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Cablegate: Fsln Beat, Kidnap Opposition Youth in Leon

VZCZCXRO0867
OO RUEHAG RUEHROV RUEHSL RUEHSR
DE RUEHMU #1057/01 3091505
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 021808Z NOV 09
FM AMEMBASSY MANAGUA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0063
INFO EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
WHA CENTRAL AMERICAN COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RHMFISS/CDR USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL IMMEDIATE
RHMFISS/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RUEHC/DEPT OF LABOR WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MANAGUA 001057

SIPDIS
STATE PASS TO MILLENIUM CHALLENGE CORPORATION
AMEMBASSY BERLIN PASS TO AMCONSUL DUSSELDORF
AMEMBASSY BERLIN PASS TO AMCONSUL LEIPZIG
AMEMBASSY ATHENS PASS TO AMCONSUL THESSALONIKI

E.O. 12958: DECL: 2019/11/02
TAGS: PGOV PHUM KDEM NU
SUBJECT: FSLN Beat, Kidnap Opposition Youth in Leon

REF: A) MANAGUA 1049; B) MANAGUA 1035; C) MANAGUA 836; D) MANAGUA 794

MANAGUA 00001057 001.2 OF 002


CLASSIFIED BY: RobertJ.Callahan, Ambassador, State, Embassy Managua;
REASON: 1.4(B), (D)

1. (C) Summary: On October 29, members of the governing FSLN (some with ties to the Leon City Hall) beat, briefly kidnapped, and interrogated youth who were publicly displaying their opposition to the Supreme Court's (CSJ) ruling allowing President Daniel Ortega's re-election. This was done with at least the knowledge of Nicaraguan National Police (NNP) officers. This marks an escalation in the governing-FSLN's tactics against those they see as opposition to Ortega and his government. It also further demonstrates the police's inability to act in a non-partisan manner to protect the citizenry's basic human rights. End Summary

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FSLN Beats, Kidnaps and Interrogates Opposition Youth; Police Involvement?
--------------------------------------------- ---------------------- ---------------------------

2. (C) In the days following the CSJ's ruling allowing Ortega's
re-election (ref B), youth groups in Leon responded by
spray-painting "no re-election for Ortega" throughout the city.
Many of these youth are affiliated or support the Sandinista
Renewal Movement (MRS), a left-of-center political movement that
opposes Ortega's governing Sandinista National Liberation Front
(FSLN). According to MRS Department President Nicolas Palacios,
since the MRS youth began their public demonstrations against
Ortega's re-election, FSLN departmental members began following the
youth. On October 29, FSLN members in two vehicles stopped and
attacked Eduardo Santos (23 years old) and Pompilio Miranda (26
years old). Santos is a member of the civil society group
Movimiento por Nicaragua, but has participated in MRS activities.
Miranda is a leader of the MRS departmental youth group. The
vehicles used to stop the young men were a taxi known to be at the
service of the Leon City Hall (run by the FSLN) and the other was a
pick-up belonging to the FSLN departmental headquarters.

3. (C) Approximately 10 men were in the two vehicles. They
stopped Santos and Miranda, sprayed the two young men with pepper
spray, then attacked them physically. Residents in the area came
to Santos' and Miranda's rescue and provided them temporary refuge
in a local store. The residents then took Santos to the city
hospital. As Miranda left the local store, the FSLN members again
began to follow him, at which point Miranda sought refuge in an
empty restaurant. The FSLN members entered the restaurant,
attacked Miranda, then placed him in the pick-up and took him to
the FSLN departmental headquarters. At the FSLN offices, the
governing party's militants again attacked Miranda and interrogated
him on who was supporting the youth group's campaign against
Ortega. After approximately two hours, the FSLN militants placed
Miranda in the bed of the pick-up and paraded him around town as a
symbol to other would-be opposition members. The FSLN militants
eventually dumped Miranda off at the police station where City Hall
employees were filing charges against Miranda for defacing public
property. (Note: Per ref C, this is in contrast to FSLN youth who
have placed pro-Ortega graffiti throughout Managua and Leon, but
against whom the government has filed no charges.)

4. (C) According to Miranda, police were present at the FSLN headquarters when he was taken there. Palacios notes that the police regularly provide security to the governing party's installations and are aware of who enters and exits the offices. Miranda also reports that a police officer was in the vehicle that paraded him around Leon.

-------------
Comment
------------

5. (C) While the unified political opposition continues to
deliberate on how best to address Ortega's direct assaults on
Nicaragua's democracy, some in Nicaragua continue to publicly
demonstrate their opposition to the government's authoritarian
tactics. As a result, the governing FSLN continues to physically
respond to any form of opposition as it has repeatedly in the past
(ref A, D). This latest attack, however, is of particular concern
due to the kidnapping and interrogation tactics the FSLN employed.
Equally concerning is the police's direct awareness, or perhaps
involvement, in the incident.
CALLAHAN

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