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Viewing cable 09SANSALVADOR928, S/NF) FUNES'S RELATIONSHIP WITH THE FMLN

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09SANSALVADOR928 2009-09-30 21:09 2010-12-08 21:09 SECRET//NOFORN Embassy San Salvador
VZCZCXYZ0003
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHSN #0928/01 2732102
ZNY SSSSS ZZH (CCY ADBBC5AB MSI4648-695)
O 302102Z SEP 09
FM AMEMBASSY SAN SALVADOR
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1683
S E C R E T SAN SALVADOR 000928 

NOFORN 
SIPDIS 

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