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Cablegate: (C/Nf) Nicaraguan Civil-Military Relations

VZCZCXYZ0087
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHC #7235 3452005
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
R 112003Z DEC 09
FM SECSTATE WASHDC
TO AMEMBASSY MANAGUA 0376

S E C R E T STATE 127235

NOFORN
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/11/2034
TAGS: PINR MCAP PGOV PINS NU
SUBJECT: (C/NF) NICARAGUAN CIVIL-MILITARY RELATIONS
(C-AL9-02474)

REF: 314/044313-09

Classified By: ELISSA G. PITTERLE, DIRECTOR, INR/OPS. REASON: 1.4(C).

1. (S/NF) WASHINGTON ANALYSTS HAVE BEEN FOLLOWING THE
CURRENT STRUCTURE OF THE NICARAGUAN MILITARY AND ARE KEENLY INTERESTED IN THE NICARAGUAN MILITARY'S RELATIONSHIP WITH DANIEL ORTEGA'S ADMINISTRATION, ESPECIALLY SINCE COMMANDER IN CHIEF GENERAL OMAR HALLESLEVENS IS SET TO RETIRE ON 21 FEBRUARY 2010. WE WOULD BE INTERESTED IN ANY INFORMATION THAT WOULD SHED LIGHT ON ORTEGA'S PLANS FOR THE NEXT MILITARY
COMMANDER AND HIS INTERACTIONS WITH THE MILITARY. AS TIME AND RESOURCES ALLOW, WE WELCOME POST'S INSIGHT INTO THE FOLLOWING ISSUES.

A. (S/NF) WHAT PLANS DOES ORTEGA HAVE ON CHANGING THE
MILITARY LAW? REF A SUGGESTS THAT ORTEGA WOULD LIKE TO BE ABLE TO RETURN RETIRED MILITARY OFFICERS LOYAL TO HIM TO POSITIONS OF AUTHORITY BY ALTERING THE MILITARY LAW, AS WELL AS ESTABLISH CIVILIAN OVERSIGHT POSITIONS FOR DIVISION OF THE MILITARY. DOES ORTEGA STILL PLAN TO ALTER THE LAW? WHAT LEVEL OF SUPPORT IS THERE IN THE MILITARY FOR OR AGAINST ANY SUCH PROPOSAL?

B. (S/NF) MAJOR GENERAL JULIO CESAR AVILES CASTILLO HAS
BEEN NOMINATED AND ACCEPTED AS THE NEXT HEAD OF THE
NICARAGUAN ARMY. WHAT KIND OF RELATIONSHIP DOES AVILES HAVE WITH ORTEGA AND WITH ROSARIO MURILLO? DOES AVILES MAINTAIN TIES TO VENEZUELAN MILITARY OFFICIALS AND IF SO, TO WHOM? IS AVILES COMMITTED TO KEEPING THE MILITARY A PROFESSIONAL AND APOLITICAL ORGANIZATION? IF SO, HOW?

C. (S/NF) WHAT LEVEL OF SUPPORT IS THERE WITHIN THE
MILITARY FOR THE FSLN? HOW MANY OR WHAT PERCENT OF THE MILITARY IS REGISTERED AS A MEMBER OF THE FSLN PARTY?

D. (S/NF) GIVEN THAT THE NICARAGUAN CONSTITUTION PROHIBITS RETIRED MILITARY AND POLICE OFFICERS FROM ENGAGING IN POLITICS FOR ONE YEAR AFTER LEAVING THEIR SERVICE, DOES HALLESLEVENS HOPE TO REMAIN ACTIVE IN MILITARY AFFAIRS DESPITE HIS RETIREMENT, IF SO HOW? ARE THERE ANY INDICATIONS SUGGESTING ORTEGA WOULD BE WILLING TO DISCIPLINE HALLESLEVENS FOR OPENLY MAINTAINING HIS INFLUENCE IN THE MILITARY?

2. (U) PLEASE CITE C-AL9-02474 IN THE SUBJECT LINE OF
REPORTING IN RESPONSE TO THE ABOVE QUESTIONS.
CLINTON

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