Published On: Sat, Oct 15th, 2011

WikiLeaks– “Rajapaksas are uneducated and uncultured rascals”

“President Kumaratunga found the Rajapaksa family involvement in politics very distasteful and called them ‘uneducated and uncultured rascals.’ She worried that the political climate since her term had become “vindictive and threatening” and that Rajapaksa had ‘muddied the thinking’ of masses.” The US ambassador wrote to Washington.

CBK – Fonseka came from a Buddhist extremist background, he seemed more honest than Rajapaksa

The Colombo Telegraph found the leaked cable from the WikiLeak database. The cable classified as “CONFIDENTIAL” and recount details of a meeting ambassador Patricia A. Butenis has had with former President Chandrika Kumaratunga on 14th December 2009.

The remarks by Washington’s ambassador to Sri Lanka, are revealed by the Wikileaks leaked cable. The Colombo Telegraph found the cable classified as “CONFIDENTIAL” by ambassador Butenis.

The cable said “Former President discussed President Rajapaksa’s abuse of power and said that under his leadership, the economy, the political climate, health care, education and international relations had spiraled down reaching a new low in the country’s history. Kumaratunga remarked that governance had broken down and corruption was appallingly bad. She noted that while she was responsible for nominating President Rajapaksa for the Sri Lanka Freedom Party, he had a detrimental impact on the party.”

In response to Ambassador’s query on elections and General Fonseka’s candidacy, Kumaratunga said, while she was surprised by Fonseka’s entry in to politics, if ‘free and fair’ elections were held today, Fonseka would win. “While Fonseka came from a Buddhist extremist background, he seemed more honest than Rajapaksa and might not go back on his promises.” Butenis wrote.

“Kumaratunga acknowledged the mood and the thinking in the country was changing. People were hopeful of changing and were interested in moving ahead. Although Kumaratunga was no longer directly involved in politics, she remarked that President Rajapkasa feared her influence and had restricted her movements.” the ambassador further wrote to Washington.

Read the below US diplomatic cable for full details.
VZCZCXRO8860
OO RUEHAG RUEHROV RUEHSL RUEHSR
DE RUEHLM #1150 3510954
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 170954Z DEC 09
FM AMEMBASSY COLOMBO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1003
INFO RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHKA/AMEMBASSY DHAKA PRIORITY 2192
RUEHIL/AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD PRIORITY 9216
RUEHKT/AMEMBASSY KATHMANDU PRIORITY 7466
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 5315
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI PRIORITY 3619
RUEHNY/AMEMBASSY OSLO PRIORITY 5241
RUEHOT/AMEMBASSY OTTAWA PRIORITY 0105
RUEHSM/AMEMBASSY STOCKHOLM PRIORITY 0776
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO PRIORITY 4363
RUEHCG/AMCONSUL CHENNAI PRIORITY 9776
RUEHBI/AMCONSUL MUMBAI PRIORITY 7067
RUEHON/AMCONSUL TORONTO PRIORITY 0097
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA PRIORITY 3931
RHHMUNA/HQ USPACOM HONOLULU HI PRIORITY
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS PRIORITY
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY
C O N F I D E N T I A L COLOMBO 001150

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR SCA/INSB

E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/08/2019
TAGS: PGOV PREL PREF PHUM PTER EAID MOPS CE
SUBJECT: FORMER PRESIDENT NOTES DESTRUCTIVE INFLUENCE OF
RAJAPAKSA

Classified By: AMBASSADOR PATRICIA A. BUTENIS. REASONS: 1.4 (B, D)

¶1. (C) In a December 14 meeting with Ambassador, former
President Chandrika Kumaratunga discussed President
Rajapaksa’s abuse of power and said that under his
leadership, the economy, the political climate, health care,
education and international relations had spiraled down
reaching a new low in the country’s history. Kumaratunga
remarked that governance had broken down and corruption was
appallingly bad. She noted that while she was responsible
for nominating President Rajapaksa for the Sri Lanka Freedom
Party (SLFP), he had a detrimental impact on the party.
President Kumaratunga found the Rajapaksa family involvement
in politics very distasteful and called them “uneducated and
uncultured rascals.” She worried that the political climate
since her term had become “vindictive and threatening” and
that Rajapaksa had “muddied the thinking” of the masses.

¶2. (C) In response to Ambassador’s query on elections and
General Fonseka’s candidacy, President Kumaratunga said,
while she was surprised by Fonseka’s entry into politics, if
“free and fair” elections were held today, Fonseka would win.
In the same breath, however, she noted that Fonseka’s
negatives were insurmountable for many voters especially the
Tamils and, thus, the Tamil vote was still in question. In
Kumaratunga’s opinion, Fonseka was the only man who could
counter the President’s “war victory” strategy. She reminded
the Ambassador that it was her administration that cleared 70
percent of the Northern Province and that Rajapaksa was only
responsible for clearing 30 percent of the LTTE-held grounds.
Conversely, the Rajapakasas were falsely taking sole credit
for winning the war. In her opinion, Fonseka would need the
Tamil votes to win, and while the United National Party (UNP)
leader Ranil Wickremesinghe could command the Tamil vote,
this was not a guarantee with Fonseka. While Fonseka came
from a Buddhist extremist background, he seemed more honest
than Rajapaksa and might not go back on his promises. She
noted that the State-owned media, Rajapaksa’s propaganda
machine, had been very effective and had brain-washed the
masses. Kumaratunga observed that the rural people referred
to Rajapaksa as “King” and pointed to the President’s 12 foot
billboard cut-outs as distasteful examples of abuse of power.

¶3. (C) Ambassador raised the issue of international
expectations about accountability and reconciliation in
reference to the release of the Department’s war crimes
report. Kumaratunga said that there was a fear psychosis in
the country and that President Rajapaksa had instilled a fear
in the people, so no one was willing to talk. She disagreed
on Rajapaksa’s stance with the West and said that foreign
criticisms, international pressure and monitoring had kept
the human rights violations from getting worse. On the issue
of Tamils, Kumaratunga noted that the vast majority of Tamils
were not terrorists and did not want a separate State, but
rather fundamental rights. According to Kumaratunga there
were 800,000 Tamils overseas and the diaspora was now ready
for change. In the last few months, Kumaratunga acknowledged
the mood and the thinking in the country was changing.
People were hopeful of change and were interested in moving
ahead. Although Kumaratunga was no longer directly involved
in politics, she remarked that President Rajapaksa feared her
influence and had restricted her movements.
BUTENIS

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