cablegate: Nicaragua: Increasing Political Tension

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E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/29/2018
TAGS: PHUM PGOV NU
SUBJECT: NICARAGUA: INCREASING POLITICAL TENSION

Classified By: Ambassador Paul Trivelli, Resaons 1.4 (b and d)

1. (C) SUMMARY: Several physical attacks on opposition
groups over the past two weeks are raising concerns about the
potential for political violence in Nicaragua and the further
narrowing of democratic space in the run-up to municipal
elections in November. A Leon student group took control of
the site of a planned NGO-organized forum and pelted
participants with mud and rocks. Similarly, the FSLN and
the Citizen Power Councils (CPCs) orchestrated two attacks in
the last week against the Liberal candidate for mayor of
Managua, Eduardo Montealegre, as he tried to campaign in
Sandinista controlled Managua neighborhoods. Given
escalating political tensions and civil society,s growing
willingness to challenge the Ortega government, these may be
just the first of many clashes. End Summary.

Attack on MRS and PC in Leon
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

2. (C) A leading Nicaraguan NGO, Hagamos Democracia,
organized a June 26 forum on constitutional and electoral
issues and invited Dora Maria Tellez, a leader of the
Sandinista Renovation Movement (MRS) who recently held a
13-day hunger strike to protest the banning of the party by
the Supreme Electoral Council (CSE), Alejandro Bolanos, a
former Conservative Party (PC) deputy, and Gabriel Alvarez,
an expert on constitutional law to serve as panelists. The
NGO was granted permission to use a conference room on the
UNAN-Leon grounds. According to the personal secretary of
the MRS leader, university authorities were "pressured" by
FSLN activists that morning and hence decided to cancel
classes in that building for the day and remove
administrative personnel from the area.

3. (C) As one of the NGO members was setting up for the
event, she was assaulted by unknown individuals, whom she
assumed to be students, and pushed out of the building. At
two in the afternoon, a group of students identified as
members of the University Center of the National University
(CUUN) evicted all remaining personnel and took control of
the building. The students reportedly acted under the
pretext that they were demanding that the school
administrators release past due scholarship funds. When the
MRS and PC officials arrived for the forum, they were not
allowed on to the campus; 15 of the CUUN members pelted them
with mud and rocks and set off small, homemade explosive
devices. One of the students reportedly aimed an explosive
launcher directly at the MRS leader. The MRS and PC
officials were not seriously injured during this attack and
evidently went on to deliver their presentations outside the
building.

4. (C) It was later reported that the Sandinista National
Liberation Front (FSLN) mayoral candidate in Leon, Manuel
Calderon, backed the actions of the students arguing and that
Dora Maria should not have &arrived at the mouth of the
wolf.8

FSLN Blocks Managua Mayoral Candidate Montealegre from
neighborhood
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5. (U) Also on June 26, a crowd of FSLN activists, waving
FSLN black and red banners, stopped Eduardo Montealegre, the
Vamos con Eduardo-Constitutional Liberal Party Alliance
(VCE-PLC) candidate for mayor of Managua, from campaigning in
a Managua neighborhood. The activists, waving banners and
sticks, blocked several streets and prevented Montealegre and
his campaign team from entering the area. On June 19, FSLN
and Citizens, Power Council (CPC) activists, similarly
prevented Montealegre from campaigning in two
Sandinista-controlled Managua neighborhoods, Grenada and
Pantasma. When the candidates arrived, the CPC activists and
other sympathizers started by yelling and shoving Montealegre
and his running mate, Quinonez; the confrontation escalated
to rock throwing and a hasty Montealegre retreat.

Comment
- - - -

6. (C) These attacks on opposition leaders and their
pro-democracy message suggest an increased potential for
political violence. Ortega,s growing unpopularity and the
new found ability of the democratic opposition to tap public
resentment through recent large, well-attended marches and
neighborhood door-to-door campaigns may be driving the FSLN
towards physical counter-measures.

TRIVELLI

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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