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Cablegate: Nicaragua: Salinas Reappointed As President of Intur

VZCZCXYZ0000
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHMU #2551 3451520
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 111520Z DEC 07
FM AMEMBASSY MANAGUA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 1772
INFO RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC
RUEHZA/WHA CENTRAL AMERICAN COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS MANAGUA 002551

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR WHA/CEN TLERSTEN, EB/IFD/OIA, L/CID, WHA/EPSC
TREASURY FOR INL MDONOVAN AND GCHRISTOPOLUS

STATE PASS USTR

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EINV ECON EINV NU
SUBJECT: NICARAGUA: SALINAS REAPPOINTED AS PRESIDENT OF INTUR

REF: A) MANAGUA 2442 B) MANAGUA 452 C) MANAGUA 341

1. (SBU) Summary: President Ortega reappointed Mario Salinas as
President of the Nicaraguan Tourism Institute (INTUR) on November
23. Since Salinas' departure from INTUR in June, the institute had
been paralyzed, offering no strategic vision or support to the
sector. Tourism experts and businessmen have welcomed Salinas'
reappointment. End Summary.

2. (U) On November 23 President Ortega reappointed real estate
developer Mario Salinas as the Executive President of the Nicaraguan
Tourism Institute (INTUR). Salinas left INTUR in June reportedly
because of policy and management conflicts with former Intur
Vice-President Nubia Arcia (ref A). Ninette Marcenaro, who is
currently Vice-President of INTUR and has been serving as Acting
President since August, will remain as Vice President.

3. (SBU) Since Salinas' departure in June, INTUR has been
paralyzed, offering no strategic vision or support to the tourism
sector. In addition, INTUR lost most of its institutional expertise
and management as approximately 60 professional staffers were either
purged for FSLN party loyalists or quit to pursue other employment
opportunities with less stress and uncertainty. Industry experts
and businesspeople told Econoffs that institutional problems and
lack of expertise among new staff members has prevented INTUR from
actively promoting Nicaragua's tourism sector, approving projects,
compiling statistical data, or offering a strategic vision for the
industry.

4. (U) Businesspeople and industry experts welcomed the
reappointment of Salinas because he is an entrepreneur involved in
the sector who understands their concerns, and has a strategic
vision to promote Nicaragua's tourism industry (Ref B). They are
optimistic that Salinas will rebuild the expertise and
professionalism INTUR needs.

5. (SBU) Comment: The reappointment of Salinas as President of INTUR
provides a ray of hope for the tourism sector in 2008. Industry
insiders consider 2007 a lost year (Ref C). Other entrepreneurs
hope that the paralysis at INTUR would serve as a good lesson for
the Ortega administration; that is, not to put politics above
pragmatism. End Comment.

TRIVELLI

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