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Cablegate: Ortega Dismisses Oas and Democratic Charter

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E.O. 12958: DECL: 2019/12/04
TAGS: PGOV KDEM PHUM PREL NU
SUBJECT: Ortega Dismisses OAS and Democratic Charter

CLASSIFIED BY: RobertJCallahan, Ambassador, State, Embassy Managua;
REASON: 1.4(B), (D)

1. (SBU) Summary: In a November 28 speech, President Daniel Ortega described the recent Honduran elections as a political process lacking legitimacy, meant only to legitimize the coup d'etat. The elections, he argued, made it clear that the Inter-American Democratic Charter and the Organization of American States (OAS) were meaningless. He then warned the Nicaraguan political opposition not to invoke the Charter in the future. Rather than the Charter, Ortega said that each country should strengthen the will of its own people. End Summary.

2. (SBU) On November 28, President Ortega gave a speech at the
signing ceremony for a loan from the Inter-American Development
Bank (IADB). While his speech began with comments regarding the
IADB loan, he ended his remarks by discrediting the November 29
Honduran elections as a "political process meant to legitimize the
coup d'etat." "At the end of the day," Ortega stated, "the coup
plotters received Washington's blessing" and the Europeans would
say "they might be coup plotters, but they're our coup plotters."
Ortega said this was "The same phrase Roosevelt used when he said
'Somoza was a son of a bitch, but he was our son of a bitch.'"

3. (SBU) Ortega claimed that with the Honduran elections the
Inter-American Democratic Charter was left in "shreds." He said,
"There is no longer any Democratic Charter that matters in Latin
America. It is more than evident that a declaration from the OAS
means nothing. What does this show us? That we can no longer rely
on these organizations." Following this argument, Ortega warned
the political opposition in Nicaragua not to invoke the Charter for
Nicaraguan matters. He said, "With what authority will they [the
opposition] place a complaint [before the OAS]? They should not
invoke the Democratic Charter ... what Charter? The only option
left is to strengthen the democratic charter of each country ("cada
pueblo")." He continued, "Whatever circumstances Nicaragua finds
itself in, invoking the Democratic Charter will have no value."

4. (C) Comment: This is not the first time that Ortega has
criticized the OAS, nor the first time he has blamed the United
States for what he views as the organization's failure. What is
new, however, is his criticism of the Democratic Charter.
Recently, the opposition has begun efforts to present a united
front against Ortega's authoritarian tendencies. A week prior to
Ortega's speech, Nicaraguan civil society and opposition parties
held a protest march to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the
2008 municipal electoral fraud. With his November 28 speech,
Ortega appears to discard the opposition's legitimate protests over
the election fraud and discredit any international recourse the
opposition might seek in the future for human rights violations or
anti-democratic actions. In short, Ortega is taking another
oratorical step to eliminate any international obstacles to his
future political actions.
CALLAHAN

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