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Viewing cable 08SANJOSE45, GOCR REJECTS COMPLAINT OF AMBASSADOR'S "INTERFERENCE" IN

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08SANJOSE45 2008-01-25 14:02 2011-03-02 16:04 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy San Jose
Appears in these articles:
http://www.nacion.com/2011-03-02/Investigacion.aspx
VZCZCXYZ0013
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHSJ #0045 0251435
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 251435Z JAN 08
FM AMEMBASSY SAN JOSE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 9364
INFO RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
UNCLAS SAN JOSE 000045 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SENSITIVE 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPARTMENT FOR WHA/CEN, WHA/PDA and H 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: CS ETRD OPDC PGOV PREL
SUBJECT: GOCR REJECTS COMPLAINT OF AMBASSADOR'S "INTERFERENCE" IN 
CAFTA CAMPAIGN 
 
REF: 07 SAN JOSE 1820 
 
1. (SBU) The Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) and the Foreign 
Ministry have quietly closed the book on the complaint filed by 
anti-CAFTA union leaders in August 2007 alleging that Ambassador 
Langdale "interfered" in the CAFTA ratification referendum (reftel). 
 The complaint was generated by the Ambassador's pre-referendum 
"listening tour" around Costa Rica, and also prompted a letter from 
Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-CA) to the Secretary. 
 
2. (U) On September 10, 2007, the TSE effectively dismissed the 
matter by passing it to the MFA for action, suggesting in its ruling 
that the Ambassador had not violated any law or diplomatic norm.  On 
November 14, the MFA concurred, reporting back to the TSE (in a 
letter that was not made public) that: 
 
-- it was not the MFA's role (but the TSE's) to rule on 
election-related matters; 
 
-- the entire complaint was a moot point, anyway, since the October 
7 CAFTA referendum was over; 
 
-- the TSE was correct in interpreting the law to permit the 
Ambassador to exercise his right to free speech, like any other 
resident in Costa Rica, and 
 
-- the complaint was unfounded since it was filed at the beginning 
of the Ambassador's travels around Costa Rica and before the 
referendum and thus "presumed" the Ambassador's "interference" 
before the fact. 
 
3. (SBU) During the Ambassador's farewell call on January 7, FonMin 
Bruno Stagno made a point of noting that the Ambassador had not 
violated any norms of diplomatic conduct.  He seemed pleased to have the case closed. 
 
4.  (SBU) COMMENT: The complaint against the Ambassador, as TSE staff had privately hinted to us last August, went nowhere.  The 
issue has generated absolutely zero media or political follow-up 
attention.  The TSE and the MFA had to follow the proper procedure 
in exchanging letters, but along the way they actually built more 
arguments against the complaint filed by the CAFTA opponents.  (We 
especially like the MFA's fourth point above about presumed 
interference before the fact.  Once in a while finely-honed Tico 
legalism works in our favor.)  Stagno's meeting with the Ambassador 
apparently shook free the November 14 response from the MFA, which we had been pursuing for weeks.  We finally received a copy on January 10 (and have forwarded same to WHA/CEN).  We are pleased this incident was finally closed as Ambassador Langdale departed post. 
 
BRENNAN