El corresponsal ha muerto

Aún tengo una maleta en Berlín", cantaba Marlene Dietrich. Y yo tengo todavía cuatro latas de gasolina en Skopje. Las compré para un jeep alquilado en el que fui de Macedonia a Kosovo, inmediatamente después de que la OTAN invadiera la devastada provincia en 1999, cuando uno no se podía fiar de que las gasolineras tuvieran gasolina. Conduje aquel Lada de suspensión dura varios días, durante los que hablé con albanokosovares que habían huido por miedo al genocidio serbio y estaban regresando a casa, con sus remolques tirados por tractores abarrotados de colchones y niños; con un melancólico sacerdote serbio, el padre Theodosius, en su precioso y aislado monasterio al pie de las Montañas Malditas; y con un despiadado comandante del Ejército de Liberación de Kosovo, Ramush Haradinaj, que me hizo una confesión inolvidable, en su inglés de extraño acento mezcla de Finlandia y Birmingham: "Yo no podría ser una Madre Teresa" (después de haber sido primer ministro del Kosovo independiente durante un breve periodo, ahora se encuentra en La Haya, a la espera de un nuevo juicio por crímenes de guerra).

Aquel viaje fue caro. Como hacía la mayoría de los corresponsales en el extranjero, utilicé a un "facilitador", un periodista local que fijaba las citas, organizaba los viajes y suministraba informaciones de base, además de un intérprete. Lo pagó un periódico. Aprendí cosas de esas que solo pueden aprenderse sobre el terreno. Y no estaba solo. Alrededor de 2.700 profesionales de medios de comunicación entraron en Kosovo con las fuerzas de invasión / liberación o inmediatamente después: aproximadamente un periodista por cada 800 habitantes.

Diez años después, ¿cuántos habría allí? En un momento tan trascendental, dramático, de guerra, seguramente muchos ("Si hay sangre, tendrá titular"). Pero, en general, e incluso en países y momentos muy importantes, cada vez menos. El corresponsal, un tipo satirizado de forma incomparable por Evelyn Waugh en su novela Scoop, y ensalzado por Alfred Hitchcock en su película Enviado especial, es una especie en peligro. Solo un puñado de grandes empresas de medios, como la BBC y The New York Times, mantienen todavía redes mundiales de enviados permanentes que trabajan en lo que tradicionalmente se llaman corresponsalías.

No tiene absolutamente ningún sentido lamentarse sobre esto mientras van cayendo los whiskys en un bar de periodistas ahora desierto. Lo que necesitamos es averiguar cómo es posible conservar hoy lo que tenía de valioso la labor del corresponsal del siglo XX y cómo podemos aprovechar las fantásticas nuevas oportunidades que no existían en la era del telégrafo y el télex. Eso es lo que trata de hacer el antiguo director del servicio mundial de noticias de la BBC Richard Sambrook en un nuevo análisis muy documentado, elaborado para el Instituto Reuters de Estudios sobre Periodismo en la Universidad de Oxford, titulado Are Foreign Correspondents Redundant? (¿Sobran los corresponsales?). Menciona a un productor de televisión de Estados Unidos que dice que remontarse a las corresponsalías tradicionales en el extranjero es como preguntar "¿por qué no seguimos utilizando tabletas de arcilla?".

En mi opinión, hay tres virtudes del trabajo del corresponsal que deberíamos querer conservar y reforzar en las nuevas formas de obtención y transmisión de noticias. Son: ser un testigo independiente, honrado y, en la medida de lo posible, veraz e imparcial de los acontecimientos, las personas y las circunstancias; descifrarlos y situarlos en su contexto, explicando quién es quién, qué es qué y un poco de por qué; e interpretar lo que sucede en ese lugar concreto, en ese momento concreto, dentro de un marco histórico y comparativo más amplio. Ser testigo, descifrar, interpretar.

Para ser testigos, existen ahora fantásticos medios nuevos -el vídeo, la cámara del teléfono móvil, etcétera- que no han existido durante la mayor parte de la historia de la humanidad. Por supuesto, la cámara miente muchas veces, así que siempre conviene saber quién está detrás de ella. Pero una variedad de informaciones de testigos presenciales, fragmentos de vídeo y audio, blogs y otros documentos, muchos de ellos de personas locales que hablan de verdad (a diferencia de muchos corresponsales) la lengua, puede formar un magnífico collage de pruebas de primera mano.

Si nos hubiéramos fiado solo de los corresponsales, nuestras informaciones sobre la muerte de Neda Agha-Soltan, la joven fallecida durante las manifestaciones del movimiento verde en Teherán el año pasado, habrían sido probablemente de segunda mano, y no habríamos tenido aquellas imágenes inolvidables. Sitios web como Global Voices y Global Post demuestran lo que se puede hacer cuando se juntan numerosos periodistas locales y foráneos.

Tampoco es necesariamente el corresponsal extranjero el que mejor descifra las claves locales. Con frecuencia he observado que, para esa tarea, los corresponsales se apoyan en facilitadores, intérpretes, periodistas locales y unas cuantas fuentes de confianza, y que ellos se limitan a añadir unas cuantas pinceladas de color, un armazón de clichés interpretativos (el borde del abismo, halcones y palomas) y, por supuesto, varias hipérboles. ¿Por qué no dejar que las voces locales nos hablen directamente, y completarlas con las de especialistas académicos que conocen los países en cuestión? Para eso es necesario un trabajo de edición hábil y minucioso, desde luego, pero siempre será más barato que una oficina completamente equipada en el extranjero.

La corresponsalía actual, recortada como corresponde a esta era de austeridad, consiste en un solo enviado que hace todo a la vez, corre de un sitio a otro como el sombrerero loco, intenta desesperadamente cumplir varios plazos cada día, para la web, la versión impresa, el vídeo, el audio, el tweet y el blog; el problema es que el pobre periodista tiene muy poco tiempo para investigar a fondo cada historia, y mucho menos para detenerse a reflexionar. No es casualidad que los mejores reportajes de corresponsales en el extranjero que vemos hoy estén en revistas como The New Yorker, en las que los periodistas tienen meses para elaborar un solo reportaje de gran extensión.

Lo cual nos lleva a la tercera dimensión: la interpretación. Para esta tarea, es útil que quien lea y piense sobre el cómo y el porqué sea alguien que sea ya un poco veterano, que haya visto cosas en distintos lugares y momentos. Esa persona puede comparar, sopesar, evaluar, restablecer el sentido de la proporción y la importancia histórica (o, muchas veces, la falta de importancia) que se pierde con facilidad cuando uno pasa todo su tiempo metido hasta las cejas en una noticia. Oigo a gente que dice: ese es el futuro de los periódicos. Todos los días nos llega una avalancha de información, de "noticias" en su sentido más amplio. Tenemos un problema de exceso. La labor de los periódicos de calidad será pasar por la criba, situar en contexto, hacer un seguimiento, como han hecho The Guardian, The New York Times, Le Monde y EL PAÍS con los tesoros de Wikileaks.

Esto tiene bastante sentido, y tal vez las cosas avancen en esa dirección, pero el peligro está en fijar una separación demasiado radical entre el intérprete y el testigo. Porque toda mi experiencia clama que no hay nada comparable a estar allí. Por muchos miles de estupendos vídeos, blogs y transcripciones que se vean, no hay nada comparable a estar allí. Solo al comprar esas latas de gasolina, pasearme en aquel jeep destartalado y ver el sufrimiento con mis propios ojos pude comprender verdaderamente, y por tanto interpretar con menos errores, lo que estaba pasando en Kosovo. Eso no se puede hacer desde una butaca.

El valor añadido especial del corresponsal del siglo XX era que, en la experiencia de una sola persona, en sus procesos mentales y su sensibilidad, se combinaban los tres elementos: ser testigo, descifrar, interpretar. Si conseguimos preservar eso en el periodismo transformado de nuestros días, quizá logremos tener más y mejores informaciones internacionales.

(El País/Madrid)

Cable de la embajada en Tegucigalpa; Retrato de Zelaya

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S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 04 TEGUCIGALPA 000459

SIPDIS

MADRID FOR HUGO LLORENS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/14/2018
TAGS: PGOV, PINR, PREL, KDEM, ECON, SOCI, KCRM, ENRG, EFIN,
SNAR, SMIG, MARR, MASS, MOPS, HO
SUBJECT: PRESIDENT JOSE MANUEL ZELAYA ROSALES: PERSONAL

REFLECTIONS OF AMBASSADOR FORD

REF: OFFICIAL BIOS ON FILE

Classified By: AMBASSADOR CHARLES A. FORD FOR REASONS 1.4 (b and d)

1. (S) Summary: Honduran President Jose Manuel &Mel8
Zelaya Rosales is a throwback to an earlier Central American
era, almost a caricature of a land-owner &caudillo8 in
terms of his leadership style and tone. Ever the rebellious
teenager, Zelaya,s principal goal in office is to enrich
himself and his family while leaving a public legacy as a
martyr who tried to do good but was thwarted at every turn by
powerful, unnamed interests. Various public statements over
his tenure suggest he would be quite comfortable as a martyr
who tried but failed honorably in his attempt to seek out
social justice for the poor. He is comfortable working with
the Armed Forces and until recently with the Catholic Church,
yet resents the very existence of the Congress, the Attorney
General and Supreme Court. Over his two and a half years in
office, he has become increasingly surrounded by those
involved in organized crime activities. End Summary.

2. (S) I have gotten to know Mel Zelaya quite well over my
tenure as Ambassador, and offer these personal reflections on
his character, his views of the United States, and on what
his presidency means for our interest in the region with the
objective of informing future policy choices.

3. (S) Personally, I have found Zelaya to be gracious and
charming, quite willing to tell me whatever he thinks I want
to hear at that moment. For example, in the period
June-August 2007, we must have met weekly, with his agenda
focused on explaining his nomination of Jorge Arturo Reina
(who lost his U.S. visa for past terrorist connections) as
the UN Ambassador, his presence in Managua at Sandinista
celebrations and his intentions with regard to Hugo Chavez.
It was interesting to see how his explanations differed from
meeting to meeting, almost as if he had no recollection of
our exchange just a few days before.

4. (S) In the period May-June 2006, Zelaya pressed me hard to
obtain President Bush,s approval of his plan to join
PetroCaribe. When he met in early June with President Bush
who confirmed our strong opposition to his intention, Zelaya
later told me that he was surprised that this item had been
on our agenda. In short, over an almost three year period it
has become crystal clear to me that Zelaya,s views change by
the day or in some cases by the hour, depending on his mood
and who he has seen last.

5.(S) Not surprisingly, Zelaya has no real friends outside
of his family, as he ridicules publicly those closest to him.
In the days preceding his inauguration, Zelaya without prior
notification canceled a country team briefing for his new
cabinet. Over a private lunch he explained that he trusted
no one in his government and asked me the question: &Who is
the most powerful; the person with a knife behind the door or
the person outside the door who knows there is someone behind
the door with a knife?8 It is clear to me that tactically he
will work with almost anyone, but strategically he stands
alone.

6. (S) Zelaya also has been quite erratic in his behavior.
Despite his often harsh public rhetoric, such as describing
U.S. immigration policy against illegal aliens as
"persecution" by "fascists", Zelaya would meet again with
President Bush in a heartbeat. At one point he even planned
to go uninvited to a bilateral Bush-Berger meeting in
Guatemala. Zelaya not only allowed the first visit of a U.S.
warship to mainland Honduras in 22 years, but he delivered a

TEGUCIGALP 00000459 002 OF 004


ringing speech extolling bilateral relations on the ship's
deck, only briefly expressing pride in Honduras' capture and
execution of the American interventionist William Walker.
Always suspicious of American intentions, he inexplicably
submitted to a psychological profile at my Residence - twice.
His erratic behavior appears most evident when he
deliberately stirs street action in protest against his own
government policy - only to resolve the issue (teacher
complaints, transportation grievances, etc) at the last
moment. This approach to problem solving seems to be
Zelaya's way of gaining acceptance, challenging the
established political power structure, and moving his agenda
- which is not populist or ideological, but is based on
popular appeal.

7. (S) Zelaya remains very much a rebellious teenager,
anxious to show his lack of respect for authority figures.
Cardinal Andres Rodriguez has told me that not only did he
not graduate from university but he actually did not graduate
from high school. The Cardinal should know, as he was one of
his teachers. The problem is that Mel has acted in this
juvenile, rebellious manner his entire life and succeeded in
reaching the highest office in the land. No need to change
now. He will continue to lead a chaotic, highly disorganized
private life.

8. (S) There also exists a sinister Zelaya, surrounded by a
few close advisors with ties to both Venezuela and Cuba and
organized crime. Zelaya's desperate defense of former
telecommunications chief Marcelo Chimirri (widely believed to
be a murderer, rapist and thief) suggests that Chimirri holds
much over Zelaya himself. Zelaya almost assuredly takes
strong medication for a severe back problem and perhaps other
drugs as well. His vehement attacks on the press have
reportedly endangered journalists opposed to Zelaya's
policies. His style and tone in order to get his way is one
of intimidation and bullying, threatening tax inspections and
worse rather than substantive debate on issues. Zelaya's
inability to name a Vice Minister for Security lends
credibility to those who suggest that narco traffickers have
pressured him to name one of their own to this position. Due
to his close association with persons believed to be involved
with international organized crime, the motivation behind
many of his policy decisions can certainly be questioned. I
am unable to brief Zelaya on sensitive law enforcement and
counter-narcotics actions due my concern that this would put
the lives of U.S. officials in jeopardy.

9. (S) Finally, Mel is very much a son of Olancho, aware of
his roots in the land and his family's ties to Honduras since
the 1500,s. Unlike most other Honduran leaders in recent
times, Zelaya,s view of a trip to the &big city8 means
Tegucigalpa and not Miami or New Orleans. While he and his
family have been part of the Honduran landscape for 400
years, they have not until recently inter-married with the
Honduras elite in Tegucigalpa or San Pedro Sula. His son's
marriage in 2006 to one of the country's leading
Honduran-Arab families was very important to Zelaya yet a
complex event, signifying acceptance into the very elite
group that he so very much resents.

10. (S) I have found Zelaya,s real views of the United
States hidden not too very deeply below the surface. In a
word, he is not a friend. His views are shaped not by
ideology or personal ambitions but by an old-fashioned
nationalism where he holds the United States accountable for
Honduras, current state of poverty and dependency.
Zelaya,s public position against the Contra War and against
the establishment of Joint Task Force Bravo at Soto Cano Air

TEGUCIGALP 00000459 003 OF 004


Force Base are manifestations of this underlying viewpoint.

11. (S) Other behavior by the President confirms, in my view,
the depth of his feeling. While Zelaya was open to our point
of view of the selection of key members of his Cabinet, he
was absolutely closed to listening to us on his appointment
of his Ambassador to the OAS and to his appointment of Jorge
Arturo Reina as Ambassador to the UN. The Honduran voting
record in the UN in terms of coincidence with US positions is
at the lowest point in decades.

12. (S) More revealing, at public events with key officials
present, Zelaya will make clear that anyone interested in
becoming President of the country needs first to get the
blessing of the American Ambassador. Personally, in private
conversations at the Residence, Zelaya has recounted to me,
multiple times how a previous American Ambassador had ordered
the President of the Honduran Congress to accept the
Presidential candidacy of Ricardo Maduro, even though in
Zelaya,s view Maduro was Panamanian-born and thus
ineligible. Other sources have documented Zelaya,s views on
this point where his anger and resentment are more apparent
than in his exchanges with me. It is clear by the way he
recounts the story that on one level he resents very much
this perceived dependency yet accepts it exists and looks to
me to define for him the rules of the game. He becomes
frustrated at times when he believes I am not carrying out
this responsibility.

13. (S) Most noticeable to me has been his avoidance of
public meetings with visiting US officials. Whether Cabinet
officials or CODELs, Zelaya always is a gracious host, but
never comes out of the meeting to have his picture taken
publicly with our visitors, as he is so anxious to do with
other visitors from Nicaragua, Cuba and Venezuela. Almost
all of our meetings take place at my Residence rather than at
the more public setting of the Presidential Palace. He made
no attempt to disseminate his may photo ops with President
Bush after the June 2006 meeting in Washington. The fact is
that the President of the country prefers to meet quite often
in the privacy of my Residence but not to be seen in public
with American visitors.

14. (S) Finally, Zelaya recently is fond of saying that we
need to improve our communication, which I interpret to mean
that we need to agree with him more often. A similar fate
has befallen Cardinal Rodriguez who used to meet, as I do,
regularly with the President. As the Cardinal in recent
months has found himself in disagreement with Zelaya and is
not participating publicly in his projects, Zelaya is
working increasingly with pastors in the evangelical
community. The Cardinal recently told me that he and the
President hardly speak now as the President is unhappy that
he doesn't agree with the direction Zelaya is taking the
country. For Zelaya, communicating means agreeing
unquestionably with his point of view.

15. (S) GOING FORWARD: The last year and a half of the
Zelaya Administration will be, in my view, extraordinarily
difficult for our bilateral relationship. His pursuit of
immunity from the numerous activities of organized crime
carried out in his Administration will cause him to threaten
the rule of law and institutional stability. Honduran
institutions and friendly governments will need to be
prepared to act privately and in public to help move Honduras
forward.

16. (S) We will need, in my view, to continue to engage
Zelaya whenever we can in order to minimize damage and to

TEGUCIGALP 00000459 004 OF 004


protect our core interests. As a rebellious teenager, he
will need a significant space to move, in but we must be very
direct in our conversations with him as to our core
interests. Despite his feelings towards us, he does respect
the role the U.S. Embassy is still perceived to play in
Honduran society and will expect us in private to be direct
and clear in our views. Using an analogy from American
football, we will need to continue to carry out an aggressive
bend but not break defensive game plan in the run up to the
next elections in November 2009. In this way, I believe we
can engage Zelaya intensely in the hope of so as to
minimizing damage to Honduran democracy and the economy.
Ford

Carta al pintor Antonio Bonilla

Bonilla:

¡Otra vez me dejaste pasmado! ¡Que desfile de humor, seriedad, genio, rebeldía y amor en esta tu exposición en el parque Cuscatlán!

Anoche, en la inauguración, la Sala Nacional estaba repleta. Estuvo toda la crema y nata del circo cultural - y toda la fauna que siempre la rodea...

Pero yo escribo esta carta en el MAS! para provocar que los que nunca van a exposiciones, los que les valen riata la bellas artes, vayan a ver ESTA exposición. Aunque sea una sola vez en su vida que vayan a entrar a la Sala Nacional de Arte, ¡que vayan a ver las imágenes fantásticas, provocadoras, agresivas, y llenas de vida y amor de Antonio Bonilla que es un hijueputa irreverente, bolo, genial y... gente.

Bonilla, yo me recuerdo cuando por primera vez nos trajiste un gigantesco cuadro de alguien que muestra al mundo su culo pelado: “Quiero que este cuadro esté en La Ventana, para que lo puede ver la mara antes de que desaparezca en la casa de un coleccionista...”

Todo el mundo nos dijo: No pueden poner este cuadro, muy feo, muy agresivo, muy ofensivo. ¿Cómo va a estar este cuadro donde la gente viene a comer?

Claro que lo pusimos. Y nadie se molestó. Nadie se indigestó. Paja lo de ‘feo’. Paja toda esta teoría que vos sos el pintor del ‘feismo’. Era un cuadro bello. Tu sabes pintar lo no-bello y te salen imágenes bellísimas. Tengo la fotos de un grupo de monjas almorzando felizmente debajo de otro cuadro tuyo de una mujer chulona.

Las imágenes tuyas las entiende la mara. Cualquiera de la calle, del mercado, del centro. Por eso digo a mis lectores del MAS!: Vayan a pasear al Parque Cuscatlán y se dan una vuelta por la Sala Nacional para ver a Bonilla. Van a ver arte que vale la pena...

Bonilla, te mando un gran abrazo,

Paolo Lüers

(Más!)

Nobel Peace Prize: Ceremony Speech in honor of Liu Xiaobo

(Presentation Speech by Thorbjørn Jagland, Chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, Oslo, 10 December 2010.)


Your Majesties, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

"The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided to award the Nobel Peace Prize for 2010 to Liu Xiaobo for his long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in China. The Norwegian Nobel Committee has long believed that there is a close connection between human rights and peace. Such rights are a prerequisite for the "fraternity between nations" of which Alfred Nobel wrote in his will."

This was the first paragraph of the Norwegian Nobel Committee’s announcement on the 8th of October of the award of this year’s Peace Prize.

We regret that the Laureate is not present here today. He is in isolation in a prison in north-east China. Nor can the Laureate’s wife Liu Xia or his closest relatives be here with us. No medal or diploma will therefore be presented here today.

This fact alone shows that the award was necessary and appropriate. We congratulate Liu Xiaobo on this year’s Peace Prize.

There have been a number of previous occasions when the Laureate has been prevented from attending. This has in fact been the case with several awards which have proved in the light of history to have been most significant and honourable. Even when the Laureate has come, he or she has several times been severely condemned by the authorities of his or her own country.

There was a great deal of trouble in 1935, when the Committee gave the award to Carl von Ossietzky. Hitler was furious, and prohibited all Germans from accepting any Nobel Prize. King Haakon did not attend the ceremony. Ossietzky did not come to Oslo, and died a little over a year later.

There was considerable outrage in Moscow when Andrej Sakharov received his Prize in 1975. He, too, was prevented from receiving the award in person. He sent his wife. The same thing happened to Lech Walesa in 1983. The Burmese authorities were furious when Aung San Suu Kyi received the Peace Prize in 1991. Once again, the Laureate could not come to Oslo.

In 2003, Shirin Ebadi received the Nobel Peace Prize. She came. Much could be said of the reaction of the Iranian authorities, but the Iranian Ambassador did in fact attend the ceremony.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee has given four Prizes to South Africa. All the Laureates came to Oslo, but the awards to Albert Lutuli in 1960 and to Desmond Tutu in 1984 provoked great outrage in the apartheid regime in South Africa, before the applause broke out thanks to the awards to Nelson Mandela and F.W. de Klerk in 1993.


The point of these awards has of course never been to offend anyone. The Nobel Committee’s intention has been to say something about the relationship between human rights, democracy and peace. And it has been important to remind the world that the rights so widely enjoyed today were fought for and won by persons who took great risks.

They did so for others. That is why Liu Xiaobo deserves our support.

Although none of the Committee’s members have ever met Liu, we feel that we know him. We have studied him closely over a long period of time.

Liu was born on the 28th of December 1955 in Changchun in China’s Jilin province. He took a Bachelor’s degree in literature at Jilin University, and a Master’s degree and a PhD at Beijing Normal University, where he also taught. Stays abroad included visits to Oslo, Hawaii, and Columbia University, New York.

In 1989 he returned home to take part in the dawning democracy movement. On the 2nd of June he and some friends started a hunger strike on Tiananmen Square to protest against the state of emergency that had been declared. They issued a six-point democratic manifesto, written by Liu, opposing dictatorship and in favour of democracy. Liu was opposed to any physical struggle against the authorities on the part of the students; he tried to find a peaceful solution to the tension between the students and the government. Non-violence was already figuring prominently in his message. On the 4th of June he and his friends tried to prevent a clash between the army and the students. He was only partially successful. Many lives were lost, most of them outside Tiananmen Square.

Liu has told his wife that he would like this year’s Peace Prize to be dedicated to "the lost souls from the 4th of June." It is a pleasure for us to fulfil his wish.

Liu has said that "The greatness of non-violent resistance is that even as man is faced with forceful tyranny and the resulting suffering, the victim responds to hate with love, to prejudice with tolerance, to arrogance with humility, to humiliation with dignity, and to violence with reason."

Tiananmen became a turning-point in Liu’s life.

In 1996, Liu was sentenced to three years in a labour camp for "rumour-mongering and slander." He was president of the independent Chinese PEN-centre from 2003 to 2007. Liu has written nearly 800 essays, 499 of them since 2005. He was one of the chief architects behind Charter 08, which was made known on the 10th of December 2008, which was, in the words of the document’s Preamble, on the occasion of "the one hundredth anniversary of China’s first Constitution, the 60th anniversary of the promulgation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the 30th anniversary of the birth of the Democracy Wall, and the 10th anniversary of the Chinese government’s signature of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights." Charter 08 defends fundamental human rights and has in due course been signed by several thousand persons both in China itself and abroad.

On the 25th of December 2009, Liu was sentenced to 11 years’ imprisonment and two years’ loss of political rights for, in the words of the sentence, "incitement to the overthrow of the state power and socialist system and the people’s democratic dictatorship." Liu has consistently claimed that the sentence violates both China’s own constitution and fundamental human rights.

There are many dissidents in China, and their opinions differ on many points. The severe punishment imposed on Liu made him more than a central spokesman for human rights. Practically overnight, he became the very symbol, both in China and internationally, of the struggle for such rights in China.

Your Majesties, ladies and gentlemen,

During the cold war, the connections between peace and human rights were disputed. Since the end of the cold war, however, peace researchers and political scientists have almost without exception underlined how close those connections are. This is, allegedly, one of the most "robust" findings they have arrived at. Democracies may go to war against dictatorships, and have certainly waged colonial wars, but there is, apparently, not a single example of a democracy having gone to war against another democracy.

The deeper "fraternity between nations" which Alfred Nobel mentions in his will, and which is a prerequisite for real peace, can hardly be created without human rights and democracy.

There are scarcely any examples in world history of a great power achieving such rapid growth over such a long period of time as China. Since 1978, year by year, decade after decade, the country’s growth rate has stood at 10 percent or more. A few years ago the country’s output was greater than Germany’s; this year it exceeded Japan’s. China has thus achieved the world’s second largest gross national product. The USA’s national product is still three times greater than China’s, but while China is continuing its advance, the USA is in serious difficulties.

Economic success has lifted several hundred million Chinese out of poverty. For the reduction in the number of poor people in the world, China must be given the main credit.

We can to a certain degree say that China with its 1.3 billion people is carrying mankind’s fate on its shoulders. If the country proves capable of developing a social market economy with full civil rights, this will have a huge favourable impact on the world. If not, there is a danger of social and economic crises arising in the country, with negative consequences for us all.

Historical experience gives us reason to believe that continuing rapid economic growth presupposes opportunities for free research, thinking and debate. And moreover: without freedom of expression, corruption, the abuse of power, and misrule will develop. Every power system must be counterbalanced by popularly elected control, free media, and the right of individual citizens to criticise.

More or less authoritarian states may have long periods of rapid economic growth, but it is no coincidence that nearly all the richest countries in the world are democratic. Democracy mobilises new human and technological resources.

China’s new status entails increased responsibility. China must be prepared for criticism and regard it as positive – as an opportunity for improvement. This must be the case wherever there is great power. We have all formed opinions on the role of the USA through the years. Friends and allies criticised the country both for the Vietnam War and for the lack of civil rights for the coloured people. Many Americans were opposed to the award of the Nobel Peace Prize to Martin Luther King in 1964. Looking back, we can see that the USA grew stronger when the African-American people obtained their rights.

Many will ask whether China’s weakness – for all the strength the country is currently showing – is not manifested in the need to imprison a man for eleven years merely for expressing his opinions on how his country should be governed.

This weakness finds clear expression in the sentence on Liu, where it is underlined as especially serious that he spread his opinions on the Internet. But those who fear technological advances have every reason to fear the future. Information technology can not be abolished. It will continue to open societies. As Russia’s President Dmitrij Medvedev put it in an address to the Duma: "The new information technology gives us an opportunity to become connected with the world. The world and society are growing more open even if the ruling class does not like it."

No doubt Medvedev had the fate of the Soviet Union in mind. Compulsory uniformity and control of thought prevented the country from participating in the technological revolution which took place in the 1970s and 80s. The system broke down. The country would have stood to gain a great deal more from entering into a dialogue at an early stage with people like Andrej Sakharov.

Your Majesties, ladies and gentlemen,

Today neither the nation-state nor a majority within the nation-state has unlimited authority. Human rights limit what the nation-state and the majority in a nation-state can do. This must apply to all states that are members of the United Nations and who have acceded to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. China has signed and even ratified several of the UN’s and the ILO’s major international conventions on human rights. It is interesting that China has accepted the supranational conflict-resolving mechanism of the WTO.

China’s own constitution upholds fundamental human rights. Article 35 of the country’s constitution thus lays down that "Citizens of the People’s Republic of China enjoy freedom of speech, of the press, of assembly, of association, of procession and of demonstration." Article 41 begins by stating that citizens "…have the right to criticise and make suggestions regarding any state organ or functionary."

Liu has exercised his civil rights. He has done nothing wrong. He must therefore be released!

In the past 100 to 150 years, human rights and democracy have gained an ever-stronger position in the world. And with them, peace. This can be clearly seen in Europe, where so many wars were fought, and whose colonial powers started so many wars around the world. Europe today is on the whole a continent of "peace". Decolonization after the Second World War gave a number of countries, first in Asia and then in Africa, the chance to govern themselves with respect for basic human rights. With India in the lead, many of them seized the opportunity. Over the latest decades, we have seen how democracy has consolidated its position in Latin America and in Central and Eastern Europe. Many countries in the Muslim part of the world are treading the same path: Turkey, Indonesia, Malaysia. Several other countries are in the process of opening up their political systems.

The human rights activists in China are defenders of the international order and the main trends in the global community. Viewed in that light, they are thus not dissidents, but representatives of the main lines of development in today’s world.

Liu denies that criticism of the Communist Party is the same as offending China and the Chinese people. He argues that "Even if the Communist Party is the ruling party, it cannot be equated with the country, let alone with the nation and its culture." Changes in China can take time, a very long time: political reforms should, as Liu says, " be gradual, peaceful, orderly and controlled." China has had enough of attempts at revolutionary change. They only lead to chaos. But as Liu also writes, "An enormous transformation towards pluralism in society has already taken place, and official authority is no longer able to fully control the whole society." However strong the power of the regime may appear to be, every single individual must do his best to live, in his words, "an honest life with dignity."

The answer from the Chinese authorities is to claim that this year’s Peace Prize humiliates China, and to give very derogatory descriptions of Liu.

History shows many examples of political leaders playing on nationalist feelings and attempting to demonize holders of contrary opinions. They soon become foreign agents. This has sometimes happened in the name of democracy and freedom, but almost always with a tragic outcome.

We recognise this in the rhetoric of the struggle against terrorism: "You are either for me or against me." Such undemocratic methods as torture and imprisonment without sentence have been used in the name of freedom. This has led to more polarisation of the world and harmed the fight against terrorism.

Liu Xiaobo is an optimist, despite his many years in prison. In his closing appeal to the court on the 23rd of December 2009, he said: "I, filled with optimism, look forward to the advent of a future free China. For there is no force that can put an end to the human quest for freedom, and China will in the end become a nation ruled by law, where human rights reign supreme."

Isaac Newton once said, "If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants." When we are able to look ahead today, it is because we are standing on the shoulders of the many men and women who over the years – often at great risk – have stood up for what they believed in and thus made our freedom possible.

Therefore: while others at this time are counting their money, focussing exclusively on their short-term national interests, or remaining indifferent, the Norwegian Nobel Committee has once again chosen to support those who fight – for us all.

We congratulate Liu Xiaobo on the Nobel Peace Prize for 2010. His views will in the long run strengthen China. We extend to him and to China our very best wishes for the years ahead.

Elogio de la lectura y la ficción

Discurso del premio Nobel de la literatura Mario Vargas Llosa.






Carta a la embajadora de Estados Unidos

Dear Mari Carmen Aponte:

¡Bienvenida al país de las maravillas! Antes lo decíamos porque los payazos daban vía en las calles y los policías daban risa. Esto ya ha cambiado, pero siguen otras maravillas: El FMLN llega al poder y el presidente que llevan logra convencer hasta a la embajada del ‘imperio’ que para defenderse del FMLN hay que apoyarle a él...

¡Qué galán! En los cables que ahora publican la embajada dice “esquizofrenia” a esta maravilla. Mal diagnóstico. En realidad es lo que permite al FMLN andar chupando felizmente de dos tetas: como partido de los petrodólares de Hugo Chávez – y como gobierno de Estados Unidos...

Estoy seguro que usted, que vino cuando ya se ha calmado (y en cierta manera, frustrado) el gran entusiasmo por ‘el cambio’, va a comenzar a ver nuestro país de las maravillas con ojos más críticos y analíticos.

No se enoje con la ‘desclasificación’ de los cables. Sé que es incómodo para los diplomáticos cuando se rompe la confidencialidad. Pero veámoslo del lado positivo: Al fin se reveló que la política de su país frente al nuestro estaba basada en un juego de apariencias: Lo que ustedes vieron como inicio de un proceso de divorcio entre el FMLN y su presidente, obviamente no era así. Era un pleito por cómo repartir el dulce pastel del poder y del presupuesto – y a la vez sirvió para conseguirle al presidente apoyos (o por lo menos una tregua) por parte de los poderes que obviamente no comulgan con el FMLN.

Hoy que todos conocemos los análisis erróneos e incompletos en los cables diplomáticos, y también los renovados pactos entre FMLN y Funes, podemos crear análisis y políticas más realistas.

Nadie va a pedir a su embajada que le haga oposición al gobierno de Funes-FMLN. Ya nadie quiere este tipo de intervenciones. Lo que sí le pedimos es que cuando este gobierno (que ustedes llaman “esquizofrénico”) caiga en crisis, también se abstengan de intervenir. Mucho menos en base de un análisis equivocado de que para defenderse del FMLN hay que apoyar a Funes, como dicen los cables...

A ver cuando discutimos todo esto sobre un café, Paolo Lüers

(Más!)

Lo único que revelan los cables de la embajada es su falta de análisis


Repito lo que escribí la semana pasada, cuando empezaron a publicarse los cables del Departamento de Estado “desclasificados” por WikiLeaks: “¿Cuál es el gran escándalo?”. Es aún más válida esta pregunta ahora que se empiezan a publicar los cables de la embajada norteamericana en San Salvador.

No hay nada nuevo en estos cables. No hay nada que --para quienes querían ver-- no era obvio desde el principio: que el matrimonio entre Mauricio Funes y el FMLN no es de amor sino de conveniencia; que el presidente no tiene control sobre sus aparatos de seguridad y de inteligencia; que éstos están siendo controlados por el partido; que Melgar, a pesar del veto de Washington, fue nombrado ministro y mantenido en su cargo, a pesar de su incapacidad mostrada, porque el presidente así lo había pactado con el FMLN --y para evitar que sea un cuadro aún más duro del partido, como José Luis Merino, el jefe del Partido Comunista dentro del FMLN.

Tampoco necesitábamos leer los cables de la embajada para entender que el FMLN estaba detrás de las protestas callejeras contra aquellas políticas del gobierno que no estaban bajo control del FMLN.

Por lo menos en El Diario de Hoy, todo esto ha sido descrito, advertido, analizado hasta la saciedad, tanto en la parte informativa como en las columnas de opinión. También algunos analistas en otros medios de comunicación, así como dirigentes gremiales empresariales y de la oposición política han hablado de todos estos temas, analizando los pactos y las contradicciones entre el presidente y el FMLN.

Bienvenido sea el efecto WikiLeaks: Ahora que se revelan los informes confidenciales de la embajada norteamericana en El Salvador, todo el mundo se siente obligado a opinar sobre temas que antes no querían tocar. Enhorabuena. ¡Pero toquémoslos bien!

Aunque en términos de análisis los cables aportan muy poco y nada nuevo, vale la pena estudiarlos por dos razones. Primero, revelan algunos detalles sabrosos antes no conocidos: la visita del canciller de Hugo Chávez a El Salvador para reunirse con la cúpula del FMLN, sin informar al presidente; el hecho de que ni siquiera su servicio de inteligencia informó a Funes de esta visita; las pláticas secretas de dirigentes del FMLN, como Medardo González y Sigfrido Reyes, con la embajada para explicarles que por favor no tomen en serio las consignas y discursos anti-imperialistas en la convención del partido; el hecho de que a esta cita llevaron, como traductor, a Óscar Ortiz...

Segundo, los cables revelan que los norteamericanos nunca entendieron bien la relación simbiótica entre Funes y FMLN. Es sintomático que en los cables clasifican de “esquizofrénico” el gobierno de Funes, pero no dedican ni siquiera una palabra a la hipótesis más realista que se trata de un doble juego. Los cables del año pasado revelan que los analistas de la embajada interpretaron las contradicciones y los pleitos entre Casa Presidencial y la cúpula del FMLN como síntomas que anunciaron un futuro divorcio. Por tanto, definieron como política a seguir de Washington apoyar a los “elementos moderados” dentro del gabinete, y empezaron a coquetear con una coalición de moderados de izquierda y moderados de derecha apoyando a un presidente Funes divorciado del FMLN. Todavía en enero del 2010, la embajada en san Salvador dice en su cable al State Department: “La embajada de Estados Unidos, en alianza con la sociedad civil, continuará a buscar y apoyar a los moderados dentro del gobierno de El Salvador”.

Si la embajada de Washington en San Salvador ni siquiera tiene sospecha de doble juego, si ni siquiera tiene dudas de las buenas intenciones de los supuestos “moderados” que han llevado al FMLN a controlar buena parte del Ejecutivo, entonces Funes y el FMLN realmente viven en el mejor de los mundos para ellos: La misma embajada del “imperio” se dedica a convencer a la “sociedad civil” y la oposición de que la mejor manera de defenderse de las intenciones antidemocráticas del FMLN es apoyar a Funes.

Sería interesante leer los cables más recientes de la embajada. ¿Se habrán dado cuenta de que cayeron en la trampa de un doble juego? ¿O todavía estarían dispuestos a apoyar a Funes para alejarlo del FMLN y de la influencia de Cuba y Venezuela? Porque a estas alturas es obvio que Funes no tiene ninguna intención de romper con el FMLN, ni siquiera de limitar el control que le ha cedido sobre amplias áreas de la gestión y de los gastos públicos.

¿Se habrá dado cuenta la diplomacia de Estados Unidos de que sus principales fuentes de información y análisis, los asesores del presidente provenientes de los Amigos de Funes, no han avanzado ni un milímetro en construir una fuerza política “moderada” e independiente del FMLN de cara a las elecciones del 2012 y del 2014? Para los observadores nacionales era claro que esto no iba a pasar. Es obvio que ni Funes ni la familia Cáceres y sus amigotes tienen la capacidad ni la intención de crear una fuerza política. Mucho menos una que sea independiente del FMLN. Ni pensar en una fuerza que le haga competencia electoral al FMLN. Aunque los Estados Unidos apuesten y apoyen a “los moderados”, lo más que pueden parir es un movimiento satélite del FMLN más. Fácil: Puedo entender que lo que ahora se publicó sea el discurso público de la embajada. Pero si esto es lo que piensan y analizan para definir políticas, están perdidos.

(El Diario de Hoy)

Cable de la embajada norteamericana en San Salvador: Sobre Mungia Payez, Sanchez Cerén, FMLN

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DE RUEHSN #0928/01 2732102
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FM AMEMBASSY SAN SALVADOR
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1683
S E C R E T SAN SALVADOR 000928

NOFORN
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C O R R E C T E D COPY CAPTION

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/23/2034
TAGS: PINR PGOV ES
SUBJECT: (S/NF) FUNES'S RELATIONSHIP WITH THE FMLN
(C-AL9-01786)

REF: A. STATE 93069
B. SAN SALVADOR 789
Classified By: Charge d'Affaires, for reasons 1.4 (b), (c), and (d).

1. (SBU) Embassy San Salvador provides the following
responses to Reftel queries.

2. (S/NF) DOES MINISTER OF DEFENSE PAYES HAVE CLOSE RELATIONS
WITH FMLN HARDLINERS? IF SO, WITH WHOM? No. Munguia Payes,
both during the campaign and since becoming Minister of
Defense, has been quick to point out to Embassy interlocutors
that he fought against the guerrilla forces that later formed
the FMLN during his time in the Salvadoran Armed Forces.
Indeed, Munguia Payes seems to see himself as the sole
cabinet-level official in a security position without divided
loyalties between Funes and the FMLN. However, he has a
cordial/correct relationship with the FMLN hardliners in the
GOES.

3. (S/NF) WHAT IS VICE PRESIDENT SALVADOR SANCHEZ CEREN'S
CURRENT RELATIONSHIP WITH FMLN HARDLINERS? We have no
evidence to suggest that longstanding ties between Sanchez
Ceren and FMLN Coordinator General (and head of legislative
bloc) Medardo Gonzalez, Jose Luis Merino, Sigfrido Reyes, and
other hard-line elements of the FMLN have changed. However,
the heavy schedule Sanchez Ceren keeps as Minister of
Education and Vice President, along with persistent rumors of
health problems, suggest he has less time to devote to party
business than when he was head of the FMLN's bloc in the
Legislative Assembly. It is very troubling that on September
26 Sanchez Ceren made anti-American statements at an FMLN
rally in support of Manuel Zelaya. The GOES is wrestling
with Sanchez Ceren's inconsistency when wearing his VP hat as
opposed to his FMLN hat. HOW DOES HE GET ALONG WITH FUNES?
Sanchez Ceren's relationship with Funes grew from nearly
non-existent to a working relationship during the campaign.
XXXXXXXXXXXX recently told PolCouns that Funes and Sanchez
Ceren did not talk "as much as I would like" but that when they
did talk, it was productive and that the two seemed to get along
well together. The two almost never appear together in public.
Also, in early September, Funes countermanded a decision by
Sanchez Ceren regarding agriculture subsidies.

4. (S/NF) IS FUNES CONSIDERING CONFRONTING FMLN HARDLINERS
WHOM HE BELIEVES ARE UNDERMINING HIM? HOW IS FUNES COPING
UNDER STRESS? XXXXXXXXXXXX told PolCouns
September 22 that the divorce between Funes and the FMLN wa
final, pointing to the lack of public conflict as convincing
evidence: the two sides are no longer even trying to work
together. XXXXXXXXXXXX is convinced FMLN hard-liners
smuggled Honduran President Zelaya into Tegucigalpa
September 21 without the knowledge of Funes and in direct
defiance of his efforts to keep the Honduras conflict from playing
out on Salvadoran soil. XXXXXXXXXXXX believes the relationship
is beyond repair. We believe that Funes distrusts the orthodox
FMLN, but is not able to break with the party at this time. He has
some valuable FMLN "lite" members of his cabinet, and would
risk more active subversion and street protests if he broke
with the party.

5. (S/NF) WHO ARE CURRENTLY THE MOST INFLUENTIAL FMLN
LEADERS? HOW DO THEY VIEW FUNES? HOW DOES FUNES VIEW THEM?
WHAT PLANS DO THEY HAVE, IF ANY, TO STRENGTHEN THE FMLN'S
INFLUENCE? FMLN General Coordinator Medardo Gonzalez,
PARLACEN Deputies Jose Luis Merino and Nidia Diaz, and
Salvadoran Assembly Deputy Sigfrido Reyes continue to hold
significant power within the FMLN. Hato Hasbun, now
Secretary for Strategic Affairs in the presidential staff,
straddles both worlds as an FMLN insider and Funes
confidante. Within the hard-line faction of the FMLN, it
appears the influence of the BRV and Hugo Chavez is on the
rise, with some in the FMLN capitalizing on the crisis in
Honduras to widen the breach between Funes and party
hard-liners. Samayoa was recently introduced (by phone) to
Havana's new Charge d'Affaires and believes the Cubans are
planning to raise their profile in El Salvador. FMLN
hard-liners engineered Funes' selection as a pragmatic step
to gain power, expecting they would eventually govern through
Funes as their puppet. Funes made a pragmatic decision to
run for President on the FMLN ticket, expecting to govern
despite the opposition he expected would emerge from radical
elements of the party. San Salvador's political pundits
continue to speculate that the Friends of Mauricio (now being
rebranded the Citizen Movement for Change) will soon merge
with the FMLN's smaller ally CD (Democratic Change) giving
them a base to win seats in 2012 legislative elections and a
power base from which to negotiate. El Salvador's
conservative business class continues to assess that working
with Funes is the best avenue for protecting Salvadoran
democracy and their own business interests in the long run.
A senior executive XXXXXXXXXXXX told PolCouns September
22 he thought Funes would wind up governing with the support of
ARENA and other conservative parties before his term was up.

6. (S/NF) HAVE KEY SECURITY ORGANIZATION BUDGETS
CHANGED? IF SO, TO WHAT EXTENT? Funes' Private Secretar
told us (Ref (B)) the President was disappointed in Eduardo Linares,
new Director of the Salvadoran State Intelligence Organization
(OIE). In fact, Funes has privately commented on his
complete lack of faith with Linares and the OIE, whom Funes
believes to be beholden to the hard-line factions of the
FMLN. Given Funes' disappointment in and distrust of
Linares, Funes has decided to shift a significant part of
OIE's intelligence collection duties to the El Salvador Armed
Forces (ESAF). Even so, the CY2010 budget for the ESAF was
reduced USD 6 million from its CY2009 level of USD 132
million, a significant decrease considering over 90 percent
of the budget is directed to salaries. Accordingly, Funes
plans to also gradually reduce OIE's budget to further
marginalize the Agency's ability to operate effectively.
Hato Hasbun has told us he envisages OIE evolving into a more
analytical than operational organization. Other sensitive
reporting suggests a pending realignment of the GOES
intelligence apparatus.

7. (S/NF) HOW DO AVERAGE SALVADORANS SEE FUNES'S ACTIONS TO
REDUCE CRIME, SPECIFICALLY THE MURDER RATE, IN THE COUNTRY?
DO FMLN HARDLINERS IN GOVERNMENT VIEW THE ISSUE AS A KEY
PRIORITY? WHAT IS THE MOST RECENT OFFICIAL HOMICIDE RATE?
Salvadoran press reported September 29 that as of September
28, the number of murders in 2009 (3,182) had already
exceeded the 2008 total (3,179). This represents an
annualized total of 4,286 killings if the current rate holds,
or almost 12 per day in 2009 compared to a rate of nearly 9
per day in 2008. This uptick in the homicide rate seems to
have shocked even those Salvadorans who had grown numb to the
persistently high levels of violence in their country.
September polling numbers from the University of Central
America's IUDOP polling institute suggest a majority of
Salvadorans are concerned about public security but remain
willing to give the Funes Administration time to address the
problem. 58.6 percent of respondents believe crime is
growing worse since Funes took office, while 26.5 percent
believe it is about the same and only 14.9 percent believe it
is improving. Respondents were almost evenly split as to
whether Funes' public security policies represent more of the
same (48.9 percent) or a change (49.9 percent) from policies
of the Saca administration. 67.8 percent of respondents
believe Funes' security policies will have some or a
significant effect on crime, while 32.3 percent believe they
will have little or no effect. However, 51.9 percent of
respondents thought Funes' public security policies were
having little to no effect while 48.0 percent believed they
were, in fact, showing results already. FMLN hardliners are
concerned more with obtaining operational control over the
PNC than they are with reducing the crime rate. The
biographies of some of these hardliners include involvement
in murder (Melgar, Sanchez Ceren, Nidia Diaz), kidnapping
(Sanchez Ceren), and arms trafficking (Merino), so their
commitment to law and order cannot be easily assumed.
BLAU

Cable de la embajada norteamericana en San Salvador: Lo bueno, lo malo y lo feo

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INFO RUEHZA/WHA CENTRAL AMERICAN COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUMIAAA/USCINCSO MIAMI FL PRIORITY
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E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/21/2019
TAGS: PGOV PREL ES
SUBJECT: EARLY IMPRESSIONS OF FUNES GOVERNMENT

REF: SAN SALVADOR 653

Classified By: Charge d'Affaires, for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)

1. (C) Summary: Some eight weeks into the Funes
Administration, we are beginning to see more clearly the
trends and factions inside the GOES. President Mauricio
Funes' non-FMLN campaign support group, the Friends of
Mauricio, is largely in control of the economic apparatus of
El Salvador. Similarly, Defense is in the hands of a
formerly-retired, recently-promoted military officer and
Friend of Mauricio, Brigadier General David Munguia Payes.
FMLN hard-liners are at the helm of the security and
intelligence apparatus. Foreign policy is in the hands of a
loyal FMLN member, but has thus far been characterized by
pragmatism and outreach to the U.S. Assistance programs
broadly mirror the rest of the relationship, with most
programs moving forward successfully but some police and
security programs under review. The Funes GOES has made
poverty eradication its highest priority. End Summary.

--------
The Good
--------

2. (C) The Funes Administration inherited two serious
economic problems. First, the Salvadoran economy likely
entered recession in late 2008, driven by falling remittances
and declining exports because of the U.S. recession. Second,
the government was effectively broke ) and in many cases
behind on its bills ) because of declining tax revenues and
the Saca Administration’s lavish, election-year subsidies.
So far, the government has chosen to seek new funding from
the World Bank, Inter-American Development Bank, and
International Monetary Fund, rather than from sources like
Venezuela. The government's "Anti-Crisis Plan" likewise
appears to consist primarily of increased funding for
existing social programs. These programs, however, will
likely do little to boost the economy, where recovery
ultimately depends on the recovery in the U.S.

3. (C) Since June 1, Salvadoran foreign policy has also been
characterized by pragmatism. Foreign Minister Hugo Martinez
stepped into the chair at the OAS General Assembly in San
Pedro Sula just hours after assuming his new role; he
impressed both the U.S. delegation and Salvadoran observers
with his performance. Since then, the main foreign policy
issue faced by the GOES has been Honduras. In the hours
after President Zelaya's expulsion to Costa Rica, both
Martinez and Funes reached out to the Embassy and to
Washington to coordinate what has been a reasonable,
responsible approach to the crisis on their northern border.
On Funes' first day in office he recognized Cuba, but
balanced this by meeting Secretary Clinton and the USDEL to
his inauguration. FMLN hardliners, particularly Vice
President Sanchez Ceren, would prefer an ALBA-esque foreign
policy and carry out a parallel FMLN agenda, but they are not
permitted to wreck relations with traditional partners.
Ambassadorial appointments are being made in a deliberate,
unhurried fashion, and have not raised concerns; indeed,
keeping former FM Francisco Lainez in place at the OAS sent
an early signal of continuity.

4. (C) On foreign assistance, USAID reports good cooperation
across the board, save for some difficulties in public
security. (More on that below.) The GOES has voiced strong
support for continuing USAID programs and has indicated it is
in agreement with USAID's strategic goals for El Salvador.
The Funes Administration has elevated to Vice Minister the
MFA position responsible for coordinating foreign assistance
programs and has called for the formulation of a global
cooperation strategy. The GOES is actively leveraging
international donors to address its near-term anti-crisis
plan. In charge of both economic policy and donor
coordination is Alex Segovia, the President's Chief of
Cabinet. Segovia, a kind of super-minister, is the most
pragmatic and least ideological figure in the GOES.

5. (C) The GOES just reaffirmed its continued interest in
USAID's programs for improved tax collection, health sector
reform and a diagnostic of the education system. MCC's rate
of implementation continues to gain speed, in large degree
because of the efforts of local partner FOMILENIO's Director,
Jose Angel Quiroz. We successfully pushed back against a
move by Funes to replace Quiroz in the early days of his
government, arguing that another disruption in FOMILENIO
management would set back MCC's program by months, if not
more. It was Segovia, in his role as FOMILENIO Board
Chairman, who convinced Funes to leave Quiros in place. The
new GOES has shown great interest in the MCC indicators;
Segovia just wrote a warm letter to MCC CEO Rodney Bent
recommitting the GOES to the indicators and all other MCC
criteria.

6. (C) Military-to-military cooperation continues at a tempo
similar to that before Funes took office. The USNS Comfort
recently spent 11 days anchored offshore and saw more than
19,000 Salvadoran patients. We have three other Medical
Readiness Training Exercises scheduled for 2009 and a full
slate of DOD/SA-funded training for members of the Salvadoran
Armed Forces (ESAF). Additionally, the MOD has requested USG
support to conduct a National Security Strategy (NSS)
workshop with the intent to get Cabinet level and Assembly
personnel involved in the GOES process to develop their own
NSS. Appointment of retired Colonel Munguia Payes as
Minister of Defense, as well as mid-ranked active duty
colonels to most key command positions, has created
discomfort in ESAF ranks. However, the Minister of Defense
is an institutionalist and is focused on maintaining the
ESAF's apolitical professionalism. The Minister and the ESAF
are loyal supporters of the president, and eager to continue
longstanding mil-to-mil relationships with the U.S.

-------
The Bad
-------

7. (S) Salvadorans across the spectrum link Manuel Melgar,
now Minister of Public Security and Justice, to the 1985 Zona
Rosa attack which killed four off-duty U.S. Embassy Marine
Security Guards and other Americans and Salvadorans.
Melgar's nomination appears to have been based less on his
public security credentials than on the hard-line FMLN's
insistence that they control public security. This was their
"pound of flesh" in exchange for "Friends of Mauricio"
controlling the economy. Melgar's presence as Minister has
resulted in a distancing from the USG, a far cry from the
close relationship we enjoyed with his predecessor. Law
enforcement cooperation has not been frozen, but full
implementation of the Merida Initiative is now contingent
upon guidance from Washington regarding how best to work
around Melgar. Just as disappointing is the cynical message
it sends to a high-crime society like El Salvador when the
President names as Minister of Public Security an individual
with blood on his hands.

------------
And the Ugly
------------

8. (C) Traditional feuds between the Salvadoran right and
left and modern feuds between Funes and the FMLN are playing
out in other contexts. Over two weeks after the legal
deadline (June 30) to appoint five new magistrates to the
Supreme Court, the Salvadoran Legislative Assembly remained
deadlocked as the governing FMLN and ARENA-led opposition
coalition could not reach agreement on a list of names.
(Note: Supreme Court appointments require a 2/3
supermajority, thus demanding ARENA and the FMLN support any
nominee. End note.) Naming a new Attorney General (which
also requires a 2/3 Assembly vote) became linked to the
Supreme Court selections and the entire process ground to a
halt. The Supreme Court was made whole July 16 when a deal
was struck between Funes, the FMLN, and opposition on a slate
of nominees. Public and private negotiations continue over
the new Attorney General.

9. (S/NF) El Salvador's intelligence service (OIE) in the
hands of orthodox FMLN member Eduardo Linares could become
ugly, depending upon how much leeway Funes allows him to
accept advice, training, money, and personnel from Cuba or
Venezuela. To date Linares has behaved cautiously, first
seeking to get his arms around his own organization, which,
to be fair, had previously considered the FMLN as its primary
target.

-------------------------------------
Pursuing U.S. Interests Going Forward
-------------------------------------

10. (C) Eight weeks on, we are roughly where we expected to
be. We have enjoyed excellent cooperation in most areas with
the GOES, but lost some ground in other areas, especially law
enforcement. Given the inconsistent performance of
Salvadoran law enforcement in good times, it has been hard to
discern a difference in performance, or crime statistics,
since June 1. Our assistance priorities, and continued trade
relationship, seems closely aligned with the Funes
Administration's own goals. Foreign policy priorities will
sometimes diverge, although our problems are likely to be
less with the official GOES policies than with the FMLN's own
parallel policies. The Embassy's approach with the Funes
Administration will continue to be engagement across the
board, even with Public Security, up to and including the
Deputy Minister. Our objective is to strengthen the
institutions of Salvadoran democracy, regardless of who is in
power. Civil society, media, and the business sector take a
parallel and complementary approach. ARENA did not disappear
June 1 and its reorganization and regrouping is proceeding.
It promises to remain a significant opposition during the
entire five years of the Funes Administration.
BLA

Problema superado

Todo lo que dice Maite Rico en su nota sobre cables de la embajada de los Estados Unidos en El Salvador es exacto. Y es exacto porque la fuente, el encargado de negocios Robert Blau, a diferencia de diplomáticos estadounidenses en otros países, tiene un conocimiento bastante fino de la realidad polìtica salvadoreña y se expresa siempre con mucha prudencia, producto de su temperamento y de su veteranía.

A mediados del presente año, a pocas semanas del primer aniversario del gobierno de Funes, la situación de desencuentro del presidente con el FMLN era realmente grave. La desconfianza era grande y las recriminaciones eran frecuentes y agrias, tanto las que se hacìan en privado como las que se hacìan en público. Hasta se podía pensar que la relación estaba a punto de ruptura, lo que significaba, entre otras cosas, remoción de muy altos funcionarios del gobierno que también eran militantes del Frente, comenzando por los de seguridad e inteligencia. En ese momento, el presidente se dedicaba, tras bambalinas, a formar un movimiento político -"ciudadanos por el cambio"- para asegurar gobernabilidad ante el eventual deterioro de su pacto con el FMLN.

La situación, sin embargo, cambió en los últimos meses. Las contradicciones se redujeron y se administraron con mejor criterio político. El viaje de Funes a Cuba tranquilizó al Frente y consolidó, ya sin ambages, el matrimonio de conveniencia, en la medida en que ambas partes renunciaron a sus antiguas aspiraciones de mutua confianza e identidad ideológico-política. Ahora se le ve muy cómodo al presidente con el partido y al partido con el presidente. Funes ha aprendido ya su lección de realismo, y tal vez también algo de cinismo. Los problemas volverán, porque en el Frente poca gente quiere al presidente. Lo utilizan, pero no lo estiman. Cuando pasen las elecciones legislativas y municipales de 2012 recrudecerá la discordia y todo el cuadro dibujado por Robert Blau en sus cables volverá a tener candente actualidad.

Publicado en El País.

Funes pide ayuda a EE UU frente a sus socios ex guerrilleros (sobre los cables de la embajada en San Salvador)

Que la cohabitación entre el presidente salvadoreño, Mauricio Funes, y sus socios de la antigua guerrilla iba a ser complicada estaba cantado desde su llegada al poder, el 1 de junio de 2009. Lo que quizás no era tan previsible ha sido el rápido deterioro de las relaciones entre este periodista de 50 años, abanderado de una izquierda moderada y pragmática, y sus compañeros de viaje, la vieja guardia del Frente Farabundo Martí para la Liberación Nacional (FMLN), alineados hoy con el proyecto bolivariano de Hugo Chávez. Según los documentos de la Embajada estadounidense en San Salvador a los que ha tenido acceso EL PAÍS, el "divorcio" entre Funes y el sector que encabeza el vicepresidente, Salvador Sánchez Cerén, está sellado, y en malos términos.

El propio presidente ha expresado preocupación por su integridad, y sus allegados están convencidos de que sus comunicaciones telefónicas están intervenidas "por elementos de la línea dura del Frente". Así se lo hace saber al encargado de negocios de la Embajada, el 21 de agosto de 2009, un colaborador de Funes, que llega a pedir incluso "la ayuda estadounidense en ambas áreas". La seguridad física del Palacio Presidencial es deficiente. Y poco pueden hacer ante el monitoreo de las llamadas: el FMLN controla el aparato de seguridad e inteligencia, en el que han perdido la confianza. El director de los servicios secretos (OIE), Eduardo Linares, calificado de "ortodoxo" de la antigua guerrilla, no solo no envía los informes reglamentarios, sino que ha ocultado información esencial al mandatario, como la llegada secreta a San Salvador del canciller venezolano, Nicolás Maduro, en plena crisis por el golpe de Honduras, en julio de 2009.

"En los días que siguieron a la expulsión de [Manuel] Zelaya de Honduras, el ministro de Exteriores de Venezuela, Maduro, llegó a bordo de un avión de la República de Venezuela a San Salvador, se entrevistó con altos cargos de línea dura del FMLN y el OIE nunca informó de ello", relata el colaborador de Funes. Un moderado de la ex guerrilla confía a la Embajada su certeza de que ese sector duro infiltró al destituido Zelaya en Honduras el 21 de septiembre de 2009, "sin el conocimiento de Funes y en desafío directo a sus esfuerzos por mantener el conflicto hondureño fuera de suelo salvadoreño".

La Embajada estadounidense sigue de cerca los avatares del Gobierno salvadoreño, preocupada porque el duro pulso político acabe amenazando la frágil democracia del país, que puso fin en 1992 a una guerra civil de doce años. "Tras ocho meses de la presidencia de Mauricio Funes", escribe el pasado enero el diplomático Robert Blau, "como mejor puede definirse el Gobierno salvadoreño es de esquizofrénico". Si El Salvador fue tablero de la Guerra Fría, ahora parece haberse convertido de nuevo en un campo de la batalla geoestratégica que disputan en Latinoamérica las democracias liberales y el proyecto bolivariano. "La parte del Ejecutivo que Funes controla es moderada, pragmática, centroizquierdista responsable y amigable a EE UU. La parte que ha cedido a los elementos de línea dura del FMLN busca llevar a cabo el proyecto chavista".

Funes y su grupo controlan las carteras económicas. Defensa ha quedado en manos del general David Munguía, allegado al presidente y con buenas relaciones con el FMLN. En la misma línea se mueve el ministro de Exteriores, Hugo Martínez, que pertenece al Frente pero cuya profesionalidad tranquiliza al Departamento de Estado. Educación y seguridad son territorio del FMLN. Y este último apartado suscita serios quebraderos con EE UU, que vincula al ministro del Interior, Manuel Melgar, con la matanza de la Zona Rosa, un ataque perpetrado en 1985 por la guerrilla en un restaurante de la capital salvadoreña, que acabó con la vida de 13 personas, entre ellas cuatro marines.

"Una apuesta equivocada"

La política exterior es quizás el terreno donde los choques entre ambos sectores del Gobierno son más evidentes. Al asumir la presidencia, Funes se alineó con el socialismo democrático de Brasil y Chile, reconoció a Cuba y dejó clara su intención de mantener una relación estrecha con Washington: tres de cada diez salvadoreños viven en EE UU, principal destino de las exportaciones nacionales. Las redes del crimen organizado y las peligrosas pandillas constituyen, además, un reto común. Sin embargo, recuerdan numerosos cables de la Embajada, sus contrapartes en el Gobierno, empezando por el vicepresidente, Sánchez Cerén, desafían públicamente estos lineamientos y reiteran el propósito de El Salvador de integrarse en el ALBA, el acuerdo regional que auspicia Hugo Chávez. "Para el FMLN, la actual cohabitación es un arreglo interino en el camino al socialismo del siglo XXI", sostienen los diplomáticos estadounidenses. Con la franqueza que le caracteriza, el propio Funes reconocía este extremo en una entrevista con EL PAÍS en septiembre. "Es una apuesta equivocada", decía. "Nos tenemos que apartar de alineamientos ideológicos que no nos permiten resolver los problemas del país".

Problemas que pasan por una economía gravemente afectada por la crisis mundial y una criminalidad galopante. Funes intenta abarcar ambos frentes. Ha desplegado al Ejército en las zonas más calientes, ha pasado una reforma fiscal para elevar los ingresos del Estado, aunque los resultados son aún magros. Pero está maniatado. Algunas medidas económicas han encontrado una fuerte respuesta en las calles, donde la Embajada de EE UU ve la mano de la ex guerrilla. "Las protestas callejeras masivas son parte del guión tradicional del FMLN y son un frente de batalla en la actual lucha por el poder entre el FMLN ortodoxo y el presidente", asegura un cable de agosto de 2009.

Una derecha atomizada y en pie de guerra, tras perder el poder después de 20 años, y una clase política corrupta y acostumbrada a los pactos bajo el agua no contribuyen a la gobernabilidad. A pesar de ello (o quizás por eso), el respaldo popular al presidente ronda el 80%.

"El FMLN esta contento de cabalgar sobre la alta popularidad de Funes, mientras presiona a través de protestas callejeras, retórica radical, viajes de alto perfil a La Habana y Caracas y maniobras en la trastienda del Legislativo", concluye el pasado febrero un cable de la Embajada. Los analistas estadounidenses creen que las elecciones parlamentarias de 2012 podrán determinar un nuevo escenario. De momento, Mauricio Funes se ve obligado a hacer equilibrismos. Una ruptura con sus socios dinamitaría el país.

(El País/Madrid)

Cable de la embajada norteamericana en San Salvador sobre la coyuntura politica de febrero 2010

ID:250337
Date:2010-02-23 21:29:00
Origin:10SANSALVADOR85
Source:Embassy San Salvador
Classification:SECRET
Dunno:
Destination:VZCZCXYZ0002
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHSN #0085/01 0551822
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
R 232129Z FEB 10
FM AMEMBASSY SAN SALVADOR
TO RUEKJCS/OSD WASHINGTON DC
INFO RUMIESS/SOUTHCOM IESS MIAMI FL

S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 03 SAN SALVADOR 000085

SIPDIS
OSD FOR ASD STOCKTON AND DASD MORA

E.O. 12958: DECL: 2020/02/23
TAGS: MARR, DOD, PREL, PGOV, ES
SUBJECT: Scenesetter for DoD Visit to El Salvador, March 8-9

SAN SALVAD 00000085 001.2 OF 003


CLASSIFIED BY: RBlau, CDA, DOS; REASON: 1.4(D)

1. (C) Summary: Embassy San Salvador warmly welcomes the March 8-9
visit of Assistant Secretary of Defense Dr. Paul N. Stockton and
Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Dr. Frank Mora. Your visit
comes while the GOES is in the midst of combating a public security
crisis of the first order. It also comes at a time when the ESAF
has emerged as a major player in President Funes's anti-crime
strategy and his efforts to pursue a center-left, generally
pro-U.S. agenda. Your visit will help reinforce the U.S. policy of
active engagement with the GOES, which strengthens the moderate,
pragmatic elements in the current administration.



2. (C) Summary, continued: Recent polls show President Mauricio
Funes with an 80 percent approval rating and overwhelming public
support for a strong bilateral relationship with the U.S. Funes
has fostered strong ties with the U.S. and Brazil, though some in
the FMLN have pushed him to strengthen ties with Venezuela and Cuba
while de-emphasizing the U.S. relationship. President Funes'
non-FMLN campaign support group, the Friends of Mauricio (now the
Citizen Movement for Change), is largely in control of the economic
apparatus of the government. Similarly, Defense is in the hands of
a formerly-retired, recently-promoted military officer and Friend
of Mauricio, Brigadier General David Munguia Payes. FMLN members
control security, education, and intelligence elements of the GOES.
Foreign policy is in the hands of a loyal FMLN member, but has thus
far been characterized by pragmatism and outreach to the U.S.
Combating violent crime and rejuvenating the economy are the GOES's
top priorities, but the Funes administration has made little
progress on either issue since taking office last June. End
Summary.



----------------------------------

Good Relations with U.S. Essential

----------------------------------

3. (C) On the day he was inaugurated, President Funes told
Secretary of State Clinton that his government needs a good
relationship with the United States. Three out of every ten
Salvadorans live in the U.S. and those who remain at home are avid
consumers of all manner of American products, media, and culture.
Nearly half of all Salvadoran exports are to the U.S. Given
transnational crime links to and from the U.S. via Central America,
there are no serious alternatives to cooperation with U.S. law
enforcement agencies. The Salvadoran military admires and trusts
our armed forces, and naturally look to us for training, equipment,
and mentoring. USAID and MCC are prominent actors in social and
economic development and are held in high esteem by the GOES and
the people of El Salvador. As a result, the Salvadoran public is
among the most pro-American in the hemisphere. Even the hard-line
FMLN recognize these points, if at the same time they do not forget
our role in preventing them from seizing power with violence during
the country's protracted and bloody civil war.



4. (C) There is a growing division between Funes and the party that
brought him to power. Funes joined the FMLN at the end of the 2009
presidential campaign. Throughout the campaign, he maintained a
close group of pragmatic, non-FMLN advisors (the Friends of
Mauricio), a fact which rankled some FMLN hard-liners. Since Funes
took power, tensions between Funes's centrist camp and the far-left
FMLN leadership have grown. Funes has publicly rebuked his own
Vice President, FMLN hard-liner Salvador Sanchez Ceren, and other
members of the FMLN for advocating policies that sharply depart
from Funes's moderate reform strategy. The FMLN appears content to
ride Funes' high approval numbers while applying pressure via
street protests, radical rhetoric, high-profile travel to Havana
and Caracas, and back-room legislative maneuvering. So far, the
fragile pact between Funes and the FMLN remains intact, but the
relationship is clearly strained.



5. (C) The political right is in disarray, though there are signs
that the worst of the post-election turmoil may be over. After
losing the presidential elections in March 2009, (center-right)
ARENA has seen 13 of its 32 legislative deputies leave the party,
12 of them forming a new party, the Grand Alliance for National
Unity (GANA). In December 2009, ARENA expelled former President
Tony Saca (2004-2009) from the party for alleged involvement in
GANA's rebellion. While collectively the right-of-center parties
could control a majority in the Legislative Assembly, infighting

SAN SALVAD 00000085 002 OF 003


and opportunism have prevented them from uniting to mount an
effective opposition to the FMLN's and President Funes's proposals.
However, inter-party bickering on the right has died down in recent
months, and recent conversations with ARENA leaders suggest the
party is finally righting the ship after more than a year of
internal confusion and passivity. If this rebound strategy works,
a rejuvenated ARENA could serve as an important base of support for
President Funes in his struggle with the far-left FMLN leadership.




---------------------------

Military and Defense Update

---------------------------

6. (S) Responding to public pressure to stem escalating rates of
violent crime, in November 2009, President Funes deployed
approximately 2,500 soldiers to occupy and control 28 of the most
violent urban areas in the country. These forces supplement the
1,700-2,000 troops already operating joint patrols with the
National Civilian Police (PNC), meaning that about half of the
Salvadoran Army's 10,000 soldiers are engaged in domestic law
enforcement. Aside from natural disaster relief efforts, this is
the largest domestic deployment of the ESAF since the end of the
1980-92 civil war. While initially popular, a consensus has
emerged that the added military presence has not significantly
reduced violent crime.



7. (SBU) Highlights of the bilateral military relationship include:



-- Cooperation and training programs intended to maintain a rich
military-to-military relationship in humanitarian
assistance/disaster relief, counter-terrorism, counter-narcotics,
and peacekeeping operations.



-- As a testament to the strength of the mil-mil relationship and
the effectiveness of our training programs, El Salvador deployed
troops to Iraq from August 2003 until early-2009 who were
considered professional and competent by U.S. and coalition
members.



-- In November 2009, Southern Command helicopters, based in
Honduras, ensured rapid and effective delivery of emergency (mostly
USAID) supplies in the wake of tropical storm Ida.



-- In June 2009, the USNS Comfort visit provided medical attention
to nearly 20,000 people and two engineering projects to rural
communities. Beyond-the-Horizons deployments are scheduled for
2010 and 2011. In November 2009, the Chief of the Salvadoran Navy
signed a letter of request for four high-speed maritime
interceptors under the Enduring Friendship Program.



-- In April 2009, we renewed the agreement to operate a Cooperative
Security Location (CSL) for another five years. The CSL is located
at the military end of the international airport, and serves as a
regional hub for counter-drug detection-and-monitoring flights.



---------------

U.S. Priorities

---------------

8. (SBU) Our work in El Salvador is focused on (1) promoting
improved public security; (2) supporting stable, democratic
governance; (3) broadening economic prosperity; and (4) investing
in people.

SAN SALVAD 00000085 003 OF 003


9. (SBU) Although El Salvador has made remarkable progress since
the 1992 Peace Accords, violent crime continues unabated. The
Central American Regional Security Initiative (CARSI), coupled with
ongoing efforts to strengthen the police, expand crime prevention
programs, and implement judicial reforms, aims to improve public
security and the rule of law. On February 18, the Legislative
Assembly passed a landmark wiretap law which will help authorities
combat the growing problem of telephone extortions and assist
investigations into a wide range of criminal activities. The
significant USG commitment to improving regional security, as
evidenced by the presence of the CSL and the International Law
Enforcement Academy (ILEA), provides us with additional credibility
with the Funes administration.



10. (SBU) Promoting economic growth, spurring job creation, and
encouraging investment are important near-term USG priorities.
Funes's electoral victory had a great deal to do with public
dissatisfaction over economic conditions in El Salvador. Funes
inherited an economy already in recession and a fiscal deficit
which severely limits what he can do to stimulate growth. The GOES
expects to raise $190 million in new revenue with a tax reform
passed in December 2009; however, many economists project far lower
revenue growth. The private sector has criticized the tax reform
as excessively complex and poorly timed given the economic
downturn. Business leaders also complain the GOES has yet to
detail regulations on how it will implement the new taxes.
Redirecting loans from multilateral institutions from debt
refinancing to budget assistance will provide some immediate fiscal
relief. El Salvador's economic recovery will largely depend on the
U.S. economy, the destination for about half of its exports and
major source of remittances ($3.8 billion, or 18 percent of GNP, in
2008). In the short run, the ($461 million) Millennium Challenge
Corporation project will provide much-needed fiscal stimulus and
new jobs, while CAFTA and our USAID assistance programs will help
strengthen the foundations for future prosperity.



-------------

The Way Ahead

-------------

11. (S) Although the Salvadoran electorate granted President Funes
a mandate for change, by all appearances the voters expect him to
work with the country's dynamic private sector, and to maintain
good relations with the United States. Despite continuing problems
with crime and a weak economy, the public is pleased with Funes's
work thus far - his approval rating is above 80 percent in recent
polling. Tensions between Funes and the FMLN could undermine
governability and potentially damage the bilateral relationship
with the U.S. Meanwhile, transnational organized crime and violent
street gang activity pose as serious threat to the stability of the
country. Your visit will help reaffirm our commitment to assisting
the GOES in combating this non-traditional national security threat
while continuing our traditionally-strong military-to-military
relationship.
BLAU