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Cablegate: Nicaragua: Property Superintendant Aims to Take Over U.S.

VZCZCXYZ0001
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHMU #1064/01 3011609
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 281607Z OCT 09
FM AMEMBASSY MANAGUA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0034
INFO WHA CENTRAL AMERICAN COLLECTIVE
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHINGTON DC

UNCLAS MANAGUA 001064

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS
STATE FOR WHA/CEN, EEB/IFD/OIA, AND L/CID
STATE ALSO FOR WHA/EPSC
STATE PASS TO USTR
TREASURY FOR INL AND OWH

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EINV ECON KIDE NU
SUBJECT: NICARAGUA: PROPERTY SUPERINTENDANT AIMS TO TAKE OVER U.S.
CITIZEN BEACHFRONT PROPERTY

REF: MANAGUA 235

SUMMARY
-------

1. (SBU) The Office of the Property Superintendant has issued
agrarian reform titles for beachfront property owned by U.S.
citizen Miguel Angel Arguello and intends to take over more of his
land. Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) supporters with
agrarian reform titles have invaded his property and have refused
to leave it. The Attorney General's Office has not taken any
action to protect Mr. Arguello's property.

GENESIS OF DISPUTE
------------------

2. (SBU) In December 1993, the father of U.S. citizen Miguel Angel
Arguello purchased 1,754 acres of beachfront property in Tola
municipality (Department of Rivas), southern Nicaragua. In May
1997, Mr. Arguello purchased the property from his father. In
August 1999, Mr. Arguello registered an additional 122 acres of
beachfront property after he conducted a survey to correct the size
of his property. In May 2000, the Attorney General's Office filed
a lawsuit in court to nullify the registration of the 122 acres in
the Public Property Registry. The Attorney General's Office
alleged that the land was state property and Mr. Arguello had
acquired it illegally. In September 2004, the Rivas District Court
ruled in favor or Mr. Arguello. The Attorney General's Office
subsequently appealed the verdict but the Rivas Appellate Court
upheld the lower court's decision in April 2005.

3. (SBU) In February 2007, the Government of Nicaragua (GON)
validated a 1988 agrarian reform title for the 122 acre property
belonging to Mr. Arguello, despite the fact that previous
governments had determined that this title was counterfeit. In
November 2007, the Attorney General's Office employed a regulation
dating back to 1904 to register his land as state-owned property.
In late December 2008, approximately 25 FSLN supporters with
agrarian reform titles issued by Property Superintendant Yara Perez
invaded the 122 acre beachfront property (reftel). The squatters
have built four shacks on his property. Mr. Arguello initially
requested assistance from Tola municipal officials and the
Nicaraguan National Police to remove the squatters, but they
refused to get involved.

CLAIMANT SEEKS AMICABLE RESOLUTION
----------------------------------

4. (SBU) On January 23, Mr. Arguello asked for Embassy assistance
to request a meeting with Attorney General Hernan Estrada to
discuss the case. On January 27, his legal representative met with
Rebeca Zuniga, Coordinator of the Office of U.S. Citizen Claims.
Zuniga told him that Attorney General Estrada would handle his
case. During the February and March 2009 property working group
meetings, GON officials assured Econoff that Attorney General
Estrada was handling the case. On March 31, the Ambassador wrote
Attorney General Estrada to urge him to review Mr. Arguello's case.

PROBLEM EXASCERBATES
--------------------

5. (SBU) On October 9, Mr. Arguello told us that the Attorney
General's Office has not taken any action to resolve this dispute.
Mr. Arguello said that Attorney General Estrada and Property
Superintendant Perez have refused to meet with him to discuss the
dispute. He noted that the Property Superintendant's Office plans
to issue more agrarian reform titles to FSLN supporters to take
over an additional 685 acres. The squatters also remain on his
property and there are approximately 350 persons in nearby
settlements who threaten to invade it. Mr. Arguello fears that the
GON is organizing FSLN supporters to take over his property.
CALLAHAN

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