Cablegate: Death to the Yanqui - Ortega Lambastes U.S. At
DE RUEHMU #0912/01 2602204
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 172204Z SEP 09
FM AMEMBASSY MANAGUA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4563
INFO RUEHMU/WESTERN HEMISPHERIC AFFAIRS DIPL POSTS PRIORITY
RUMIAAA/CDR USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL PRIORITY
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RUEABND/DEA HQS WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
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UNCLAS MANAGUA 000912
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TAGS: PREL PGOV NU
SUBJECT: DEATH TO THE YANQUI - ORTEGA LAMBASTES U.S. AT
NICARAGUAN ARMY'S 30TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATIONS
1. (U) On September 12, Nicaragua conducted ceremonies to
celebrate the 30th anniversary of the founding of the
Nicaraguan Army. Ambassador Callahan, Major General Keith
Huber, U.S. Army South, Brigadier General Dominic Cariello,
Wisconsin National Guard, USMILGRP, and the Marine Marching
Platoon from the 8th and I Marine Barracks, Washington D.C.,
represented the U.S. at the ceremonies. Cuba, Chile, the
Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico
and Russia were also represented at the event.
Anti-Imperialism Is Our Philosophy
2. (U) In his most belligerent and openly anti-U.S. speech in
months, President Daniel Ortega launched into a nearly hour
long tirade on the evils of U.S. imperialism and expansionism
in Nicaragua and all of Latin America. The history of the
Nicaraguan Army, he asserted, is drawn from the "roots of
anti-colonialism and anti-imperialism, not Marxism-Leninism."
He asked, "why should we be blamed for being
anti-imperialists? Death to the 'Yanqui' was the call in
1856" (in expelling William Walker). This message has been
the philosophy behind Nicaragua's struggle against "the
Empire" and remains so.
3. (U) The Nicaraguan Army, he asserted, must hold onto its
arms and weapons and will resist all efforts to disarm it.
"We have not achieved a peaceful world. We still face the
expansionist policies of the North American Empire." In the
past, under Somoza, and even now the "oligarchs" have wanted
to disarm the Army, make it disappear, or make it serve only
the rich. The oligarchs seek these changes to the Army, he
claimed, at the "imposition of the Empire."
4. (U) The "right-wing oligarchy" in the U.S. is now
attacking President Obama to derail his policies, according
to Ortega. "Those that provoked war in Iraq, Afghanistan and
seek a war with Iran are now installing bases in Colombia."
These bases threaten Colombia's neighbors, Venezuela,
Ecuador, and Brazil, and the U.S. owes an explanation to
Latin America for these bases. Moreover, Ortega warned the
"North American bases" open the door for Colombia to be
occupied by the U.S. and thus threaten Nicaragua directly.
Over the past several decades, the U.S. had been closing
bases in the region. Now, he lamented, the U.S. has returned
to its expansionist and imperialist tendencies and is
"multiplying bases" in Colombia, threatening peace in the
5. (U) In a direct insult to the Marine Corps Marching
Platoon, baking in over 100 degree temperatures throughout
the harangue, Ortega pointed to the Marines and said, "you
young soldiers ... you are not responsible (for these
policies). Policy in the U.S. is determined by powerful
groups" who only seek to promote war.
Honduras - The U.S. Supported the Coup
6. (U) Ortega returned to his ongoing theme that the U.S.
was involved in the coup in Honduras. Ortega claimed the
Honduran military has always acted at the behest of the U.S.,
from the 1980's when Honduras "launched aggression against
Nicaragua -- at the service of the Empire," up to today and
the recent coup. Ortega lamented that at the Summit of the
Americas, President Obama pledged a new era of relations in
Latin America based upon respect. Unfortunately, this change
has not happened. According to Ortega, the reality is that
it has been difficult to change policy because of the ongoing
control of the military and right-wing forces in the U.S.
7. (U) Instead of a changed policy towards Latin America
there has been a return to coups and expansionism. He
renewed claims that U.S. "intelligence services" were
involved in the coup and that the U.S. military facilitated
President Zelaya's removal from Honduras through Palmerola
(Soto Cano). Ortega said it was "ridiculous" to claim that
Palmerola was not a U.S. military base. In his September
meeting with Southcom General Douglas Fraser, Ortega claimed
he was told that the base is Honduran. In reality, he said,
"the base is controlled by the North Americans. It is a U.S.
base -- a virtual fortress."
Relations with the U.S. - Give Us More Aid
8. (U) Despite these differences, Ortega claimed he wants
respectful relations with the U.S. Nicaragua and the U.S.
share a struggle against narco-traffickers and terrorism.
According to Ortega, no progress can be made in cooperation
on terrorism, however, until the U.S. releases the five Cuban
"patriots" (i.e. convicted spies) who only sought to protect
Cuba from violence being planned by the exile community.
Moreover, Ortega asserted that the U.S. needs to give more
resources to the Nicaraguan Army and National Police to fight
drugs. "They (the U.S.) help very little," he lamented,
despite pledges to provide more aid through the Merida Plan.
In stopping the flow of drugs north to the U.S., Ortega
complained, "we help the North American people but they give
us very little."
9. (U) Ortega concluded the even with a final insult -
giving only a perfunctory salute to the Marine Marching
Platoon as they marched past along with cadets and marching
teams from other countries represented at the ceremonies.
Ortega saluted for extended periods all other units as they
10. (SBU) Ortega's insulting behavior contrasted sharply with
the Nicaraguan military's treatment of their American guests
at a dinner on Friday night. There, CHOD Omar Halleslevens
decorated the two American officers and acknowledged the
Ambassador by name, the only diplomat he mentioned (three
ALBA ambassadors were present, including the Cuban).