Cablegate: Friends of Mauricio: Funes Needs Your Help


DE RUEHSN #0789/01 2332211
O 212211Z AUG 09


E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/10/2019

Classified By: Charge d'Affaires, for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)

1. (S) Summary: Leaders of the Friends of Mauricio movement,
August 21 the movement is formalizing itself and changing its
name to the Citizen Movement for Change. They said Funes is
concerned about his personal security, physical security at
the Presidential offices, and suspects hard-line FMLN
elements are intercepting Funes' and his inner circle's
telephone calls. XXXXXXXXXXXX expressed disappointment in the
performance of intelligence service chief Eduardo Linares and
described the decision making process that led to Manuel
Melgar being named Minister for Public Security and Justice
(in lieu of FMLN hard-liner Jose Luis Merino.) End Summary.

2. (C) XXXXXXXXXXXX, told Charge and Emboffs
August 21 that the Friends of Mauricio movement was moving to
formalize its status and had just selected Funes himself as
the President of the (now renamed) Citizen Movement for
Change. XXXXXXXXXXXX said there were no immediate plans to convert
the Citizen Movement for Change into a political party but
did not rule out that possibility. He said the near-term
goal of the organization was to accompany President Funes as
he governed and to provide him non-FMLN political support
during his term. He said the Friends of Mauricio
organization in the U.S. would likely move to formalize its
status, too.

3. (S) XXXXXXXXXXXX said Funes and those in his inner circle were
concerned about both his personal security as well as
technical security of their communications. XXXXXXXXXXXX also
lamented the state of physical security around Casa
Presidencial, the presidential office compound. XXXXXXXXXXXX said he
suspected elements in the (left-wing) FMLN were monitoring
phone calls of the President, XXXXXXXXXXXX, and other non-FMLN
members of the Government. XXXXXXXXXXXX said Funes would welcome
U.S. assistance in both areas. Charge offered to arrange a
meeting with Funes and appropriate Embassy staff; XXXXXXXXXXXX

4. (S) XXXXXXXXXXXX said he and the President were disappointed in
the new Director of the Salvadoran State Intelligence
Organization (OIE), Eduardo Linares (aka Douglas Santamaria).
Despite high hopes initially, XXXXXXXXXXXX said almost three
months into the Funes administration, he was still not
receiving daily briefings from OIE. He recounted other
instances where he felt Funes was ill-served by the OIE under
Linares, including the surprise arrival of substantial
numbers of protesters at Casa Presidencial, complete with
portable toilets, with no advance warning. In another case,
in the days following Zelaya's expulsion from Honduras,
Venezuela FM Maduro arrived in a BRV plane in San Salvador,
met with senior, hard-line elements of the FMLN, and OIE
never reported this XXXXXXXXXXXX. (Note: XXXXXXXXXXXX
learned of the visit from a confidante at the airport.)

5. (S) XXXXXXXXXXXX also expressed hope that the USG would be able
to provide assistance for blocking mobile phone transmissions
from Salvadoran prisons; Charge pointed out that assistance
would be available, too, but through different channels, much
of it part of Plan Merida. However, he said, the
complicating factor remained Minister of Public Security and
Justice Manuel Melgar. Charge said we expect to receive
shortly instructions to meet with Funes on the subject.
XXXXXXXXXXXX said Melgar's appointment was not taken to display
any disrespect to the U.S., but had been a compromise with
the FMLN, which had sought appointment of FMLN hard-liner
Jose Luis Merino (aka Ramiro Vasquez) as Public Security

6. (S) Funes, he said, had pushed back and preferred to name
Melgar to that position because he had developed a certain
rapport with Melgar during the campaign. XXXXXXXXXXXX described
Melgar's behavior around Funes during the campaign as
compliant and loyal to Funes, characteristics he said would
not have been the case with Merino. XXXXXXXXXXXX said Funes would
consider new information on Melgar and take appropriate
action, fully cognizant of Melgar's linkage to the 1985 Zona
Rosa killings.

7. (S) Comment: The message from XXXXXXXXXXXX on behalf
of Funes was clear: we have great confidence in the USG, real
security concerns, and need your help. XXXXXXXXXXXX

8. (S) Comment continued: The stress of the bifurcated
Funes/FMLN relationship continues to manifest itself in the
GOES. While mediocre performance by two FMLN members in key
positions may provide Funes the pretext for a cabinet
shuffle, it does not guarantee the FMLN will
take their
removal lying down. FMLN leaders are
likely to demand that
their quota of positions in the GOES remain stable, and have
shown their ability to be disruptive when they don't get
their way.

© Scoop Media

World Headlines


Oxfam: Afghanistan Faces Multiple Crises

ActionStation, Amnesty International Aotearoa New Zealand, Christian World Service, Oxfam Aotearoa and World Vision New Zealand say that while Afghanistan faces chronic poverty, persistent droughts, war, the Covid-19 pandemic and an economic crisis, winter is about to bring a whole new set of challenges...More>>

AFTINET: New COVID Strain Postpones WTO Meeting

The World Trade Organisation (WTO) Ministerial Meeting scheduled for November 30-December 3 has been postponed indefinitely because the new Omicron strain of the COVID-19 virus in African countries with low vaccination rates prevents many African and other delegations from attending the meeting...

Human Rights: China Journalist Jailed For COVID Reporting Seriously Ill, Must Be Released

UN human rights experts* today urged China to immediately release imprisoned citizen journalist and woman human rights defender Zhang Zhan on humanitarian grounds, saying her health is deteriorating rapidly and her life is in danger... More>>

Focus On: UN SDGs

Food: Three Billion People Cannot Afford A Healthy Diet

Approximately three billion people, almost 40 per cent of the world’s population, cannot afford a healthy diet and another one billion people would join their ranks should further unpredictable events reduce incomes by one-third, the UN food agency said, launching a new report on Tuesday... More>>

COP26: Enough Of ‘Treating Nature Like A Toilet’ – Guterres Brings Stark Call For Climate Action To Glasgow
As the World Leaders Summit opened on day two of COP26, UN chief António Guterres sent a stark message to the international community. “We are digging our own graves”, he said, referring to the addiction to fossil fuels which threatens to push humanity and the planet, to the brink, through unsustainable global heating... More>>

Climate: ‘Vague’ Net Zero Promises Not Enough: Planet Still On Track For Catastrophic Heating, UN Report Warns

New and updated commitments made ahead of the pivotal climate conference COP26 in the past months are a positive step forward, but the world remains on track for a dangerous global temperature rise of at least 2.7°C this century even if fully met, a new report by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) has warned... More>>