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Cablegate: Honduran President Maduro Addresses Nation On Iraq:

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS TEGUCIGALPA 000725

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

STATE FOR WHA, WHA/CEN, WHA/EPSC, AND WHA/PDA
STATE FOR EB, IIP/G/WHA, AND DS/OP/WHA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV ECON EPET OIIP ASEC IZ HO
SUBJECT: HONDURAN PRESIDENT MADURO ADDRESSES NATION ON IRAQ:
CALLS FOR CALM AND DOES NOT MENTION SUPPORT FOR U.S. POLICY

REF: Tegucigalpa 698

1. (U) Summary: Honduran President Ricardo Maduro addressed
the nation the evening of March 20 on the war in Iraq and
possible implications for Honduras. His basic message was
that the war may cause hardships, but there was no reason to
panic and that Hondurans should stick together. He stated
that oil importers have assured the government that there
will be no problem with the supply of gasoline. Maduro also
announced that he had cancelled his planned trip to Italy
for the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) meeting due to
the war. He did not mention GOH support for U.S. policy on
Iraq. End Summary.

2. (U) Begin text of informal Embassy translation of
President Maduro's speech:

Fellow-citizens, as you all know, the United States, leading
a coalition of countries, has begun the attack on Iraq,
which will last until the leader of that country steps
aside.

These are moments of worldwide uncertainty and even though
we are far from the war scenario, it is possible that there
will be some effect on Honduras. For this reason, I
cancelled my trip to the meeting with the Governors of the
Inter-American Development Bank in Milan, because these also
are moments to be together and united in our country.

I would like to begin by sending a calming message to the
citizens of Honduras and by discussing the security measures
that I have taken to guarantee security.

On the issue of energy, I have once again talked with the
fuel distributors who have guaranteed the supply of all
petroleum derivatives.

We have initiated at the government level a program of fuel
savings and I believe it would be a good idea if citizens
would also voluntarily undertake such measures.

Simple steps such as using public transportation whenever
possible; avoiding rush hours, making combined trips with
friends or co-workers - if all citizens would undertake
these - without doubt the consumption of fuel would go down
without any noticeable effect on our way of living.

I am also making sure that the important basics such as
medicine and food continue to be available.

Citizens should keep calm at all times and go to their
places of work, production and study, so that we can
maintain the nation's progress.

Even though we are not taking an active part in the
conflict, I have ordered extraordinary measures to guarantee
the security of airports, power centers, marine ports,
hydroelectric dams and thermal plants.

Today more than ever, the nation, everyone in Honduras
should be united because together we can overcome obstacles
and only together will everything be all right.

Good night.

End text of informal Embassy translation of President
Maduro's speech.

3. (SBU) Comment: Post is disappointed to note that unlike
his March 18 statement in support of U.S. policy on Iraq
(reftel), Maduro made no mention in his speech of the fact
that the GOH is supporting U.S. policy on Iraq. Whether
deliberate or unintentional, the result is that Maduro may
not be seen as forcefully backing U.S. policy, after several
GOH statements of support in recent days. While Post notes
that Iraq has yet to become a major issue in Honduras,
several opposition Liberal Party congressmen have spoken out
against the war, and a sizeable demonstration against U.S.
policy by various organizations is planned for Monday, March
24 outside the Embassy. Post will continue to urge the GOH
to use public statements to support U.S. policy on Iraq.
End Comment.

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