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Cablegate: Goh Signs Alba Document Congratulating Fsln On

VZCZCXRO1690
PP RUEHLMC
DE RUEHTG #1023/01 3192136
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 142136Z NOV 08
FM AMEMBASSY TEGUCIGALPA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8877
INFO RUEHZA/WHA CENTRAL AMERICAN COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS PRIORITY 0640
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ PRIORITY 0404
RUEHQT/AMEMBASSY QUITO PRIORITY 0512
RUMIAAA/CDR USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL PRIORITY
RUMIAAA/CDR USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL//CINC/POLAD// PRIORITY
RUEAHND/CDRJTFB SOTO CANO HO PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHMFISS/DIRJIATF SOUTH PRIORITY
RUEIDN/DNI WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUMIAAA/HQ USSOUTHCOM J5 MIAMI FL PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEHLMC/MILLENNIUM CHALLENGE CORP WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY 0827
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEHAAA/THE WHITE HOUSE WASHDC PRIORITY
RUMIAAA/USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 TEGUCIGALPA 001023

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/14/2018
TAGS: PGOV KDEM SOCI KJUS NU HO
SUBJECT: GOH SIGNS ALBA DOCUMENT CONGRATULATING FSLN ON
ELECTION VICTORY AND ACCUSING USG OF INTERFERENCE

REF: TEGUCIGALPA 849

Classified By: Ambassador Hugo Llorens, reasons 1.4 (b & d)

1. (C) Summary: Presidential Legal Advisor Milton Jimenez
announced on November 13 that the GOH had signed the
Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas' (ALBA) document
regarding the Nicaraguan elections. In a telephone call
initiated by the Ambassador, President Manuel "Mel" Zelaya
explained his actions as simply an expression of solidarity
with Ortega, who had described U.S. offenses that he
considered "beyond normal diplomatic activity." When the
Ambassador described the systemic, widespread fraud that had
been reported by international observers and NGOs, Zelaya
feigned ignorance, and asked that the Ambassador provide the
evidence for him to review, which we have done. The
Ambassador later received a call from Jimenez, who said
Zelaya had asked him to look at the allegations that
Nicaragua's elections had been fraudulent. Jimenez did admit
that he had held the press conference because Zelaya "told
him to." The Ambassador noted that there had been no Embassy
intervention in the Nicaraguan elections and that most of the
concerns about the massive electoral fraud had come from
Nicaraguans themselves. The Ambassador also conveyed our
displeasure that the Honduran government had once again
chosen to take sides on an issue involving the U.S. with the
third country as was the case with during the credentialing
ceremony. He said such statements were not conducive to
productive relations. In a subsequent conversation with
Jimenez, the Ambassador delivered reftel talking points on
the Nicaraguan elections.
End Summary.

2. (U) Jimenez held a press conference on November 13 at the
Presidential Palace where he announced that the GOH had
signed the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas' (ALBA)
document regarding the Nicaraguan local elections, which
specifically condemns U.S. Ambassador to Nicaragua Robert
Callahan for "interference" and creating a "destabilizing"
atmosphere in Nicaragua. The document congratulates the FSLN
and Daniel Ortega for their "historic victory," and condemns
the violence perpetrated by the "right" in Nicaragua.

3. (C) The Ambassador called President Manuel "Mel" Zelaya on
November 14 to get an explanation for these moves,
explaining that there was no USG involvement in the internal
affairs of Nicaragua. Zelaya explained that Ortega had
called him to ask for his solidarity on this issue, and gave
alleged examples of how the U.S. Embassy had gone beyond what
Ortega considered "normal diplomatic practice." For this
reason, Zelaya said he decided to support Ortega and sign the
ALBA statement. Zelaya added that he had not received any
requests for solidarity from the USG on this topic. The
Ambassador described the widespread, systemic fraud that have
been reported from multiple Nicaraguan and international
sources. He asserted that this was not a USG issue, but an
international one, adding Canada, the European Union and the
United States had all made statements regarding the massive
fraud. Zelaya answered that he was unaware of this
information and asked that the Ambassador forward it to him
for review and consideration. The Ambassador said he would
be sending it to Zelaya and would follow-up with him
subsequently to directly discuss this issue.

4. (C) Following this conversation, under instructions from
Zelaya, Presidential Advisor Milton Jimenez called the
Ambassador to review the matter. The Ambassador told Jimenez
that this was the second time Honduras had taken sides
against the Untied States in a dispute that did not concern
it. The Ambassador added that if the GOH were considering
making such a statement, they should have first called us to
consider our side of the issue. Jimenez agreed that a call
would have been prudent, but said that he was "instructed" to

TEGUCIGALP 00001023 002 OF 002


hold the press conference. Subsequently, the Ambassador
called Milton Jimenez again and delivered reftel talking
points on the Nicaraguan elections and urged the Honduran
government to work within the OAS and SICA to seriously
address the freedom and fairness of the Nicaraguan elections.
Jimenez said he would immediately call President Zelaya who
was in El Salvador and brief him on our conversation.

5. (C) Comment: We believe that the public statements in
support of the FSLN were orchestrated to keep support alive
in the ALBA camp and continue to earn rebel laurels for
Honduras. It is the second time that Zelaya has joined his
ALBA cohorts against the United States the last being the
credentialing mini-crisis in September. It is possible
Zelaya is looking to see how far he can push the USG,
especially with a contentious and chaotic primary election on
the horizon. We plan to work the Nicaraguan elections issue
directly with Zelaya. On the bilateral side, we will focus
our energies on the primaries scheduled for November 30. The
holding of free and fair primaries will be a key step in
supporting the democratic process in Honduras and ensuring a
smooth transition beyond Zelaya. End Comment.
LLORENS

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