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Cablegate: Nuncio: "An Ortega Victory Is Possible but Not

VZCZCXRO9117
PP RUEHROV
DE RUEHMU #2276 2861908
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 131908Z OCT 06
FM AMEMBASSY MANAGUA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7890
INFO RUEHZA/WHA CENTRAL AMERICAN COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHROV/AMEMBASSY VATICAN PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L MANAGUA 002276

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR WHA/CEN

E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/13/2016
TAGS: KDEM NU PGOV PHUM PINR PREL
SUBJECT: NUNCIO: "AN ORTEGA VICTORY IS POSSIBLE BUT NOT
PROBABLE"

REF: A. VATICAN 0213

B. MANAGUA 1370
C. 2005 MANAGUA 2738

Classified By: Ambassador Paul A. Trivelli. Reasons 1.4 (B,D).

1. (C) Nuncio Jean Paul Gobel believes that the victory of
Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) presidential
candidate Daniel Ortega is "possible but not probable."
However, he warned Ambassador and polcouns on October 12 that
popular support for the FSLN has grown in some areas of the
country, including traditionally Conservative Granada, where
"entire barrios" now support the FSLN. He observed that
while deceased Sandinista Renovation Movement (MRS) candidate
Herty Lewites had attracted many traditional FSLN voters,
Lewites' successor Edmundo Jarquin appeals more to
intellectuals than to common folk, many of whom may migrate
back to the FSLN.

2. (C) Gobel mentioned that he had not received notice from
the Vatican on Ambassador Rooney's October 10 meeting with
the Holy See's Undersecretary for Relations with States,
Monsignor Pietro Parolin (Ref. A), concerning Cardinal Obando
y Bravo's political activities, explaining that this type of
report would be sent to him via diplomatic pouch -- a slow
process. The Ambassador noted that Obando's pro-FSLN stance
is troubling from both political and religious perspectives
and signals a disturbing shift from Obando's anti-Sandinista
views in the 1980s. Gobel reported that in June the Bishops'
Conference agreed to issue a pastoral letter, released on
August 15 and calling on Nicaraguans to vote and consider the
past records of the candidates -- an indirect reference to
Daniel Ortega. Gobel suggested that Church leaders will
continue to refer to the letter before the November 5
elections, but he doubts that the Church will issue an
additional, more direct communique, as doing so would require
a unanimous vote.

3. (C) Referring to the Church's traditional reluctance to
chastise its leadership, Gobel doubted that the Vatican will
call in Obando y Bravo. However, he noted that Parolin "is
young and a Salesian, who might see things differently."
Gobel added that Parolin is also a classmate of the Cardenal
of Tegucigalpa, who met with Gobel in Managua two weeks ago.
The Cardenal assured Gobel that he would raise the issue of
Obando with Parolin.

4. (C) To the Ambassador's query over the participation of
the Church in electoral observation via NGO Etica y
Transparencia -- specifically Archbishop Leopold Brenes' and
Bishop Hombach's (Granada) interests in the matter -- Gobel
replied that he opposes the participation of the Church as an
institution, but favors the involvement of individual
Catholics. (NOTE: Gobel left the clear impression that hi in
fact dissuaded the Archbishop from mounting a separate Church
observation mission.) He also opined that the Church's open
leadership of a recent pro-life, anti-abortion march in
Managua that ended with the presentation of a document to
National Assembly lawmakers, had crossed the line, in his
view, between the Church's role and politics.

5. (C) The Nuncio also commented on the sorry state of the
Liberal Constitutional Party (PLC), observing that PLC leader
Arnoldo Aleman "is not helping Rizo and appears to want him
to lose." Troubled by the ego-centric nature of Nicaraguan
politics, Gobel added that even PLC National Assembly
candidates do not care if Rizo wins, recounting his recent
meeting with PLC National Assembly candidate Francisco
Aguirre Sacasa, who unabashedly informed him that neither
Montealegre nor Rizo is a shoe-in. However, regardless of
the election outcome, Aguirre Sacasa was confident that he
will gain a seat in the Assembly (he is second on the PLC
slate), which was all that appeared to matter to the
ex-Foreign Minister.
TRIVELLI

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