The European Parliament stepped-up its tone of voice this past week towards the government of Daniel Ortega. It warned that there will be soon be measures and sanctions if Ortega does not free the political prisoners, halt repression and allow the return of human rights organizations. Those were the three requests made by a delegation of European Parliament Members (MEPs), which were in Nicaragua at the end of January.
The president of the Parliament, Antonio Tajani, sent a letter on Thursday to President Ortega, in which he indicates the “European Parliament will make a public denouncement and will request the European Union to act in consonance with the gravity of the situation that Nicaragua is currently living. Expect action soon if the regime does not give concrete examples that it is respecting the three petitions that have been requested”.
Tajani tells Ortega that “so far, your Government has not taken any steps showing the intention to satisfy these requests. The news, which we have received with dismay, point rather in the opposite direction. This adds to the frustration we experience when we learn that the people, we considered safe in meeting the European deputies are now experiencing pressure and harassment.”
The president of the Parliament complains that the Ortega regime has hinted that the delegation of MEPs was part of a “plot” to provoke a coup in Nicaragua. Tajani describes these accusations as “intolerable”.
“But what is more obvious is to note the indolence of his Government when it comes to making the decisions that allow us to see a way out of the current crisis,” the letter adds.
On Twitter, the Spanish MEP Ramón Jáuregui Atondo, who led the mission of 11 MEPs in the country, advanced the news that in March the European Parliament will approve a “very tough” resolution against the Ortega government, and will request “severe sanctions” against the regime.
The Portuguese MEP Ana María Gomes recently spoke with the program Esta Noche, via Skype, saying she favors sanctions that do not affect the country, but ones that are directly addressed to “the main people responsible of the Government, the main torturers in prisons and those responsible inside the police. ”
Gomes referred to the freezing of assets that have been invested in the countries of the European Union, as well as the prohibition to travel to Europe. “It is this type of sanctions that are addressed to the individuals most responsible for what is happening, and for the violations of human rights in Nicaragua,” she said.
“This is a question that is on the table, if there is no real dialogue. There are many in the European Union who think of targeted sanctions, not sanctions that have more impact on the difficult conditions that the people of Nicaragua are experiencing,” said the MEP.
Regime fails to respect guarantees
Tajani in his letter reminds Ortega of the aggression suffered by at least eight political prisoners, who were beaten by some 20 custodians because they resisted that movement of three compañeras towards an unknown place, as denounced by the Pro-Liberation Committee of Political prisoners of Nicaragua.
“The European delegation could develop its agenda without any interference, but it must be emphasized that the visit took place on the basis of a series of guarantees offered by the Nicaraguan Government. In particular, it ensured that the people with whom the Delegation would meet will not be subject to reprisals later. However, this guarantee has not been respected, we have heard of the news of several of the political prisoners -that the European Delegation visited in La Esperanza- have been harassed, among them, Ireland Jerez, Brenda Muñoz and Jeysi Lagos – whose whereabouts are unknown- including Reyna Valera, Claudia Campos, María Mercedes Chavarría and Tania and Olesia Muñoz,” details the president of the euro chamber.
“We also know that [journalists] Miguel Mora and Lucía Pineda, who the delegation visited in the prison of El Chipote, have been transferred to other prisons, in much worse conditions. On the other hand, we have been informed that the harassment that has been maintained against human rights organizations and social activists has hardened,” adds Tajani.
The MEP denounces this situation as “intolerable”, since “is shows a lack of respect for the word given by the Government.”