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Failure of Luis Almagro’s efforts with Ortega aggravates Nicaragua crisis

The silence of the Ortega regime towards the diplomatic efforts made by the Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), Luis Almagro, shows that the Nicaraguan ruler believes the hemispheric organization does not have enough “tools to pressure him” and its actions are limited to “a moral condemnation.” Therefore, political analysts warned that, despite being politically weakened, Ortega “has a great capacity to continue harming the country.”

“Steps were taken at all levels. Messages were sent to Commander President Daniel Ortega himself, and institutional contacts were also made at the highest level with the Nicaraguan Foreign Ministry and its agencies,” Almagro said at a meeting of the OAS Permanent Council. “From the steps taken, no approval has been received for the dispatch to Nicaragua of a high-level good-will mission; that is to say, no formal answer has been received in this regard,” he added.

Tiziano Breda, an analyst for Central America of the International Crisis Group, noted that Almagro’s report shows “the lack of interest” of the Ortega regime to interact with the OAS and to try to revert the situation of isolation that has been occurring since his reelection without political competition. “It also evidences a questioning of the very authority, of the credibility, of the OAS General Secretariat,” he added.

Former deputy and political analyst, Eliseo Nunez, said the Nicaraguan regime in addition to “ignoring the OAS” showed “enormous intransigence.” He added that Ortega assumes “if he accommodates his chips on the side of the Russians, Iranians and Chinese, he no longer needs the Western Hemisphere,” a situation which, he warns, “are mistakes that Ortega already made in the eighties and that he is making again.”

According to Nunez, “Ortega is making bad bets” in the international arena, but “even with the political weakness he has, such as a rejection by the population and a rejection in the international community, he still has a great capacity to harm the country and continues to harm it.”

More efforts will not yield different results

Ruben Perina, PhD in international relations and professor at Georgetown and George Washington Universities, pointed out that it was “to be expected” that Ortega would not accept the visit of a high-level delegation from the OAS. Ortega he notes, cannot grant what the regional organizations is asking because “it would be political suicide.” The Nicaraguan ruler “knows that he cannot win free, fair and transparent elections.” Nevertheless, “Almagro will insist, but I don’t think he will succeed,” Perina added.

But “diplomacy never closes doors,” warned the former deputy Nunez. That is why the Secretary General hinted that it is possible to continue making negotiations with the Ortega regime. Although at this moment “Ortega has no incentive to negotiate or to agree to absolutely anything,” he stressed.

Similarly, Tiziano Breda said that “at this moment it is difficult to see an opening on the part of Ortega. If the correlation of forces does not change, if the attitude and disposition of certain States does not change, to move in a more concrete action and increase the pressure towards the Government, it seems to me difficult that in these circumstances… These efforts can give different results.”

Meanwhile, Perina recommended reactivating the working group created in 2018 to dialogue and negotiate with Ortega on the return to democracy through elections with integrity, since this would allow “to insist collectively” and “could be more fruitful than Almagro’s unilateral or personal initiative.” The working group is chaired by Canada and Chile.

“If this initiative were to fail, then it would be necessary to insist in the Permanent Council to find a qualified majority (24 votes) to apply articles 21 and 22 of the Inter-American Democratic Charter and condemn and suspend Nicaragua,” said Perina. “The resolution that does so should also urge countries to apply diplomatic, economic and financial sanctions, as well as multilateral financial organizations,” he stressed. 

However, former deputy Nunez warned that if the promoters of the suspension of Nicaragua from the OAS have not included it in the agenda “is because they have doubts” as to “whether it is worth expelling Ortega and let him continue on his way or instead keep him inside (the organization) and find other types of tools to pressure him,” he said.

Argentina condemns Rezai’s presence in Nicaragua

Evidence of the lack of interest of the Ortega regime in Western Hemispheric affairs was the presence in Nicaragua of Mohsen Rezai, who attended as guest of honor to the self-investiture of the Nicaraguan ruler even though he is wanted by INTERPOL for the terrorist bombing that took place in Argentina in 1994. The event was condemned by the Government of Alberto Fernandez at the OAS, but the Nicaraguan delegation defended the presence of the Iranian.

“The Nicaraguan delegation is really taken aback by the announcement that has been made today because we did not have access to the statement to evaluate it, to consider a response accordingly. However, we must say that Nicaragua as a sovereign country, as an independent nation, and as a dignified people, can invite whomever it wishes to its country to the inauguration of President Daniel Ortega,” expressed the Nicaraguan Representative to the OAS, Arturo McFields.

However, the Uruguayan Ambassador, Washington Abdala, affirmed that in cases such as a terrorist act “there is no place for the middle ground.” “In the world of international politics, of international debate, there are eclectic zones. You cannot do that with acts of a terrorist nature. When you are in the territory of human rights violations, of genocide, we must have a firm position.”

Eliseo Nunez noted, “it is shameful” that the Government of Nicaragua is “protecting criminals” and recalled that, in addition to Rezai, the former presidents of El Salvador, Mauricio Funes and Salvador Sanchez Ceren, both fugitives wanted in El Salvador on corruption charges, are residing in Nicaragua.

This article was originally published in Spanish in Confidencial and translated by Havana Time

Redacción Confidencial

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