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DOCUMENTO Íntegro

Cable en el que Otto Pérez denuncia que Sandra Torres prepara una falsa denuncia contra él

ID: 250027
Date: 2010-02-22 17:04:00
Origin: 10GUATEMALA49
Source: Embassy Guatemala
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Dunno: 08GUATEMALA1017 09GUATEMALA919
Destination: VZCZCXYZ0000
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHGT #0049/01 0531704
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 221704Z FEB 10
FM AMEMBASSY GUATEMALA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 1113
INFO WHA CENTRAL AMERICAN COLLECTIVE
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RHMFISS/CDR USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 0080
RUCNFB/FBI WASHINGTON DC
RUEABND/DEA HQS WASHINGTON DC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEHME/AMEMBASSY MEXICO

C O N F I D E N T I A L GUATEMALA 000049

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 2020/02/22
TAGS: PGOV, PINR, PHUM, GT
SUBJECT: Opposition Leader Complains of Smear Campaign

REF: A) 08 GUATEMALA 1017; B) 09 GUATEMALA 919

CLASSIFIED BY: Drew G. Blakeney, Political and Economic Counselor,
State, P/E; REASON: 1.4(B), (D)

Summary



1. (C) The Ambassador met February 17 with rightist opposition
leader General Otto Perez Molina. Perez said the First Lady and
her associates are preparing a smear campaign to falsely accuse him
of human rights abuses during the internal conflict, and are trying
to manipulate the judiciary to disqualify his presidential
candidacy. Nonetheless, he was confident of winning the presidency
in 2011. Perez Molina's Patriot Party is prepared to work with the
government in Congress to pass important rule of law reform
legislation and would even consider supporting controversial tax
reform, though the increasingly charged political environment
threatens to derail the legislative agenda. The Ambassador thanked
Perez Molina and Baldetti for their support for a new election of
the head of the public defender's office. End Summary.



Opposition Leader Perez Molina Confident of Win



2. (C) On February 17, the Ambassador and Pol/Econ Counselor had
breakfast with opposition leader retired General Otto Perez Molina
and Roxana Baldetti, the leader of his rightist Patriot Party's
congressional bench. Perez Molina was confident he would win the
fall 2011 presidential election. Press had reported on February 16
the results of two polls. One that Perez Molina commissioned
showed him leading First Lady Sandra Torres de Colom with 52%
support to 9%; the governing UNE's poll reportedly showed him
edging out the First Lady 21% to 20%. Perez Molina said he thought
he had a strong possibility of winning in the first round with over
50% of the vote.



3. (C) Asked whether Sandra Torres' leadership of the "My Family
Progresses" Conditional Cash Transfer program might give her a
decisive advantage with rural voters, who had delivered the
presidency for Alvaro Colom in 2007, Perez Molina said no. For
every rural voter UNE had won over with the program, it had
alienated another due to flawed methodology used to determine who
should be included. "That program has divided poor rural
communities into 'haves' and 'have-nots'; it's actually somewhat
dangerous," said Baldetti. Asked whether he would publicly pledge
to continue the program, Perez Molina smiled wryly and said "I'll
have to." Asked about competition from other rightist candidates,
such as GANA's Alejandro Giammattei and VIVA's Harold Caballeros,
Baldetti said none had a chance of advancing to the second round.
In an aside to Pol/Econ Counselor, Baldetti derisively described
would-be presidential contender Manuel Baldizon as a charlatan and
criminal.



4. (C) Baldetti said that, while all indications are that the UNE
believes it can overcome the constitutional prohibition of
presidents' family members running for the presidency, Sandra
Torres has not yet cleared that hurdle. The government's
manipulation of the courts to allow her candidacy would be the
source of bitter controversy, she predicted. Perez Molina added
that there is a small chance that the UNE would conclude Sandra
Torres is not viable candidate, and instead run the popular
President of Congress, Roberto Alejos.



First Lady Preparing Smear Campaign



5. (C) Perez Molina said Sandra Torres is working closely with
Gloria Porras, Secretary General of the Attorney General's Office,
to develop specious embezzlement charges that would falsely
implicate him in the congressional MDF embezzlement scandal (ref
a). He asserted that President Colom, at his wife's behest, plans

to name Porras Attorney General in May which, he opined, would
politicize the Attorney General's Office and guarantee impunity for
the First Family. The Ambassador said the Embassy and the UN-led
International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG)
would engage closely on the Attorney General selection process, as
we had done with the Supreme Court last year (ref b). Perez Molina
accused Secretary of Peace Orlando Blanco, a member of the First
Lady's inner circle, of coaching indigenous people in Quiche
Department - where Perez Molina served as an army detachment
commander during the internal conflict - to bear false witness
against him. Specifically, he said, Blanco was preparing a false
accusation that Perez Molina had personally murdered an entire
indigenous family.



Prospects Good for Passage of Rule of Law Reform Legislation



6. (C) Baldetti agreed with the Ambassador on the urgency of
congressional passage of certain rule of law reform measures,
particularly the Assets Seizure Law, Illicit Enrichment Law, and
Injunctions (amparos) Reform Law. She said congressional consensus
was broad enough to ensure passage, likely within the next few
months, but cautioned that partisan political attacks could derail
the legislative agenda at any moment. The Ambassador pressed her
to see to it that that did not happen. Baldetti said she thought
Congress could pass the most important legislation before Easter
Week, "but after that the knives will come out." Many Members of
Congress from other parties are looking to enhance their
re-election prospects by switching to the Patriot Party, Baldetti
said. No decision had yet been made on whether to accept them, but
she said there probably is not room for many on the party's slate
of congressional candidates, and that accepting too many outsiders
could threaten the party's ideological coherence.



7. (C) Perez Molina thanked the Ambassador for having hosted him
and President Colom to restart dialogue. He said he and the
president -- with whom he met in January -- were on speaking
terms, though the same did not hold for the First Lady. The two
sides were not as far apart on tax reform as Colom publicly
indicated, Perez Molina said. The Patriot Party also recognizes
the need for increased government revenue, and disagreed only with
the income and car tax portions of the GOG's proposed reform
package. Enhanced transparency would, however, be critical to
building public confidence and therefore political consensus, given
rampant corruption. The Ambassador noted that he had urged Colom
to work much harder on transparency. He thanked Perez Molina and
Baldetti for their support for the annulment of Congress's recent
election of a problematic candidate to head the Public Defenders'
Institute (septel).




Comment



8. (C) The fall 2011 election is far off, but is now foremost in
the minds of Guatemala's political class. At this early stage,
Perez Molina appears to be the candidate to beat. The campaign
will feature much mud-slinging. A former head of military
intelligence, Perez Molina is no babe in the woods, and will surely
do his share of the slinging. Opponents exhaustively reviewed his
human rights record in the course of the 2007 presidential
campaign, and were never able to develop evidence of wrongdoing.
In the meantime, we will work to keep Congress focused on the
important legislative business at hand.
MCFARLAND