Nicaraguan journalist Miguel Mora and Spanish MEP Ramon Jauregui Atondo spoke for half an hour in a cell of the El Chipote prison in Managua. The talk was considered by the European MP as “moving.”
The case of the journalist drew the attention of a mission of the European Parliament, which was last week in Nicaragua to learn in situ what happened in the country since last April.
Jauregui Atondo headed the delegation, made up of another ten European MPs, who concluded that there was no attempted coup d’état in Nicaragua, as alleged by the regime of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo. They recommended to the Government that it release the hundreds of political prisoners, among whom is included Mora, director of the assaulted and closed “100% Noticias” Channel.
After the presentation of their conclusions, the MEP spoke with the program Esta Semana (This Week), which for the first time in almost 20 years was not broadcast on open or cable television, due to the “de facto censorship” imposed by the regime against Channel 12. The program was broadcast exclusively through YouTube and Facebook.
“Miguel Mora was running a media outlet and telling the truth, reporting information, I do not think that can be terrorism,” said Jauregui, who affirmed that he “did not understand” the accusations against the journalist. “In my conversation with the Prosecutor’s Office, I was informed that (Mora) faces serious charges.”
Mora was arrested with journalist Lucia Pineda Ubau, his editor-in-chief, at the end of December. Both are accused by the Prosecutor’s Office of alleged incitement, proposition and conspiracy to commit terrorist acts.
“That is what most worries me of summary proceedings, which are sometimes built ad hominem against certain people, with very poor evidence, with insufficient proof for such serious charges. Honestly, in the case of Miguel Mora I am worried because I think he is a journalist, period, nothing more,” commented the European MP.
He added that his half-hour conversation with the journalist “was very moving.” We talked a lot about what is happening, what he had done, he vindicated his work: “I am only a journalist, I do not know what they are accusing me of.” He has great faith in God, I think his religious faith helps him a lot.”
“I sincerely believe that Miguel Mora is one of those prisoners who, if he has any type of accusation, can endure it at home, not in prison, and not in those conditions,” said Jauregui. He also explained: “I entered the cell, he had been inside it for 30 long days, he needed light, had not gone out, he was in good health. I asked the prison warden to let him go out into the yard once a day, and to put a light so he could read, he asked me for a bible, and I told the warden: ‘please give him the New Testament and put some light.’”
In the case of Lucia Pineda, he assured that she is a “very brave” woman. The journalist is in a cell with three other women. “All of them are ordinary people, I do not understand why they are in prison.”
“A very serious democratic crisis”
On the situation in the country, Jauregui explained that “there is a very serious democratic crisis because some core elements such as freedom of expression, demonstration or information are very limited.”
“We believe that that there is a big political problem because the country is divided. There is a Sandinista community that had its era, its memory, its legitimate right to feel part of that party. But, there is another Nicaragua that wants more freedom, better democracy and that has expressed itself and is there in the street. They cannot ignore one another, they have to recognize each other, and they have to dialogue and find a way of coexistence, because otherwise the economic damage to the country will be very serious, especially the human damage in terms of personal suffering will be unbearable,” said the Spanish politician.
He added that a solution must occur through an “internal dialogue,” which in his opinion “failed” because many mistakes were made, such as transmitting it on television. “I do not think that a dialogue and a negotiation on the future conditions of the county have to be done in that way (televised). It was a relief of what had occurred in previous days, but it is not the mechanism to solve political problems. That requires a phase of discretion and mediation.”
They demand willingness from the Government
He indicated that those errors must be resolved. What is needed is that “there is willingness on the part of the Government to favor a dialogue, and after that for the opposition to articulate and structure itself.”
In his meeting with the presidential couple, he could not gauge whether the Government is open to a real dialogue. “I think the President does not reject that possibility, but logically he will put conditions.”
“The president holds a version of the events that is very different, not to say completely contrary, to that of the democratic world of the country, which is demanding political reforms. Let’s say that the President maintains the existence of a foreign aggression and asserts his right to defend the country. That is a version which contradicts too much with the reality that Nicaragua that is in the street demanding more freedom and more democracy,” stressed the MEP.
He commented that the issue of truth and justice should be part of the dialogue, although “reconciliation will require sacrifices of all.” “The most important thing, in my opinion, is a path of full democracy for the future, and the responsibilities of the past will have to be resolved. Let us make no mistake in terms of priorities, if we attribute responsibilities with a knife hate will increase, and the dialogue is not going to be possible.
Regarding the hatred, he said that these could lead Nicaragua to a civil confrontation. A statement that is based on, “Nicaragua having a history of too much war, in which violence has been too present in the country, and the hatred between the two Nicaraguas runs very deep.”
“In a warning of pure prudence, we must avoid that by all means. I have the conviction, and it is one of the most positive things of what I have perceived in many of the conversations, that the opposition has an iron will for peace and that it is absolutely beyond any violent temptation,” he emphasized.
EU sanctions scenario
Before the visit by the Europeans, the President of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani, warned in a public event that “soon” will come “sanctions against the dictatorship in Nicaragua.”
Jauregui pointed out that “the European Union has to establish a calendar of actions in Nicaragua, depending on how events evolve. Mrs. (Federica) Mogherini—High Representative of the EU on Foreign Affairs and Security Policy—said that we do not rule out using all means necessary.”
“If the political pressure is necessary, that will be assessed by the European Union. I do not rule that out, if this doesn’t go forward, and if the repression goes in crescendo the international community will not keep looking the other way,” he expressed.
“We do not want sanctions, we do not want to harm the people, but politically the European Union will evaluate at each moment the measure it has to adopt,” he stressed.
In a report presented this Saturday in Managua, the delegation of MEPs said that the protests have been legitimate and that in a democracy one should be willing to lose power.
The also warned that the European Union could make legal decisions, in the framework of the agreements they have with Nicaragua because “the current situation in Nicaragua regarding human rights and democracy is not compatible with the Association Agreement” with Central America and with the country.