Colombo Telegraph

WikiLeaks: Rajapaksa Has An Inferiority Complex – Somawansa Told US Ambassador

“Amarasinghe was very critical of President Rajapaksa, saying he had a very narrow vision and an inferiority complex, which stemmed from the fact that he was not from one of the traditional power families. As a result, he suspected everyone, especially ‘learned people.’” US Embassy Colombo informed Washington.

US ambassador Patricaia Butenis met JVP leader Somawansa Amarasinghe and JVP MP Sunil Handunneththi on 15th January 2010. In that meeting they discussed the JVP’s version of a United, multiethnic, multi – lingual Sri Lanka, JVP’s support for Sarath Fonseka’s presidential candidacy, JVP’s support for a truth commission instead of a war crimes trial and JVP’s view of the involvement of the international community in Sri Lankan internal affairs.

The cable is classified as a “CONFIDENCIAL” by the ambassador Butenis. According to the cable she has reported to Washington that “ Amarasinghe described the JVP as a reformed Marxist Party, with equality for all. He emphasized that they were not a nationalist party and believed strongly in multiparty democracy. The JVP was even in favor of a Tamil prime minister. The JVP also believed in developing power as far as possible, including allowing villages to decide on the allocation of funds.”

Somawansa with US ambassador Butenis

Regarding JVP support for Sarath Fonseka’s presidential campaign, JVP leader Amarasinghe cited seven reasons; he was the only person who could defeat President Rajapaksa, JVP has never supported the current government, Fonseka was willing to eliminate the executive powers of the president, he was well – respected by the people, he was very direct and he had a broad vision for the future of Sri Lanka. The ambassador further wrote “ Amarasinghe went to add that Fonseka was marginalized after the military defeat of the LTTE because he was in favor of reconciling with former LTTE members. This convinced the JVP that Fonseka was committed to uniting the nation.”

Expressing their view on war crimes issue Amarasinghe said there were human  rights violations in every war and with regard to the final year of the Sri Lankan war there were in fact far fewer human rights violations than ever before. In terms of moving forward, he favored the idea of a “truth and reconciliation commission,” not a war crimes trial.

We publish below the relevant part of the leaked cable;

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 COLOMBO 000053

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR SCA/INSB

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/25/2020
TAGS: PGOV PREL PREF PHUM PTER EAID MOPS CE
SUBJECT: LEFTIST JVP EXPLAINS SUPPORT FOR FONSEKA

COLOMBO 00000053  001.2 OF 002

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

1. (C) SUMMARY: In a January 15 meeting with Ambassador,
neo-Marxist Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) party chief
Somawansa Amarasinghe and JVP MP Sunil Hanunnetti discussed
the JVP's vision of a united, multiethnic, multi-lingual Sri
Lanka; their support for Sarath Fonseka's presidential bid;
their support for a truth commission, instead of a war crimes
trial; and their view of the involvement of the international
community in Sri Lankan internal affairs.  END SUMMARY.
JVP REVAMPING IMAGE
-------------------

2. (C) Amarasinghe described the JVP as a reformed Marxist
Party, which stood for a united, multiethnic, multi-lingual
Sri Lanka, with equality for all.  He emphasized that they
were not a nationalist party and believed strongly in
multiparty democracy.  The JVP was even in favor of a Tamil
prime minister.  The JVP also believed in devolving power as
far as possible, including allowing villages to decide on the
allocation of funds.  On election violence, Amarasinghe
claimed that although JVP members were forceful at
demonstrations, they were very disciplined and avoided
violence.  He asserted that the JVP had never engaged in
political violence during peacetime.  (NOTE: The latter claim
might only hold true if one accepted the JVP line that the
1971 and 1987-89 JVP insurrections, in which thousands lost
their lives, could be considered "wartime."  END NOTE.)

SUPPORT FOR FONSEKA
-------------------

3. (C) Regarding JVP support for Sarath Fonseka's
presidential campaign, Amarasinghe cited several reasons: 1)
He was the only person who could defeat President Rajapaksa;
2) the JVP had never supported the current government (NOTE:
This strains credulity.  The JVP supported Rajapaksa in 2005
then grew increasingly alienated as Rajapaksa favored his own
party supporters over the JVP in government appointments.
END NOTE.); 3) Fonseka was willing to eliminate the executive
powers of the president; 4) his focus was on education and
health issues, not the military; 5) he was well-respected by
the people; 6) he was very direct; and, 7) he had a broad
vision for the future of Sri Lanka.  Amarasinghe went on to
add that Fonseka was marginalized after the military defeat
of the LTTE because he was in favor of reconciling with
former LTTE members.  This convinced the JVP that Fonseka
truly was committed to uniting the nation.

THE JVP AND RAJAPAKSA
---------------------

4. (C) Amarasinghe was very critical of President Rajapaksa,
saying he had a very narrow vision and an inferiority
complex, which stemmed from the fact that he was not from one
of the traditional power families.  As a result, he suspected
everyone, especially "learned people."

WAR CRIMES
----------

5. (C) On the JVP's position on the war-crimes issue,
Amarasinghe said there were human-rights violations in every
war.  In the last year of the Sri Lankan war, however, there
were, in fact, far fewer human-rights violations then ever
before.  In terms of moving forward, he favored the idea of a
"truth and reconciliation commission," not a war-crimes
trial.  He added that the JVP had issued a statement in favor
of this approach, which was provided to the Ambassador.

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