Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega has dismissed hopes of COVID-19 vaccinations for Nicaragua arriving “soon”. In his first public appearance in forty days, he limited his information to the vague promise: “the moment will arrive”. The moment he referred to is that when the country has access to the vaccine.
Currently, Ortega stated, the vaccine is in “the hands of powerful countries.” “Of course,” he added, “it’s a great business for the companies that made the vaccines. They can put any price they want on it.”
“Beyond (…) social distancing, handwashing, masks, the measure that is really going to protect us is the vaccine,” the ruler recognized. Ortega spoke from a stage at Nicaragua’s Plaza de la Revolution. Neither he nor his wife and first lady, Rosario Murillo, wore a mask during their presentation. Despite this, they greeted the Generals, the high police commands and National Assembly deputies Gustavo Porras and Maritza Espinales with a kiss and a hug. Later, they held photo sessions with the Sandinista Youth.
According to Ortega, the Pan-American Health Organization, as well as Russia and India, have expressed their “good will”. They’ve offered to put the COVID-19 vaccine at Nicaragua’s disposition. The problem with the PAHO offer, Ortega stated, is that “they can’t guarantee that the vaccines will arrive quickly. That’s because they’re applying them first in the developed countries, those who have more money to buy them. These countries are fighting among themselves to purchase vaccines.”
“We have the funds available to buy vaccines,” Ortega stressed. However, “the conditions for countries like ours to access the vaccines remain to be seen. We’re sure that the moment will come in which we can obtain the vaccine.” These were his comments during the act commemorating the 87th anniversary of the assassination of Augusto C. Sandino. The activity was broadcast over all the Nicaraguan radio and television networks.
Demands an end to sanctions
Ortega took advantage of his platform to demand that the US government end the sanctions against Nicaragua, Cuba and Venezuela. He advocated for a dialogue among nations, to combat the COVID-19 pandemic together.
“In these times [of pandemic], how greatly we need a cease fire. One that covers all types of aggression, in all the countries of the world. Because these are times of profound change that we’re going through,” Ortega said
He questioned the United States yet again for presenting itself as “the nation that’s most respectful of human rights. The purest and cleanest country on the planet.” Instead, in Ortega’s judgement, they’re “barbaric” and “terrorists”.
“Where are the barbarians? Where are the terrorists? They’re in Washington. The barbarians and terrorists are in Washington, and we know the long history of the United States,” Ortega accused. He noted the dropping of the atomic bombs at Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Ortega insisted that sanctions against his ally Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela should end, as well as those against Cuba. “We won’t stop clamoring for this, as we do in all the conferences. The sanctions against Venezuela and against our brother country of Cuba must cease.”
To the Nicaraguan ruler, “in these times” nations must unite “on a global level” to face issues like the pandemic. “The United States shouldn’t forget that no one on this planet is without a place. That’s why it’s important to dialogue, arrive at agreements,” he urged.
He advocated for the United States and the European Union “to place their hands on their consciences in these conditions.” They should “not continue acting as they amid the pandemic. Throwing kicks through sanctions, with attitudes of supremacy.”
“Here’s what the large world powers should do now: look for points of agreement, so that we can save humanity. It’s not a question of helping the most impoverished countries. The problem is global. Otherwise, the virus will be out there, moving, travelling from one side to another,” Ortega concluded.