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Cablegate: Liberal Unity Moves Forward

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PP RUEHLMC
DE RUEHMU #2287 2821555
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 091555Z OCT 07
FM AMEMBASSY MANAGUA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1453
INFO RUEHZA/WHA CENTRAL AMERICAN COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUMIAAA/CDR USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEHLMC/MILLENNIUM CHALLENGE CORP WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L MANAGUA 002287

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/05/2017
TAGS: PGOV PREL KDEM NU
SUBJECT: LIBERAL UNITY MOVES FORWARD

REF: MANAGUA 2246

Classified By: Ambassador Paul Trivelli, reason 1.4 (b) and (d)

- - - -
Summary
- - - -

1. (C) Members of several Nicaraguan opposition parties came
together on October 4 to pledge their support for a new
"National Unity Alliance." It is too early to tell if this
new grouping will be the catalyst for building a strong
united opposition to the Sandinista regime of President
Ortega. The challenge for the Alliance is now to replicate
itself at the municipal level. If indeed the Nicaraguan
opposition can bridge their divisions to create a united,
pro-democratic and anti-corrupt opposition, we should be
prepared to help substantially in their efforts to secure a
more democratic future for Nicaragua. End summary.

- - - - - - -
Flags waving
- - - - - - -

2. (U) On October 4, more than a thousand jubilant
supporters of the democratic cause gathered in an overflowing
Managua conference hall, to welcome the formation of a new
"National Unity Alliance." To shouts of "unity, unity,
unity," supporters waved flags and cheered the cross-party
collection of opposition politicians. Most members of the
crowd were evidently supporters of the Liberal Alliance of
Nicaragua (ALN), but in the sea of flags there were several
red banners of the Constitutional Liberal Party (PLC), and
green flags of the Conservative Party (PC).

3. (U) ALN president Eduardo Montealegre was joined on the
stage by leaders of several of the smaller parties in the ALN
alliance. However, prominent members of the PLC on stage --
Jose Rizo, Jose Alvarado, and Enrique Quinonez -- were
careful to make clear that they were signing the unity
Manifesto in a "personal capacity," not as representatives of
their party. The crowd reserved its most thunderous applause
for Montealegre and Quinonez.

4. (C) Despite the happy show, there exists lingering doubt
that this "Unity Alliance" will translate into a lasting
alliance to defeat the Sandinistas. "This could be the start
of a snowball effect," Jose Rizo's private secretary
Alejandro Reyes told us. "At least, I hope it's not just a
'photo-op.'" Conservative Party leader Azalia Aviles told us
on October 5 that this was a "great start," but that the
challenge will be to build the Alliance at the municipal
level -- that kind of work takes significant time and
resources. She noted the inclusion of high profile figures
from the PLC, such as Rizo, Alvarado and Quinonez, should
help draw more support for the Alliance on the local level
from Liberals frustrated with ex-President Aleman's "pacto"
with Ortega. Aviles also reported that the "Unity Alliance"
is reaching out to the anti-Ortega Sandinista Renovation
Movement party (MRS) and the Nicaraguan Resistance Party
(PRN). The timing of when either would join is still up in
the air, and the PLC members participating in the Alliance
are resisting an official role for the MRS. Aviles and a
number of other signers will begin traveling this weekend
outside Managua to promote the new Alliance.

- - - -
Comment
- - - -

5. (C) There appears to be a real desire from the
non-Sandinista majority in Nicaragua to see the national
opposition leaders put their squabbles behind them. The
October 4 creation of a Unity Alliance could be the first
step in building a strong opposition free from the dominance
of the corruption and caudillismo represented by former
president and convicted felon Arnoldo Aleman. However, to
move the Alliance beyond a re-grouping of the parties at the
national leadership level into a functioning alliance at the
local level that can compete in next year's municipal
elections, they are going to need additional resources and
support.
TRIVELLI

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