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Viewing cable 09SANSALVADOR789, FRIENDS OF MAURICIO: FUNES NEEDS YOUR HELP

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09SANSALVADOR789 2009-08-21 22:10 2010-12-08 21:09 SECRET Embassy San Salvador
VZCZCXYZ0000
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHSN #0789/01 2332211
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
O 212211Z AUG 09
FM AMEMBASSY SAN SALVADOR
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1526
INFO RHEHNSC/NSC WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
SIPDIS  
  
E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/10/2019  
TAGS: PGOV PREL ES
SUBJECT: FRIENDS OF MAURICIO: FUNES NEEDS YOUR HELP  
  
Classified By: Charge d'Affaires, for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)  
  
1. (S) Summary: Leaders of the Friends of Mauricio movement,  
XXXXXXXXXXXX, told us  
August 21 the movement is formalizing itself and changing its  
name to the Citizen Movement for Change.  They said Funes is  
concerned about his personal security, physical security at  
the Presidential offices, and suspects hard-line FMLN  
elements are intercepting Funes' and his inner circle's  
telephone calls.  XXXXXXXXXXXX expressed disappointment in the  
performance of intelligence service chief Eduardo Linares and  
described the decision making process that led to Manuel  
Melgar being named Minister for Public Security and Justice  
(in lieu of FMLN hard-liner Jose Luis Merino.)  End Summary.  
  
2. (C) XXXXXXXXXXXX, told Charge and Emboffs  
August 21 that the Friends of Mauricio movement was moving to  
formalize its status and had just selected Funes himself as  
the President of the (now renamed) Citizen Movement for  
Change.  XXXXXXXXXXXX said there were no immediate plans to convert  
the Citizen Movement for Change into a political party but  
did not rule out that possibility.  He said the near-term  
goal of the organization was to accompany President Funes as  
he governed and to provide him non-FMLN political support  
during his term.  He said the Friends of Mauricio  
organization in the U.S. would likely move to formalize its  
status, too.  
  
3. (S) XXXXXXXXXXXX said Funes and those in his inner circle were  
concerned about both his personal security as well as  
technical security of their communications.  XXXXXXXXXXXX also  
lamented the state of physical security around Casa  
Presidencial, the presidential office compound.  XXXXXXXXXXXX said he  
suspected elements in the (left-wing) FMLN were monitoring  
phone calls of the President, XXXXXXXXXXXX, and other non-FMLN  
members of the Government.  XXXXXXXXXXXX said Funes would welcome  
U.S. assistance in both areas.  Charge offered to arrange a  
meeting with Funes and appropriate Embassy staff; XXXXXXXXXXXX  
  
4. (S) XXXXXXXXXXXX said he and the President were disappointed in  
the new Director of the Salvadoran State Intelligence  
Organization (OIE), Eduardo Linares (aka Douglas Santamaria).  
 Despite high hopes initially, XXXXXXXXXXXX said almost three  
months into the Funes administration, he was still not  
receiving daily briefings from OIE.  He recounted other  
instances where he felt Funes was ill-served by the OIE under  
Linares, including the surprise arrival of substantial  
numbers of protesters at Casa Presidencial, complete with  
portable toilets, with no advance warning.  In another case,  
in the days following Zelaya's expulsion from Honduras,  
Venezuela FM Maduro arrived in a BRV plane in San Salvador,  
met with senior, hard-line elements of the FMLN, and OIE  
never reported this XXXXXXXXXXXX.  (Note: XXXXXXXXXXXX  
learned of the visit from a confidante at the airport.)  
  
5. (S) XXXXXXXXXXXX also expressed hope that the USG would be able  
to provide assistance for blocking mobile phone transmissions  
from Salvadoran prisons; Charge pointed out that assistance  
would be available, too, but through different channels, much  
of it part of Plan Merida.  However, he said, the  
complicating factor remained Minister of Public Security and  
Justice Manuel Melgar.  Charge said we expect to receive  
shortly instructions to meet with Funes on the subject.  
XXXXXXXXXXXX said Melgar's appointment was not taken to display  
any disrespect to the U.S., but had been a compromise with  
the FMLN, which had sought appointment of FMLN hard-liner  
Jose Luis Merino (aka Ramiro Vasquez) as Public Security  
Minister.  
  
6. (S) Funes, he said, had pushed back and preferred to name  
Melgar to that position because he had developed a certain  
rapport with Melgar during the campaign.  XXXXXXXXXXXX described  
Melgar's behavior around Funes during the campaign as  
compliant and loyal to Funes, characteristics he said would  
not have been the case with Merino.  XXXXXXXXXXXX said Funes would  
consider new information on Melgar and take appropriate  
action, fully cognizant of Melgar's linkage to the 1985 Zona  
Rosa killings.  
  
7. (S) Comment: The message from XXXXXXXXXXXX on behalf  
of Funes was clear: we have great confidence in the USG, real  
security concerns, and need your help.  XXXXXXXXXXXX  
  
8. (S) Comment continued: The stress of the bifurcated  
Funes/FMLN relationship continues to manifest itself in the  
GOES.  While mediocre performance by two FMLN members in key  
positions may provide Funes the pretext for a cabinet  
shuffle, it does not guarantee the FMLN will  
take their  
removal lying down.  FMLN leaders are  
likely to demand that  
their quota of positions in the GOES remain stable, and have  
shown their ability to be disruptive when they don't get  
their way.  
BLAU