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Cablegate: Election Time in Djulovac

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

UNCLAS ZAGREB 002296

SIPDIS


SENSITIVE

DEPT FOR EUR/SCE
USAID/E&E FOR ACONVERY

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PHUM EAID KDEM HR
SUBJECT: ELECTION TIME IN DJULOVAC


SUMARY
---------

1. (U) ON OCTOBER 22, WE VISITED DJULOVAC MUNICIPALITY TO
OPEN A USAID AND EUCOMM FUNDED SCHOOL REHABILITATION PROJECT,
A COMMUNITY CENTER, AND A ROAD PROJECT. SMILING VILLAGERS,
SINGING STUDENTS, AND TABLES LADEN WITH LOCAL DELICACIES AND
HOMEMADE BRANDIES GREETED US, THE LOCAL POLITICAL
ESTABLISHMENT, AND UNTOLD OTHERS AT THREE RIBBON CUTTING
CEREMONIES. AS IF IT WAS HIS DAUGHTER'S WEDDING, MAYOR MILAN
GRAHOVAC, OF THE CROATIAN PEOPLE'S PARTY (HSS), ATTENDED TO
EVERY DETAIL AT A SIT DOWN LUNCH FOR APPROXIMATELY THREE
HUNDRED. IT IS ELECTION TIME IN CROATIA, AND INCUMBENTS ARE
TAKING EVERY OPPORTUNITY TO DEMONSTRATE WHO IS BRINGING HOME
THE BACON. END SUMMARY.

A GOOD DAY IN DJULOVAC
--------------------------------

2. (U) ON OCTOBER 22 THE AMBASSADOR AND USAID DIRECTOR
VISITED DJULOVAC MUNICIPALITY IN WESTERN SLAVONIA TO OPEN AN
ELEMENTARY SCHOOL RECONSTRUCTION PROJECT, A COMMUNITY CENTER,
AND AN 8 KM ROAD RECONSTRUCTION PROJECT. USAID SPENT
APPROXIMATELY $1.2 MILLION AND EUCOMM AN ADDITIONAL $220,000
IN THE MUNICIPALITY, WHICH HAS A POPULATION OF JUST OVER
4,100. THE MUNICIPALITY, OVER TWO HOURS BY CAR DUE EAST OF
ZAGREB, WAS ON THE FRONT LINES OF THE 1991-1995 WAR, LYING
THE FARTHEST NORTH THAT SERB PARAMILITARIES PENETRATED IN
CENTRAL CROATIA. DURING THE WAR 55 PERCENT OF THE REGION'S
HOUSING STOCK WAS EITHER BADLY DAMAGED OR DESTROYED. SIX
VILLAGES WERE COMPLETELY DESTROYED AND REMAIN UNINHABITED
TODAY.

3. (U) THE MAJORITY OF ETHNIC SERBS LIVING IN THE REGION FLED
IN THE BEGINNING OF 1992. THE TUDJMAN GOVERNMENT ALLOCATED
EMPTY HOMES BELONGING TO ETHNIC SERBS FOR THE "TEMPORARY USE"
OF 1,950 KOSOVO CROATS AND 250 BOSNIA CROATS WHO SETTLED IN
THE AREA. WHILE THE POPULATION HAS NEARLY RETURNED TO ITS
PREWAR LEVEL, THE COMPOSITION HAS CHANGED DRAMATICALLY, AND
THE CHALLENGE REMAINS TO FIND PERMANENT HOUSING SOLUTIONS FOR
SETTLERS (KOSOVAR AND BOSNIAN CROATS) SO THAT PROPERTIES CAN
BE RETURNED TO OWNERS (SERBS).

4. (U) IN A MODEL OF COOPERATION, IN 2001 THE MUNICIPAL
AUTHORITIES, ASSOCIATION OF KOSOVO CROATS "LETNICA," AND THE
NGO "SERB DEMOCRATIC FORUM" PRESENTED A JOINT PLAN FOR
RECONSTRUCTION AND DEVELOPMENT TO THE GOC AND INTERNATIONAL
DONORS. FUNDING WAS SECURED, AND THE PLAN HAS BEEN
SUCCESSFULLY IMPLEMENTED, AS EVIDENCED BY INCREASED RETURNS
OF REFUGEES. HOWEVER, UNEMPLOYMENT AND ECONOMIC STAGNATION
REMAIN THE MAJOR PROBLEMS FOR THE REGION. ACCORDING TO
OFFICIAL FIGURES ONLY 350 PEOPLE ARE EMPLOYED IN THE
MUNICIPALITY, WITH OVER HALF IN THE FORESTRY INDUSTRY.
OUTSIDE SMALL-SCALE AGRICULTURAL BASED PRODUCTION -- HONEY,
WINE, AND CRAFTS -- FEW REAL POSSIBILITIES EXIST FOR THE
HILLY AND ISOLATED REGION.

5. (SBU) DJULOVAC AND ITS ENVIRONS IS A STRONGHOLD OF THE
HSS, THE SECOND LEADING PARTY IN THE RULING COALITION AND THE
THIRD LARGEST PARTY IN PARLIAMENT. WHILE MORE COMFORTABLE
SITTING ON A TRACTOR THAN BEHIND A DESK, GRAHOVAC, LIKE ANY
POLITICAL PRO, WAS QUICK TO SEE THE CAMPAIGN ADVANTAGES
INHERENT IN THE DAY'S EVENTS. THE RECONSTRUCTION AND
BUILDING PROVIDED EMPLOYMENT, AND THE SCHOOLS WERE SORELY
NEEDED FOR THE LARGER AND BURGEONING POPULATION OF 700
SCHOOL-AGE CHILDREN -- A "SMALL" FAMILY OF KOSOVAR CROATS HAS
SIX CHILDREN.

6. (SBU) THE MAYOR HAD LONG LOOKED FORWARD TO THE THE DAY'S
CELEBRATIONS, WHICH CULMINATED IN A HUGE LUNCH IN THE TOWN'S
MAIN HALL. LIKE THE FATHER OF THE BRIDE, GRAHOVAC WENT FROM
TABLE-TO-TABLE -- FIREMEN, TEACHERS, CIVIC AND BUSINESS
LEADERS -- MAKING SURE EVERYONE'S GLASS WAS FULL. HSS
LEADERS, INCLUDING TWO ADDITIONAL HSS COUNTY PREFECTS FROM
NEIGHBORING COUNTIES -- WERE CONFIDENT THEY WOULD DOMINATE
THE UPCOMING ELECTIONS IN THE REGION. THE BAND -- WE WERE
TOLD A MIXED SERB AND CROAT ENSEMBLE -- PLAYED ON, AND FOR
ONE DAY, AT LEAST, DESPITE WHATEVER PROBLEMS THERE MAY BE,
THERE WAS SOMETHING TO CELEBRATE IN DJULOVAC.
FRANK

NNNN

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