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Daniel Ortega's Diplomatic Breaks

With the recent break with Ecuador, the regime now has broken diplomatic relations with four powers and has tensions with several other countries

Redacción Confidencial

16 de abril 2024


Daniel Ortega's dictatorship recently added Ecuador to its short list of countries with which he has broken diplomatic relations: the Netherlands and Taiwan. He has also "suspended" ties with the Vatican.

The reasons for the breaks or suspensions are varied. They range from discomfort over the non-financing of a hospital (the Netherlands), the reestablishment of relations with "the real China" (Taiwan), the defense of Mexican "dignity" (Ecuador), or even anger because the Ortega government was called a "Hitlerian dictatorship" (the Vatican).

In addition, Daniel Ortega has multiple tensions with the international community, among these: Colombia, Chile, Argentina, and several European Union countries that have emphatically rejected Ortega's management of his presidency. Ortega also maintains tense diplomatic relations with Panama in the context of Nicaragua's granting of political asylum to former president Ricardo Martinelli, convicted for corruption. These tensions have not yet led Ortega to break diplomatic relations with these countries.

CONFIDENCIAL recounts how Ortega has damaged diplomatic relations with countries that do not support his whims. 

Ecuador, the most recent rupture of diplomatic relations

The April 5th raid by Ecuadorian Police on the Mexican Embassy in Quito to capture Jorge Glas, the political asylum-seeker and former Ecuadorian vice president, caused the Ortega dictatorship to confirm the rupture of diplomatic relations with Ecuador on April 6, announced in a press release published in official media. 

The government of Nicaragua described Ecuadorian President Daniel Noboa's ordering of the raid and capture as "unheard of," with a "heinous" use of force by the police. As such, Nicaragua expressed its "resounding, emphatic and irrevocable condemnation," prompting the decision to break diplomatic relations with Ecuador, according to the Nicaraguan government's press release. 

The Nicaraguan decision to break relations was made to show "support and solidarity" with the Mexican government, presided by President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who thanked the Nicaraguan government for taking action "without being asked... [it was an act of] noblesse oblige, and we will keep on", López Obrador stated in a press conference on April 8.  

López Obrador is one of the presidents in the region who has remained silent about the human rights violations in Nicaragua, of which Daniel Ortega is the main perpetrator.

On various occasions, Mexican journalists have questioned President López Obrador about different acts of repression in Nicaragua, such as the banishment of 222 political prisoners who were deported in February 2023. The president was asked about the possibility of granting Mexican citizenship to the former prisoners. He avoided answering the question with an invitation to breakfast, saying he would speak on the subject at a later date.

In the same year, former heads of state who were members of the Democratic Initiative of Spain and the Americas denounced the silence of the Mexican president in the face of the expulsion and banishment of opposition leaders and activists.

In his protest against Ecuador's actions, Ortega did not mention that in April 2022 he had ordered the raid and confiscation of the offices of the Organization of American States (OAS), from which he had announced Nicaragua's departure, and that months earlier he had also confiscated the Taiwanese embassy.

The Netherlands: a tantrum over not being given a hospital

Daniel Ortega announced the break in diplomatic relations with the Netherlands, during the 43rd anniversary of the Police in September 2022. He said that the Dutch government had announced it would not finance a hospital on the Caribbean Coast, and that this constituted an act of "human misery" for the country. 

The Netherlands said it denied its financial support based on the lack of transparency and inadequate management of the project's funds, as well as on human rights violations against Nicaraguans. The Dutch government has maintained its criticism and condemnation of human rights violations in Nicaragua.

Hours after Ortega's remarks, Nicaragua's Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed the decision to "immediately discontinue diplomatic relations" with the Netherlands, a country it called "pro-imperial." 

Marie-Christine Theodore Therese Pirenne served as concurrent ambassador of the Netherlands for Central America from Costa Rica. She was considered an "undiplomatic" official by Nicaragua's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who said she "violated the Vienna Convention" with the "threats and suspensions of works for the common good."

Taiwan: Daniel Ortega turns his back on his loyal collaborator 

Daniel Ortega's regime broke diplomatic relations with Taiwan in December 2021. Although the Asian country was one of Nicaragua's main collaborators, the government turned its back on Taiwan in order to recognize China as the "only legitimate government."

This was the second time that Ortega had broken off relations with Taiwan. The first was in 1985, during his first term in office.

"The Government of the Republic of Nicaragua declares that it recognizes that there is only one China in the world. The People's Republic of China is the only legitimate government that represents all of China, and Taiwan is an inalienable part of Chinese territory," said the regime's statement, read by Foreign Minister Denis Moncada. 

After the Ortega regime's declaration, Taiwan decided to donate its properties to the Catholic Church of Nicaragua. However, the regime seized them and handed them over to China, granting China "absolute and unrestricted ownership."

A Nicaraguan Attorney General's Office press release indicated that "the recognition by a State of the reality of a single China, as occurred in the case of Nicaragua on December 9, 2021, implies the immediate registration of all real estate, furniture, equipment and assets in the name of the recognized State, the People's Republic of China."

Relations "suspended" with the Vatican

Daniel Ortega's dictatorship has orchestrated an unprecedented wave of persecution against the Catholic Church in Nicaragua. The attacks have included the expulsion of the apostolic nuncio Waldemar Stanisław Sommertag, the freezing of bank accounts, the closure and confiscation of educational centers, including universities, and the persecution, harassment, imprisonment and banishment of two bishops, dozens of priests and several parishioners.

In March 2023, in an interview with the Argentinean media outlet Infobae, Pope Francis called the Nicaraguan government a "Hitlerian dictatorship" and affirmed that Ortega suffers from "a mental imbalance." Days later, Ortega ordered the suspension of diplomatic relations with the Holy See.

The Nicaraguan Foreign Ministry then issued a statement saying that "a suspension of diplomatic relations has been proposed between the Vatican State and the Republic of Nicaragua."

However, the Vatican clarified that the measure was a unilateral action by the Nicaraguan regime, which requested that the Holy See close its diplomatic facilities in Managua and announced the closing of the Nicaraguan embassy in Vatican City.

Since September 2021, when Elliette Ortega Sotomayor was removed as representative, Nicaragua has not had an ambassador to the Holy See. Before Ortega Sotomayor, the representative was the former deputy director of the National Police, former retired commissioner general Francisco Bautista Lara.

Since the expulsion of the apostolic nuncio in March 2022, the regime's persecution of the Catholic Church and its priests, whom Ortega has described as "mafia" and "terrorists," has intensified.

This article was published in Spanish in Confidencial and translated by our staff. To get the most relevant news from our English coverage delivered straight to your inbox, subscribe to The Dispatch.


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Redacción Confidencial

Redacción Confidencial

Confidencial es un diario digital nicaragüense, de formato multimedia, fundado por Carlos F. Chamorro en junio de 1996. Inició como un semanario impreso y hoy es un medio de referencia regional con información, análisis, entrevistas, perfiles, reportajes e investigaciones sobre Nicaragua, informando desde el exilio por la persecución política de la dictadura de Daniel Ortega y Rosario Murillo.