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Viewing cable 08SANJOSE910, GOCR FEARS INSTABILITY FROM NICARAGUAN MUNICIPAL

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08SANJOSE910 2008-11-21 18:06 2011-03-08 16:04 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy San Jose
Appears in these articles:
http://www.nacion.com/2011-03-07/Investigacion/NotasDestacadas/Investigacion2704388.aspx
http://www.nacion.com/2011-03-07/Investigacion/NotaPrincipal/Investigacion2704402.aspx
http://www.nacion.com/2011-03-07/Investigacion/NotasSecundarias/Investigacion2704436.aspx
http://www.nacion.com/2011-03-07/Investigacion/NotasSecundarias/Investigacion2705536.aspx
VZCZCXYZ0001
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHSJ #0910/01 3261832
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 211832Z NOV 08
FM AMEMBASSY SAN JOSE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0291
INFO RUEHZA/WHA CENTRAL AMERICAN COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS PRIORITY 1139
RUEHOT/AMEMBASSY OTTAWA PRIORITY 0578
C O N F I D E N T I A L SAN JOSE 000910 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPARTMENT FOR WHA, WHA/CEN AND USOAS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/21/2018 
TAGS: PREL PHUM PINS PREF OAS CS NU CA VZ
SUBJECT: GOCR FEARS INSTABILITY FROM NICARAGUAN MUNICIPAL 
ELECTIONS; WILL SPEAK OUT IN MULTILATERAL FORA 
 
REF: STATE 122262 
 
Classified By: DCM Peter M. Brennan for reason 1.4(d). 
 
1. (C) SUMMARY: The GOCR will speak out in multilateral fora 
about the fraudulent municipal elections in Nicaragua, 
including in the November 20 OAS debate, but will not 
confront its northern neighbor directly.  The GOCR will urge 
adherence to the principles of the Democratic Charter, but 
will not specifically raise the issue of "electoral process" 
to avoid fueling GON complaints of "international 
interference."  The GOCR is also concerned that lingering 
political instability following the elections may fuel 
Nicaraguan immigration and asylum requests to Costa Rica. 
The MFA hopes that international assistance cut off in the 
wake of the elections can be redirected to Costa Rica, should 
the flow of Nicaraguans greatly increase.  On another note, 
echoing concerns in Ottawa, the Canadian Embassy urged us not 
to ask for a simple recount of "fraudulent" ballots.  END 
SUMMARY. 
 
2. (C) Following discussions with MFA Chief of Staff Antonio 
Alarcon on November 10, DCM had a follow-up conversation with 
Alarcon on November 18 to again convey points in reftel. 
Alarcon indicated that he and VFM Edgar Ugalde (a former 
Costa Rican Ambassador to Nicaragua) had been in close 
consultation with FM Stagno in NY regarding the Nicaragua 
situation, and that they shared our concerns.  While noting 
that they had to be particularly careful in their approach 
and pronouncements on Nicaragua, "due to the complicated 
relations between our countries," Alarcon indicated that the 
GOCR looked forward to working in concert with the U.S. and 
the other democratically-minded countries in the OAS in 
defense of the Democratic Charter and Secretary General 
Insulza in this debate. 
 
3. (SBU) DCM also met with counterparts from other donor 
countries (EU, UK, Canada, Germany, Holland, France, Japan 
and the Vatican) assigned to San Jose to discuss and convey 
key points regarding the Nicaraguan elections.  Almost all 
were in agreement with our positions, and indicated that they 
would urge their governments to stand firm and united against 
the electoral fraud taking place in Nicaragua.  On November 
19, Canadian DCM Stuart Hughes, who covers Nicaragua from San 
Jose and had been there recently, contacted PolCouns with 
concerns that reftel demarche would be (unintentionally) 
counterproductive and was already a little out of date. 
Ottawa wanted all concerned parties to 
back the opposition's demand that the voting actas be 
re-examined and compared to electoral court figures.  If all 
we pressed for was a "transparent recount," the Ortega regime 
would easily produce its own numbers and not the real 
results, given that it already had plenty of time to doctor 
ballots.  This would be a "recipe for disaster."  On November 
20, Hughes said that Ottawa had been in touch the day before 
with the Department to express the same concerns. 
 
4. (SBU) On November 20, we attended with Hughes an already 
planned MFA debriefing for the U.S. and Canada on Chinese 
President Hu's recent visit (septel).  Together, per reftel, 
we took the opportunity to find out what action the GOCR had 
planned regarding Nicaraguan elections, given its public 
silence on the issue thus far.  Our session became a defacto 
joint demarche. 
 
5. (C) MFA Deputy Director of Foreign Policy Alex Solano also 
told us that the GOCR planned to speak at the November 20 OAS 
debate in support of SYG Insulza and would urge adherence to 
the Democratic Charter, but that it would not specifically 
raise the issue of "electoral process" to avoid playing 
directly into Nicaragua's agenda.  The GOCR would push the 
theme of democratic institutions.  Solano said that the GOCR 
representative had personally received instructions from 
FonMin Stagno (currently in the UN with President Arias) 
before flying to Washington for the debate. 
6. (C) Solano doubted progress could be made at the OAS; he 
expected the ALBA countries to (obviously) block needed 
consensus.  He was unsure which way Honduras would lean, 
calling Honduran policies "gelatinous."  When asked whether 
SICA could play a constructive role, he replied, "No, SICA is 
fragmented as well, as is the Grupo del Rio." 
 
7. (C) According to Solano, the MFA noted "alarming signals 
of violence" in Nicaragua and feared renewed migratory flows 
to Costa Rica, plus the possibility of its Embassy in Managua 
being "overrun" with asylum seekers, including members of the 
opposition.  Costa Rica was not prepared for a new wave of 
refugees, he stressed, and would ask the donor community in 
 
that case to divert funds being pulled out of Nicaragua to 
Costa Rica to deal with the situation. 
 
8. (C) Hughes brought up the desires of the younger 
generation and civil society groups for democracy in 
Nicaragua, while the Sandinista regime obviously was longing 
for the "romantic days" of its past.  Solano responded that 
the current political unrest could become a "detonator" for 
another civil war in Nicaragua. 
 
9. (C) As an aside, Solano told us that the MFA had heard 
that even Venezuela had become concerned with Nicaragua's 
lack of transparency in using donor funds and that the BRV 
was about to ask for an accounting of its own educational and 
health assistance to Nicaragua.  The GON was almost 
completely dependent on foreign aid Solano asserted; even the 
visiting Chinese President's delegation told the MFA this 
week that Nicaragua would probably be the last in the region 
to switch allegiance from Taiwan to China, because it had 
become so dependent on Taiwan that it could not survive any 
break in assistance flows. 
 
10. (C) COMMENT:  Though Costa Rica is generally a strong 
defender of Democracy and free and fair electoral processes, 
the GOCR's own precarious relationship with its neighbor 
coupled with its fear of repeating the immigration waves of 
past seem to have Costa Rica in a defensive position rather 
than a proactive one.  While we saw the GOCR's response as 
understandable but somewhat timid, we were pleased that the 
GOCR indicated they were prepared to speak up with us and 
Canada during the OAS debate on November 20. END COMMENT. 
CIANCHETTE