U.S. ambassador reported Chávez was bankrolling Ortega

A Spanish newspaper published Wikileaks material Monday that is not yet available online. The material is an indictment of Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega drafted by the former U.S. ambassador.

The gist of the material can be summed up in one paragraph:

Though he has not publicly abandoned his post-election commitments to keep the country on a democratic path and
maintain responsible free market policies, there are multiple signs that Ortega seeks only one goal: consolidation of power to perpetuate his rule.”

That was from a 2008 cable to the State Department by former U.S. ambassador Paul A. Trivelli.

The cable summarizes the convoluted Nicaraguan political landscape 15 months into the Ortega presidency.

Perhaps the most dramatic allegations in that cable is that the Ortega administration was being financed in part by money from Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez.
“We have first-hand reports that GON officials receive suitcases full of cash from Venezuelan officials during official trips to Caracas, said Trivelli speaking of the government of Nicaragua. He also called Ortega the “Mini-Me” to Chávez, a reference to a diminutive Austin Powers movie character.

“Several unconfirmed reports indicate that Ortega will have as much as 500 million dollars at his disposal over the course of 2008,” the former ambassador added.

Trivelli also said that the embassy had started a $1 million small grant program to provide money to election opponents of Ortega’s Frente Sandinista de Liberación Nacional but that embassy staffers were not impressed with the knowledge opponents had of campaign tactics.

The former ambassador said the most disturbing recent development was Ortega’s increasing public support of the Colombian rebel group, the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias, known as the FARC.

“Ortega has come perilously close to declaring open support for the FARC,” said the former ambassador.

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