The government of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo suffered a double political defeat this past Wednesday in the Organization of American States (OAS) when 21 countries from the hemisphere approved a resolution condemning the regime’s acts of repression against “the Nicaraguan people” and demanding that the paramilitaries linked to the regime be disarmed. Another resolution favorable to Ortega was rejected by 20 countries, with only three countries, including Nicaragua, voting in favor and eight abstentions.
“The correlation of forces at an international level has clearly changed, and that’s a language and a way of seeing and understanding that the President is used to dealing with. He’ll have to absorb the fact that the situation isn’t the same, and that there’s a Latin American community profoundly upset with the government’s attitude,” assured former foreign minister Norman Caldera on the nightly television news program Esta Noche, transmitted in Nicaragua over channel 12.
Even though it was evident during last week’s session of the Permanent Council of the OAS that the orgy of blood ordered by Daniel Ortega’s government had to be halted, the attacks on the city of Masaya and the siege of the students at the Nicaraguan National Autonomous University showed the diplomats affiliated with that organization in Washington that action was urgent.
“The political balance is that the resolution was strengthened, building on the base of last week’s resolution,” was the opinion of Jose Luis Velasquez, former Nicaraguan ambassador to the OAS.
Too many crimes to ignore
The expert felt that the continuation of the violence and the State terrorism last weekend, leading to more deaths and killings in Monimbo and Lovago, [in Chontales department] “led the international community to react with a stronger repudiation of the attitude of Daniel Ortega’s government, thus facilitating that notable majority in the Permanent Council of the OAS.”
“The events of the weekend finished convincing the Central American governments – if they had any doubts left – that they needed to take a firmer position. On the other hand, the Caribbean countries found out from the deaths in Bilwi and other places of the Caribbean region in Nicaragua that this also affects them, and they shouldn’t continue to hold themselves apart from the situation on the American continent, as they have normally,” Caldera explained.
The favorable votes from five of the Antilles nations (Guyana, Bahamas, Jamaica, Santa Lucia, Antigua and Barbuda) also demonstrated that the Venezuelan oil diplomacy has ended. The sway of this formally allowed deceased Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez and his successor Nicolas Maduro to dominate the Caribbean bloc in the OAS plenary session.
The stepped-up violence in the country was met with a corresponding uptick in repudiation of the Ortega administration, from the Central American peninsula as well as in the Caribbean, but also on the southern continent, as Caldera explained.
“Opposition to what’s happening in Nicaragua has grown in Latin America and the Caribbean, and it increased over the weekend. The resolution presented on Monday was much stronger in diplomatic terms that the one presented on Friday, and the only difference between one and the other is the events of the weekend. That’s the only thing that can explain it,” he noted.
Other continental options
Despite everything, the question remains: What will happen if Ortega continues to turn a deaf ear to the demands of the international community?
“If they don’t comply with the urgings, the condemnations and the commitments that appear in the resolution, then another meeting could be held to apply sanctions or take stronger measures than those that appear in this resolution. The international community reacts gradually and slowly, but this has been a very important first step,” Caldera felt.
The hope is that Ortega will accept the electoral way out, in light of the fact that it’s not sustainable to believe that he can govern the country through terror, much less hope that the international community will allow him to.
If things go beyond that, former ambassador Velasquez agrees with his colleague Caldera in saying that the route to follow isn’t the one marked in the Inter-American Democratic Charter, but rather that of the OAS’ Foundational Charter.
“The Democratic Charter is an alleyway with no exit, leading to the expulsion of the country from the organization. Contrary to seeking the expulsion of Nicaragua, it needs to remain within the OAS so as to receive the ‘persuasion’ of the rest of the members,” Caldera explained.
“Here, there could be multilateral sanctions transmitted via organizations like the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, and others, in addition to bilateral sanctions, such as a cut-off of military, economic and diplomatic aid,” Velasquez added.