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Cablegate: Ortega Wants to Send Positive Message to U.S.,

VZCZCXYZ0016
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHZP #2269 3262043
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 222043Z NOV 06
FM AMEMBASSY PANAMA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 9386
INFO RUEHZA/WHA CENTRAL AMERICAN COLLECTIVE
RUEHMU/AMEMBASSY MANAGUA 0553
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC
RHMFISS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC
RUEKJCS/OSD WASHDC
RHMFISS/CDR USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL//J5/J2/POLAD//

C O N F I D E N T I A L PANAMA 002269

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR WHA/CEN
SOUTHCOM ALSO FOR POLAD

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/21/2016
TAGS: PGOV PREL PM
SUBJECT: ORTEGA WANTS TO SEND POSITIVE MESSAGE TO U.S.,
SAYS FM LEWIS


Classified By: AMBASSADOR WILLIAM EATON FOR REASONS 1.4 (B) AND (D).

SUMMARY
-------

1. (C) Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega told Panamanian
President Torrijos November 21 that he wants good relations
with the United States. His visit to Panama sends a signal
that Nicaragua can be a positive player in the region, FM
Samuel Lewis Navarro told the Ambassador the same day.
Panama stands ready to be a moderating force and offer Ortega
a counterweight to the influence of other leaders in the
region, added Lewis. END SUMMARY.

MAKING AMENDS WITH THE U.S.?
----------------------------

2. (C) In his two-hour meeting with President Torrijos,
Ortega emphasized his desire to have good relations with the
United States, said Lewis. Ortega does not want to create
divisions in the region and wants to send a pragmatic and
reconciliatory message, he added. For example, Ortega said
he will not reject CAFTA, as he does not want to be a
dividing force in the region. However, signing on to CAFTA
does not preclude Nicaragua's accession to other trade
agreements, possibly with the EU or ALBA.

NICARAGUA WANTS TO BE A REGIONAL PLAYER
---------------------------------------

3. (C) Ortega's choice of Panama as his first international
visit since his election as president is significant, said
Lewis, because some advisors had urged Ortega to visit
Venezuela or Cuba as a first destination. (Note: These
"advisors" may be Venezuela and Cuba themselves. End note.)
That Ortega opted for Panama, as recommended by another set
of advisors, shows moderation and that Central America is his
priority, said Lewis.

4. (C) Panama wants to help Ortega play a moderate and
conciliatory role in the region. Panama will do whatever it
can to create space for Ortega to maneuver in a constructive
way through the region, said Lewis. As part of such support,
the GOP sent President Torrijos's presidential airplane to
bring Ortega to Panama and take him to his next stops,
Guatemala and El Salvador. Lewis said Venezuela had offered
Ortega an airplane, and Panama's counteroffer was partly to
demonstrate that Nicaragua has other friends in the region.

COMMENT
-------

5. (C) Given the ruling PRD's (Revolutionary Democratic
Party) historical relationship with Ortega and the
Sandinistas, it is not surprising that the GOP is now
reaching out to Nicaragua and helping to shore up its
regional presence. (Note: More on the Panama-Nicaragua link
to be reported septel. End note.) Torrijos may also be
seeking to keep the peace in the region, which is in Panama's
interest, and to bolster Torrijos's leftist credentials. END
COMMENT.

EATON

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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