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Viewing cable 10TEGUCIGALPA65, AMBASSADOR'S DISCUSSIONS WITH PRESIDENT ELECT

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
10TEGUCIGALPA65 2010-01-26 00:12 2011-01-29 21:09 SECRET Embassy Tegucigalpa
VZCZCXRO7507
OO RUEHAO RUEHCD RUEHHO RUEHNG RUEHNL RUEHRD RUEHRS
DE RUEHTG #0065/01 0260055
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
O 260055Z JAN 10
FM AMEMBASSY TEGUCIGALPA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1514
INFO RUEHWH/WESTERN HEMISPHERIC AFFAIRS DIPL POSTS IMMEDIATE
RUEHMD/AMEMBASSY MADRID IMMEDIATE 0566
RUEHSG/AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO IMMEDIATE 0022
RHEHAAA/THE WHITE HOUSE WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEHLMC/MILLENNIUM CHALLENGE CORP WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE 1301
RHMFISS/CDR JTF-BRAVO  IMMEDIATE
RHMFISS/CDR USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL IMMEDIATE
RHMFISS/CDR USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL//CINC/POLAD// IMMEDIATE
S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 03 TEGUCIGALPA 000065

NOFORN
SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR WHA/CEN

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/25/2020
TAGS: PGOV KDEM PREL PHUM HO
SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR'S DISCUSSIONS WITH PRESIDENT ELECT
LOBO, PRESIDENT ZELAYA AND PRESIDENT ARIAS

REF: TEGUCIGALPA

TEGUCIGALP 00000065 001.2 OF 003


Classified By: Ambassador Hugo Llorens, reason 1.4 (b & d)

1. (S/NF) Summary: The Ambassador had a series of meetings
and discussions over the past weekend with President-elect
Porfirio "Pepe" Lobo, President Manuel "Mel" Zelaya, and
Costa Rican President Oscar Arias. Lobo briefed the
Ambassador on his diplomatic efforts of the past week with
both Presidents Fernandez and Colom. He said his visits to
the Dominican Republic and to Guatemala had gone well and he
had been well received in both countries. He discussed the
agreement negotiated with Fernandez to provide safe passage
for Zelaya out of the Brazilian Embassy and to be escorted by
Fernandez to the Dominican Republic. He confirmed that
President Colom would also be in Tegucigalpa on January 27.
Lobo discussed his planned cabinet appointments and policy
priorities, and the creation of a government of national
unity. Zelaya told us that he supported the Fernandez-Lobo
pact allowing him to be able to leave Honduras with several
members of his family. President Arias is not likely to
attend the inaugural ceremony expressing disappointment that
Lobo had been unable to convince regime leader Roberto
Micheletti to resign. However, Arias made clear that he
would recognize the Lobo government and would work closely in
support of the new Honduran government. End Summary.

---------------------------------
Meeting with President-elect Lobo
---------------------------------

2. (S) The Ambassador and Honduran President-elect Porfirio
"Pepe" Lobo met for coffee at the residence on January 23 and
reviewed the latest political and diplomatic developments.
The meeting took place in the wake of Micheletti's January 20
decision to take a leave of absence and Lobo's own successful
diplomatic trips to the Dominican Republic to meet Dominican
President Lionel Fernandez and to Guatemala for a meeting
with Guatemalan President Colom. The following are the main
elements of the discussion:

3. (S/NF) Visit to the Dominican Republic: Lobo said he was
very pleased with the results of his January 19 visit to the
Dominican Republic. He expressed great appreciation for U.S.
support for the efforts by President Fernandez to resolve the
issue of President Zelaya's presence in the Brazilian Embassy
in Tegucigalpa. He discussed the written agreement he had
reached with Fernandez whereby Fernandez and Colom would be
in Honduras on January 27 to possibly attend his inauguration
and then pick-up Zelaya at the Brazilian Embassy and escort
him out of the country. Lobo said that Zelaya would go with
Fernandez to the Dominican Republic and stay there for a
time, but that his longer term plan was to settle in Mexico.
Lobo said he was committed to providing safe passage to
Zelaya to leave the Embassy and said he had discussed the
legal aspects with Attorney General Rubi, since Zelaya faced
criminal charges in Honduras. Lobo noted that Rubi had
agreed to find a constructive legal way to get this done.
Lobo (please protect) described Fernandez as a "real
operator" but very effective. He mentioned that Fernandez
had asked him to consider rejoining ALBA saying that such an
action would help ease the process of Honduran reintegration
in the Inter-American system. Lobo responded that while he
would attempt to maintain the Petro Caribe arrangement that
provided favorable credit terms from Venezuela for the
purchase of hydrocarbons products, he had no intention of
bringing Honduras back into the Bolivarian alliance.

4. (S/NF) Political Amnesty: Lobo said he remained committed
to securing political amnesty for all of the players involved
in the Honduran political and constitutional crisis,
including Zelaya, Micheletti, and the Honduran military. He
believed that securing political amnesty legislation provided
a platform of stability that would facilitate the work of the
Truth Commission. He said approval of this legislation would

TEGUCIGALP 00000065 002.2 OF 003


be the first task of the act of National Party controlled
Congress.

5. (S/NF) Visit to Guatemala: Lobo said that he had just
returned from a successful January 21 visit to Guatemala for
a meeting with President Colom. He said President Colom had
been very friendly and eager to establish a close working
relationship with his new government. Colom committed to
attend the inaugural ceremony in some manner. Colom was
considering arriving at the stadium and formally recognizing
Lobo's presidency as soon as Lobo had taken the oath from the
new Congress President Juan Orlando Hernandez. He said that
Colom had committed himself to attempt to convince Fernandez
and possibly Funes to also participate in the inaugural
festivities in some way and not just be available to escort
Zelaya out of the country.

6. (S/NF) Presidential Appointments: Lobo said he was also
focused on completing the creation of his cabinet. He noted
that former Ambassador to the U.S. (during the Maduro
Administration) Mario Canahuati would be his foreign
minister. He said that Canahuati had the experience and
knowledge of the U.S. to serve as his senior foreign
policymaker. Lobo also said that he would be appointing
technocrats William Chong Wong and Maria Elena Mondragon to
serve as Minister of Finance and Central Bank President,
respectively. He noted that Chong and Mondragon had held
these positions in the Maduro Administration as well. He
stressed the severity of the Honduran economic downturn
required a veteran team with strong executive experience.
The Ambassador mentioned his meeting with Treasury Deputy
Assistant Secretary Nancy Lee and the importance of beginning
a policy dialogue with his economic team as soon as possible.
The Ambassador mentioned that he was aware that Chong Wong
and Mondragon had already met with Lee in Washington on
January 22.

7. (S/NF) Lobo discussed lobbying by outgoing Defense Chief
General Romeo Vasquez Velasquez for the minister of defense.
Both agreed that although Vasquez Velasquez had been helpful
in efforts to implement the Tegucigalpa-San Jose Accord his
direct links to the coup made it impossible for him to remain
in the military chain of command. Lobo said he had offered
the General a position in government such as the National
Electric Company (ENEE) where his executive and managerial
ability would be helpful. The Ambassador noted that
appointing individuals to senior cabinet positions that had
direct links to the coup would harm his government and his
own efforts to restore strong ties with the international
community.

8. (S/NF) Lobo said he was very pleased that we had been able
to convince Democratic Unification leader Cesar Ham to join
his government. Ham would be appointed as Director of the
National Agrarian Institute, which is a powerful government
agency responsible for land tenure policy and ties to the
campesino movement. Lobo said Ham's participation in
addition to Christian Democrat presidential candidate
Felicito Avila (appointed Minister of Labor), PINU standard
bearer Bernard Martinez (Minister of Culture), as well as a
Liberal Party member, would ensure a strong multi-party
representation in his government. Lobo thanked the
Ambassador for our active encouragement of Ham, Avila and
Martinez to support the new government.

----------------------------------
Conversation with President Arias:
----------------------------------

9. (S/NF) The Ambassador spoke to President Arias just prior
to his meeting with Lobo. Arias reiterated that he was
somewhat disappointed with Lobo since he did not believe he
had been forceful enough in getting regime leader Micheletti
to resign. He said he had already vowed not to attend the
inauguration and it would be difficult for him to change his

TEGUCIGALP 00000065 003.2 OF 003


position now. The Ambassador told Arias that no one had done
more to seek to restore the constitutional order and to
achieve a negotiated and peaceful solution to the crisis than
he had. The Ambassador pointed out that Honduras continued
to need his support and guidance. The Ambassador said that
the U.S. would be sending an official delegation to the
inauguration that would probably be led by Assistant
Secretary Arturo Valenzuela. The Ambassador also briefed
Arias on the Fernandez agreement with Lobo to get Zelaya to
leave the Brazilian Embassy and travel to the Dominican
Republic on January 27. Arias responded that the U.S.
presence would be positive and help other countries engage at
least after Lobo assumes office. Arias said he would take
our views into account in terms of Costa Rican participation
in the inauguration, but would most likely ask his ambassador
to attend the ceremony. The idea of going to the Brazilian
Embassy and escorting Zelaya out of the country was somewhat
intriguing to him, but he made no commitments. Arias made
clear he intended to recognize the newly-elected government
and work constructively with Lobo. He said he was thinking
of inviting Lobo to visit Costa Rica soon after he assumes
office. (Note: While the Ambassador was speaking to Arias,
Lobo came to the Residence and Arias expressed interest in
speaking directly to Lobo. The two chatted amiably for 8-10
minutes. Lobo attempted to convince Arias to attend his
inauguration and said he intended to provide special
recognition for Arias at the ceremony for his crucial role in
seeking to resolve the crisis. Lobo said that even if he did
not attend, he hoped to invite him to Tegucigalpa in the near
future and honor him in some way.

----------------------------------
Conversation with President Zelaya:
-----------------------------------

10. (S/NF) The Ambassador called President Zelaya to
reconfirm that the U.S. would be sending an official
delegation to attend the inauguration. The Ambassador noted
that we expected A/S Valenzuela to lead our delegation that
might also include NSC Senior Director Dan Restrepo Assistant
Secretary for Economic Affairs Jose Fernandez and PDAS Craig
Kelly. The Ambassador told Zelaya that our delegation would
be seeking a meeting with him probably on Tuesday. Zelaya
said it would be good for the U.S. to be present in Honduras
for the inauguration and he looked forward to the meeting
with Valenzuela and the U.S. delegation. He confirmed that
he was fully supportive of the Fernandez-Lobo pact and that
he planned to leave Honduras for the Dominican Republic on
January 27. Zelaya claimed he had encouraged UD leader Cesar
Ham to join Lobo's government of national unity, which he
believed was essential to ensure peace and harmony.
LLORENS