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Cablegate: Emergency Action Committee (Eac) Meeting - Managua

P 172339Z NOV 08
FM AMEMBASSY MANAGUA
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3389

UNCLAS MANAGUA 001389

STATE FOR DS/IP, DS/IP/WHA, DS/EX/WHA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ASEC AEMR CASC NU
SUBJECT: EMERGENCY ACTION COMMITTEE (EAC) MEETING - MANAGUA

REF: Managua 1382

1. (SBU) AmEmb Managua's EAC convened on 11/17/2008 to discuss
recent events surrounding the municipal elections that were held on
11/9/2008. Members in attendance were AMB (Chair), DCM, RSO, POL,
ECON, ORA, DAO, MILGRP, DEA, PAO, MGT, CONS, IMO, HU, GSO, and
USAID.

2. (SBU) The following subjects were discussed:

- Post election civil unrest/violence.

The EAC discussed actions by the FSLN, the opposition, and the
Nicaraguan National Police response (or lack thereof) following
municipal elections that took place across Nicaragua on November 9,
2008. As reported in Reftel, violent demonstrations followed and
numerous injuries were reported.

On Sunday, November 16, 2008, opposition groups had planned a march
in the city of Leon but were largely blocked from attending by
supporters of the FSLN. FSLN managed to block the road to Leon
prior to most opposition members arriving. Civil unrest which
included violence in Leon was widely reported in the media. Police
were largely ineffective in controlling the situation and did little
to re-open the road.

In anticipation of a planned march on Tuesday, November 18, 2008,
FSLN groups have taken to the streets. FSLN groups first blocked
kilometer 12.5 of Carretera Sur (South Highway) to prohibit
opposition leaders from meeting. Their roadblock of Carretera Sur
later moved to kilometer 8.5. Several direct-hire American
personnel live in this direction and cannot go home for lack of
another route as of the writing of this cable. Note: Carretera Sur
is part of the Pan American highway.

Numerous other members of the FSLN have also blocked other main
routes which impact direct-hire American personnel. The Galerias
Mall area and the nearby Jean Paul Genie traffic circle have been
occupied by FSLN. A main difference from previous protests in this
area is that the RSO office received reports that FSLN members were
targeting vehicles for violence if they were believed to be driven
by opposition members.

Other areas affected by FSLN include the Pista Suburbana, a main
thoroughfare for inner-city traffic and the Metrocentro Mall/Hotel
complex which has been the main focal point of FSLN and opposition
gatherings due to it's proximity to the Nicaraguan Supreme Electoral
Council.

The situation remains fluid. Street protests and clashes are likely
to continue.

Activities observed during protests include, but are not limited to
tear gas, rubber bullets, setting off fireworks, rock-throwing, tire
burning, road blocks, bus/vehicle burning and some degree of
physical violence between law enforcement and protestors or between
rival political parties or individuals. Activities tend to
intensify in violence beginning in the early afternoon. Passersby
and observers are not immune from the effects of these protests.

Mission members and American citizens were reminded that even events
intended to be peaceful could turn confrontational and possibly
escalate into violence. Mission members and American citizens were
urged to avoid the affected areas if possible, and to exercise
caution if within the vicinity of any large gathering.

- Post's Emergency Notification Systems (PENS).

Post's emergency notification systems have been used regularly
during recent demonstrations and have proven reliable. Post's PENS
system includes both the E&E radio network and a telephone cascade
system.

As reported in Reftel, while radio notifications have been largely
successful, numerous Mission members reported problems with the E&E
radio alert portion. Due to limited radio repeater coverage, some
Mission members did not get the alert and have sporadic coverage
with Post 1. The EAC requested that Post's IMO request additional
funding to expand radio repeater coverage.

- PAS events (Cal Ripkin Jr./Denis Martinez visit).

The Cal Ripkin Jr./Dennis Martinez visit and the accompanying PAS
events were accomplished without incident. The final portion which
was scheduled for Leon today, November 17, 2008, was cancelled due
to safety/security concerns. The members of the Cal Ripkin
Jr./Dennis Martinez visit are scheduled to depart early morning on
November 18, 2008.

- Continuation of the situation.

The EAC agreed that it can expect both the FSLN and the opposition
groups will continue their activities into the foreseeable future.
The EAC will continue to monitor developments and take action as

appropriate.

- American citizen issues.

CONS stated it would issue another Warden Message on post-election
violence as well as the planned march route for November 18, 2008.


CONS will also suspend routine services that are scheduled for the
afternoon of November 18, 2008.

- Security Notice.

RSO will issue another Security Notice on post-election violence as
well as the planned march route for November 18, 2008.

- Tripwires.

EAC members were reminded that Post's tripwires are current and
available in the Emergency Action Plan (EAP). Note: The EAP was
updated in the Crisis Emergency Planning Application in May 2008 and
contact lists were updated following the summer turnover of
personnel.

It was agreed that agency/section heads would continue to have wide
discretion in granting liberal leave during this time of civil
unrest.

Mission members were reminded of the need to reduce unnecessary
classified holdings.

EAC members were reminded of the location of the alternate command
center which is located at the Ambassador's residence.

EAC members were reminded that they should begin to consider how
they would best implement extended hours of operations should it be
necessary to do so.

EAC members agreed that the Embassy would be open for business on
Tuesday, November 18, 2008 but members should monitor developments
to determine if that decision should change.

- TDY and other visitors.

EAC members agreed that at the current time, TDY and other visitors
could continue to come to Post providing their intended purpose
could be accomplished given current local conditions. It was agreed
that non-essential trips that could be postponed should be postponed
until things settle down.

- School security.

The RSO briefed that the American Nicaraguan School (ANS) which has
been most affected by the situation due to its location has been in
close contact with the office on the situation. The ANS is the
school attended by most Mission children and other American
citizens.

The ANS originally scheduled a short day in anticipation of the
planned march on November 18, 2008 but subsequently cancelled school
for the day following the commencement of unrest.

3. (U) Additional information will be reported as it is developed.
POC is RSO Chris Rooks, 011-505-252-7694 or via unclassified e-mail
at RooksCR@state.gov.

CALLAHAN

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