Keep Us Strong WikiLeaks logo

Currently released so far... 4489 / 251,287

Articles

Browse latest releases

Browse by creation date

Browse by origin

A B C D F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W Y Z

Browse by tag

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
QA
YI YM YE

Browse by classification

Community resources

courage is contagious

Viewing cable 10TEGUCIGALPA2, AMBASSADOR AND PRESIDENT-ELECT LOBO DISCUSS NEED

If you are new to these pages, please read an introduction on the structure of a cable as well as how to discuss them with others. See also the FAQs

Understanding cables
Every cable message consists of three parts:
  • The top box shows each cables unique reference number, when and by whom it originally was sent, and what its initial classification was.
  • The middle box contains the header information that is associated with the cable. It includes information about the receiver(s) as well as a general subject.
  • The bottom box presents the body of the cable. The opening can contain a more specific subject, references to other cables (browse by origin to find them) or additional comment. This is followed by the main contents of the cable: a summary, a collection of specific topics and a comment section.
To understand the justification used for the classification of each cable, please use this WikiSource article as reference.

Discussing cables
If you find meaningful or important information in a cable, please link directly to its unique reference number. Linking to a specific paragraph in the body of a cable is also possible by copying the appropriate link (to be found at theparagraph symbol). Please mark messages for social networking services like Twitter with the hash tags #cablegate and a hash containing the reference ID e.g. #10TEGUCIGALPA2.
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
10TEGUCIGALPA2 2010-01-05 17:05 2011-01-29 21:09 CONFIDENTIAL//NOFORN Embassy Tegucigalpa
VZCZCXYZ0001
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHTG #0002/01 0051749
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 051749Z JAN 10
FM AMEMBASSY TEGUCIGALPA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1409
INFO RUEHZA/WHA CENTRAL AMERICAN COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RHMFISS/DIRJIATF SOUTH PRIORITY
RHMFISS/CDR JTF-BRAVO  PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC PRIORITY
RHMFISS/CDR USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RHMFISS/COMSOCSOUTH  PRIORITY
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEIDN/DNI WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY
RUMIAAA/USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL PRIORITY
C O N F I D E N T I A L TEGUCIGALPA 000002

NOFORN
SIPDIS

STATE FOR WHA

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/04/2020
TAGS: PREL PGOV EAID MARR CVIS HO
SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR AND PRESIDENT-ELECT LOBO DISCUSS NEED
FOR MICHELETTI RESIGNATION, UNITY GOVERNMENT AND TRANSITION
PLANS

REF: A. 09 TEGUCIGALPA 1328
B. 09 TEGUCIGALPA 1315
C. 09 TEGUCIGALPA 1310

Classified By: Ambassador Hugo Llorens, reason 1.4 (B and D)

1. (C) Summary: The Ambassador met with President-elect
Porfirio "Pepe" Lobo at the Embassy on January 4 and
discussed the need for full implementation of the
Tegucigalpa-San Jose Accord, and most importantly for de
facto regime leader Micheletti to step aside immediately.
Lobo sought the Ambassador's counsel on building
international support for his administration, and reaffirmed
his desire to build his own government of
national unity to foster reconciliation in Honduran society
and politics. They agreed a truth commission would aid in
healing society's wounds following months of strife. The
Ambassador also noted the importance of showing clear
civilian authority over the Honduran Armed Forces (HOAF), and
in particular the negative impact on both the country and the
HOAF itself of appointing a Minister of Defense who was
associated with the June 28 coup d'etat. End summary.

2. (C) The Ambassador and president-elect Lobo, who had just
returned from a brief holiday visiting relatives in
New Orleans, met January 4 in the Ambassador's office. Lobo
thanked the Ambassador for notifying Diplomatic
Security of his visit, which allowed him to forego some of
his Honduran security package while on vacation. Lobo said
he was somewhat uncomfortable with the large size and high
profile of the Honduran armed forces (HOAF) security detail
assigned to him immediately following his election, and the
relative anonymity he enjoyed in New Orleans was a relief
after the pressure of the campaign and the post-election
political environment. Lobo appeared tanned, rested and
ready to take on the many challenges that face him.

------------------------------------------
Status of the Tegucigalpa-San Jose Accord
------------------------------------------

3. (C) The Ambassador told Lobo that the United States
remained fully committed to the full implementation of the
Tegucigalpa-San Jose Accord, noting that the USG saw the
status of accord implementation as a compass for
re-establishing the democratic and constitutional order in
Honduras. He said the USG appreciated Lobo's parallel
interest in resolving the political crisis following the June
2009 coup d'etat. The Ambassador said time was
running out, and de facto regime leader Micheletti needed to
make a decision to step down immediately to allow
creation of a national unity government in advance of the
January 27 inauguration. He said the USG understood that at
this late stage, a complete change in cabinet was not
feasible, but that Micheletti's departure well before
inauguration day and the replacement of at least the Minister
of Government was necessary if Honduras was to draw
international support for the inauguration and the
normalization of relations with the Lobo administration.

4. (C) The Ambassador stated that U.S. insistence on
Micheletti's departure was the reason for the January 5-6
visit of Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs Principal
Deputy Assistant Secretary Craig Kelly. He said that
Washington was not inclined to look favorably on Micheletti
waiting until the last days before the
inauguration to step aside; a mid-January departure was
necessary in order to give Lobo the space to build some
international support and hope for international
participation in the inauguration. The Ambassador explained
that PDAS Kelly would offer positive incentives for
Micheletti and his team to step aside, but would also make
clear that if Micheletti continued to thumb his nose at the
United States and the rest of the international community,
there would be repercussions. He said it would be very
difficult for Micheletti and his supporters to ever get their


U.S. visas back, for example.

5. (C) Lobo responded that he was totally committed to the
full implementation of the accord and immediate resignation
of Micheletti in favor of a national unity government. He
said that -- as the Ambassador was aware, he had met with
Micheletti twice to press him to step aside, and had also
made frequent public statements in support of the accord.
Lobo said he believed Micheletti was looking for a way out,
but his hard line supporters were making this difficult for
him. He noted Micheletti is isolated, and the hard liners
are constantly telling him he is a great hero, loved by the
Honduran public for saving democracy -- and that the
Americans will not restore his visa even if he does step down
now. Lobo added that he supported PDAS Kelly's visit, and
confirmed that he and former Honduran president Ricardo
Maduro would brief Kelly on Maduro's January 4 meeting with
Salvadoran FM Martinez. Lobo said that he would follow up on
Kelly's visit by meeting with Micheletti
again to press him to step down immediately.

---------------------------------
Transition and Building a Cabinet
---------------------------------

6. (C/NF) The Ambassador said he understood Lobo wanted to
send his senior advisors, especially his economic team to
Washington for consultations, but given the current efforts
he thought it would be bad timing (Ref A). He noted that
both sides of the U.S. political spectrum were placing
pressure on the administration regarding Honduras, and the
Democrats in Congress had placed a hold on millions of
dollars of assistance money for Honduras. The Ambassador
suggested Lobo wait and see how Kelly's visit went, and Lobo
agreed.

7. (C) The Ambassador praised Lobo for his keen commitment to
creating his own national unity government. He said he knew
that Lobo had made offers to the leadership of the other
political parties to join in the new administration. Lobo
confirmed that he had offered the Minister of Culture
position to center-left Social Democratic Innovation and
Unity (PINU) Party presidential candidate Bernard Martinez
and Minister of Labor to center-right Christian Democratic
Party presidential candidate Felicito Avila, and both had
accepted. Lobo said he had also offered positions to senior
members of Liberal Party presidential candidate Elvin Santos'
team, noting that Santos himself had stated he was not
prepared to take a position himself in the next government.
Lobo added that he had offered a cabinet position to
left-of-center, (and anti-coup) Democratic Unification Party
candidate Cesar Ham, but had not yet received a reply. Lobo
asked the Ambassador for his help in encouraging Ham to
accept a role in the government, noting he was aware the
Ambassador had met with Ham in December. (Note: Ham met with
the Ambassador December 17. Details reported Ref C. End
note.)

8. (C) Lobo also sought the Ambassador's help in finding a
counterbalance to his popular designee for Security Minister,
Oscar Alvarez. Lobo noted that Alvarez, who received the
most votes of any congressional candidate in the November
2009 election, was an "empire builder," and therefore Lobo
wanted to find a designee for Vice Minister who would not be
"Alvarez's man." (Note: Alvarez, who was Security Minister
in the Maduro administration, has already stated his intent
to select his former Vice Minister Armando Caledonio.
According to Honduran law, the Vice Minister position is
nominated by the Minister, subject to approval by the
President. End note.) Lobo noted security was not his area
of expertise, and he hoped the Ambassador could suggest names
of some qualified, clean candidates for the position who
would not be beholden to Alvarez. He said on the matter of
addressing the transnational threat of crime and trafficking,
sovereignty was not an issue, and he welcomed U.S. inputs.
The Ambassador said he would consult his security and law


enforcement team on the matter.

-----------------
Truth Commission
-----------------

9. (C) Lobo agreed with the Ambassador's suggestion to invite
Tegucigalpa-San Jose Accord Verification Commission members
Labor Secretary Solis and former Chilean president Lagos to
come to Honduras in February and join their Honduran
Verification Commission colleagues in launching a truth
commission. The Ambassador stressed that a truth commission
would be a critical element in achieving national
reconciliation, along with a government of national unity.
He acknowledged there was no cookie-cutter method to forming
or conducting the work of a post-conflict truth commission,
and that while there were certainly human rights violations
committed during the political crisis that followed the June
2009 coup, Honduras had not seen the levels of violence as
other countries which had formed truth commissions, such as
Chile, Guatemala or South Africa. Lobo agreed with the
Ambassador that the truth commission should be a forum for
all stories to be told surrounding the political crisis
without indicting anyone, acknowledging that all sides of the
political classes had failed Honduran society in the
political collapse of 2009. They agreed that what had taken
place was a failure of political leadership by President Jose
Manuel "Mel" Zelaya in the months leading up to the June
coup, as well as Micheletti and other institutions in
supporting the coup. Lobo stated that while he believed
Zelaya had largely created the environment that led to the
coup, he also believed that what took place in June was
wrong. Lobo said he felt the Organization of American States
(OAS) would have a natural role to play in forming and
supporting the truth commission.

-----------------
The Armed Forces
-----------------

10. (C) The Ambassador said that another important element
for restoring the international community's confidence in
Honduras and Honduran democracy was for the new
administration to demonstrate clearly that the HOAF was under
civilian control. He said the HOAF had taken a major step
backward in its role in the coup, though in fairness, it had
been the civilian political factions on both sides which had
dragged the HOAF into the political conflict. The Ambassador
advised Lobo to take steps to establish to the international
community that the HOAF was under strong civilian management,
and that to do so would not only help Honduras, but also the
HOAF itself by restoring its positive image internationally.
He noted that he had heard Chief of Defense MG Vasquez
Velasquez was lobbying hard to be appointed Minister of
Defense, and that this would be seen very negatively by the
international community, given Vasquez's role in the coup.
The Ambassador stressed it was Lobo's decision to make, but
that selection of any military figure closely associated with
the coup would create a serious image problem in the
international perspective.

11. (C) Lobo acknowledged that management of the HOAF would
be a critical challenge for his administration. He said that
Vasquez was on his short list for Defense Minister, and he
had not considered the international implications of such an
appointment, but saw the Ambassador's point clearly. Lobo
said he would not appoint Vasquez to be his Defense Minister.
He noted Vasquez was seeking a "soft landing" in the
civilian political forum, but that he would encourage Vasquez
to stay away from government for a while and revisit his
prospects in six months or so.

12. (C) Comment: Despite showing a clear appreciation of the
serious social and economic challenges before him, Lobo
appeared relaxed and confident during the meeting -- a far
cry from the pre-election Lobo, who had worn the stress of


the campaign heavily. Lobo also made a point that "two
thirds of Honduras's international portfolio is the United
States" and he was eager to rebuild a strong relationship
with the United States. Lobo has made every indication that
he fully grasps the broader implications of the Honduran
political crisis and is prepared to show the sort of
leadership that has been sorely lacking in the persons of
President Zelaya and de facto regime leader Micheletti. End
comment.
LLORENS