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Cablegate: Fsln Government Plan, Part I


DE RUEHMU #1953/01 2491700
P 061700Z SEP 06





E.O. 12958: N/A

1. SUMMARY: The Sandinista Front for National Liberation's
(FSLN) government plan for the upcoming election promises a
world of social programs and "quick fixes" to real problems
while ignoring past statements and actions. FSLN
presidential candidate Daniel Ortega expanded the plan and
made his intentions clearer during his 19th of July speech.
Other party candidates have been critical of the plan and
Ortega's behavior. This cable is the first of four, and
covers summaries of the content of the plan, as outlined in
the formal announcement and subsequent public announcements.
Subsequent cables will include notable FSLN party members who
contribute to policy, an assessment of the plan, and the
strategy behind it. END SUMMARY.

2. The FSLN traces its roots to the guerrilla group founded
in 1961, and came to power during the overthrow of Anastasio
Somozo Debayle's dictatorship in March 1979. The FSLN, under
the leadership of a nine man National Directorate, ran the
Nicaraguan government as a socialist collective dictatorship
until the democratic reforms of 1990 when Violeta Chamorro
was elected. Since then, the FSLN has functioned as a
political party unsuccessfully running Daniel Ortega as its
presidential candidate in three elections, but nonetheless
winning the majority of municipal government positions.
During Arnoldo Aleman's administration, when the FSLN held
the majority of seats in the National Assembly, Ortega and
Aleman signed a power sharing pact that has enabled the two
parties to control the political sphere and change electoral
law in favor of the FSLN. As he prepares for the November
election, Ortega functions as a caudillo, intimidating party
members and voters. The FSLN continues to reflect the
popular socialism that dominated party thinking during the

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Summary of the Published FSLN Government Plan
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3. Presented before the National Assembly on May 28, the
FSLN government plan was proclaimed "a cultural, ethical, and
socio-economic plan" rather than a political plan. It
comprises six promises to the people, as well as additional
policy proclamations, as outlined below:

--Promise I: Employment, Credit, and Business: To ensure
employment and foster business, a Development Bank for
Production will be created that will offer accessible
interest rates according to production costs and provide the
economy a jump start. A Community Bank, at the municipal
level will also be created which will feature a Rotating
Production Fund for special programs. A Law of Agriculture
and Nutritional Security, the details of which are not given,
will be written and passed in order to assure that every
citizen has the necessary food. The Government of
Reconstruction and National Unity (GRUN) is seeking
co-investment where the state will share with the national
and international private sector, including controlling a
percentage of key services, such as energy and
communications. The GRUN will focus on an energy
transformation that will move the country away from oil and
towards alternative energy including biomass, ethanol, and
hydroelectric power. Energy adaptation is considered one of
the first steps toward integration with ALBA, as demonstrated
in the fertilizer agreement that rural mayors signed with
Venezuela. The plan also reasserts Nicaragua's claim over
the San Juan river.

--Promise II: Universal Health Care and Free Primary and
Secondary Education: The GRUN considers preventative health
care a national priority and plans to ensure that access to
vaccinations, health education, industrial security, and
worker healthcare plans are universal. They will increase
the number of hospitals and healthcare centers, which they
plan to finance with the sale of imported petroleum from
Venezuela. Doctors from Cuba will help train Nicaraguan
medical staff. Education at all levels has consistently been
part of the FSLN platform and this plan is consistent with
that. The GRUN will guarantee that the 6 percent of the
National Budget, constitutionally required to be allotted to
state universities, will be delivered every year in a timely
manner. They will also guarantee scholarships for
outstanding students. Asserting that primary and secondary
education are a central element of dignity and human
development they will guarantee free education for all
school-age children. They also plan on elevating the
scientific and technical level of education.

--Promise III: Decentralization, Autonomy, and Governability:
The GRUN promises to honor the 10 percent budget allotment to
the Municipalities that is required by constitutional law.
The plan claims that they will give the departments the
support that they need without infringing on their
sovereignty and that stronger relationships with the
departments and citizens will improve governability. They
also claim to support the autonomy of the Atlantic regions
more than past governments have done. Their alliance with
Yatama, the indigenous party of the region, is championed as
representative of their connection and preeminence in the

--Promise IV: Citizen Security: The FSLN government will work
with communities and the National Police to take back the
streets. According to the plan, Nicaragua's gang problem can
only be solved by addressing the problems created through
social exclusion. The newly elected government will
strengthen the Police in order to fight organized crime and
narcotrafficking. They will also work cooperatively with the
people to root out corruption and to root out extreme poverty.

--Promise V: The Environment and Natural Disasters: The plan
focuses on the need to strengthen the emergency reaction
capabilities of the country in order to prevent unnecessary
loses of life. They will also prioritize the protection of
the environment as one of the country's most important
natural resources.

--Promise VI: From External Dependence to National
Sovereignty: While Nicaragua needs and appreciates the
support given by foreign nations, the plan outlines moving
away from external aid dependence as a priority. Combating
poverty, creating employment, and developing Nicaragua will
require a different kind of support from the international
community, principally, focusing on increasing the quality of
life for citizens. According to the plan, a newly elected
FSLN government will keep CAFTA under review in order to
determine if it is the best economic program to protect
Nicaraguan producers. ALBA is considered a viable option as
a market that will better meet the needs of the country.

4. Additional key points in the plan:

-- placement of 50 percent women in all government
organizations and all positions as part of expanded respect,
dignity and equality for all women
-- support for farmers (campesinos) is a "national priority,"
including financial and technical support, employment
opportunities, legal security of property, and quality roads
for product transportation
-- support for small businesses and medium level production
-- equality of salaries in the civil services and more job
security for public servants
-- opposition to war of any kind which it does not see as a
viable means of communication between nations. Therefore,
the war in Afghanistan and Iraq should be stopped and
Guantanamo Bay should be closed.
-- establishment of positive relationships with world
governments, including the United States, with whom they seek
to set up political, cultural, social, and commercial
-- an international economic policy that consists of a
unified Latin America, under an open, diversified and
technologically advanced domestic model
-- respect for private property, no confiscations or
-- more equitable taxation system and reduction in tax evasion

Government Plan Reflected in 19 de Julio Speeches
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5. Although the FSLN's plan was formally announced and
outlined on May 28th, Daniel Ortega's and Jaime Morales' 19
July speeches -- the day Nicaraguans celebrate the Sandinista
victory over the Somoza dictatorship -- served as important
policy signposts. More of the stereotypical and troublesome
aspects of the FSLN platform were fully voiced during the
celebration. Wearing a Nicaraguan flag as a cape and dressed
in a white shirt and blue jeans, Ortega declared the FSLN
against the "savage capitalism" under which Nicaragua
suffers, while paradoxically vowing to help foster
development and growth through a free market economy.

6. Ortega made a point to emphasize his alliances with Fidel
Castro and Hugo Chavez as the main avenue forward and
promised to bring cheap energy from Venezuela and doctors
from Cuba. While reiterating his past apologies for actions
taken in the 1980's he vowed to reinstate the successful
policies of that period such as a close working relationship
with Cuba and a mixed economy. He vowed to reinstitute
entirely free education. He also appealed to Nicaraguans
living abroad, promising his government will help Nicaraguan
expats gain legal status and the right to send back the full
value of their remittances.

7. PLC candidate Jose Rizo, as well as members of the
current government, criticized Ortega for his lack of decorum
when he wore the Nicaraguan flag as a cape to give his 19 de
Julio speech. He claimed that Ortega "parading around like
Zorro" showed a lack of respect for the flag and its
significance and that Nicaraguans should be offended. He
felt that this is no time for games and that Ortega should be
taking the process seriously. Also, he told local press that
Ortega was trying to liken himself to Bolivian leader Evo
Morales. ALN candidate Eduardo Montealegre also criticized
Ortega's action. MRS candidate Edmundo Jarquin questioned
Ortega for riding into the celebration on a luxurious horse
saying that his behavior was reminiscent of the Somoza era.
(Note: Jarquin and his vice presidential candidate, Carlos
Mejia Godoy, rode into the plaza in Masaya on donkeys. END

Modifications to the Plan
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8. Before his speech on 19 July, Ortega reportedly convened
regional and international economic experts to refine his
economic plan, which has been criticized as not viable. One
recent modification is the construction of a pan-Nicaraguan
canal that he claims will enhance Nicaragua's production
capacity. Abortion has also been brought to the table and
added to the FSLN plan after MRS candidate Edmundo Jarquin
declared himself in favor of limited therapeutic abortion --
resulting in an onslaught of criticism and declarations from
rival parties. Each of the other four parties in November's
race, including the FSLN, has come out strongly against
abortions of any kind. Led by Ortega's wife, Rosario
Murillo, the pro-life campaign came as a surprise considering
the FSLN's consistent support for therapeutic abortion.
During Daniel Ortega's government in the 1980's, therapeutic
abortion was practiced in the state women's hospital as has
been allowed by the Nicaraguan penal code, which has been in
force since 1974. The FSLN's platform transformation is seen
as an attempt to sway the support of the Catholic church in
favor of Ortega.

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