Daniel Ortega has been left alone in Latin American: of the few countries that still “bought” his victim’s discourse (or gave him the benefit of the doubt, by abstaining), only Venezuela raised its voice to support the version of a coup d’état forged by the empire. The others voted against him (including Ecuador, a previous ally), or kept silent.
Far away were the times in which the Venezuelan petro-diplomacy allowed to put together a compact group to make effective counterweight to the United States and its allies in the Organization of American States (OAS).
The scenario was, once again, the “Simon Bolivar” Hall at the OAS headquarters in Washington, D.C., where the Permanent Council of that organization held an extraordinary session on December 27th “to consider the situation in Nicaragua,” which concluded with the reading of a letter with which the Secretary General of the organization, Luis Almagro, responds to a previous letter from Daniel Ortega.
In the text, read in the plenary session of the Permanent Council, Almagro said, referring to the Nicaraguan leader that “it is a shame that one of the last living historic revolutionaries of Latin America, which until a year ago still represented the possibility of a democratic revolutionary left on our continent, has chosen the path to authoritarianism, abuse of human rights, and repressive and oppressive ways to maintain power.”
Given that so far, none of the national and international (bilateral or multilateral) initiatives has had any effect, the Secretary General informs Ortega of some of the actions that could be activated as of this moment, especially after the devastating report of the Interdisciplinary Group of International Experts (GIEI in Spanish).
“For the good of Nicaragua and its people,” the regional organization is committed to working on several options for the future, insisting in the first place on the need to “re-establish the national dialogue.”
Applying the Charter
The second element is to “initiate the procedures set forth in Article 20 of the Inter-American Democratic Charter, as requested to this Permanent Council at the session of October 19th, 2018.
In this regard, Almagro says that “we are forced to begin the application of the Inter-American Democratic Charter to Nicaragua. The solution to the lack of democracy and human rights in Nicaragua is a matter for the entire region. The solution is still political and diplomatic, and we have the standard Inter-American instruments to address them and for whatever good or bad, includes you, the government.”
“The future of Nicaragua cannot be one with an Ortega dictator. How good it would be to have an Ortega democrat. Nicaragua has suffered a lot in its history: certainly, it has more accumulated years of dictatorship than of democratic life in total. This is not a political game, it is about the life and the rights of Nicaraguans,” said Almagro.
The third element is “to request the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), to denounce the crimes committed included in its report, before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights” which has the status of a regional court.
Finally, the Government of Nicaragua is informed that a request will be sent to “the Permanent Council to forward the report of the GIEI to the United Nations Security Council, and request a meeting for its presentation,” but also that “if crimes against humanity continue to be committed, the members of the OAS will be asked “as well as all democratic states, that under the concept of universal justice, the officials cited as instigators and executors in the report of the Group of Experts, be detained and tried in their respective territory for said crimes.”
Although this decision is not very common, there is international jurisprudence in this regard, whose most famous case is the one against the former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet.
The excuse of intervention
Finally, the decision to send the conclusions of the GIEI to the European Union was informed, “so that they may be taken into account in their relationship with the Inter-American system.” Only 9.4% of our exports went to the old continent in 2015 (the last year for which Cetrex offers this type of data), but it represents a potential source of resources, either by increasing exports or by direct foreign investment.
True to the pre-established script, the Nicaraguan representative described the whole initiative as “interventionist” and that, as a sovereign nation, “we demand respect from interventionist nations of this organization subordinated to the Government of the United States,” calling the OAS a “ministry of colonies.”
“That is why these sessions are convoked; they insist on forcing the change of government by financing vandalism and terrorist groups; creating an atmosphere in public opinion. The Working Group promotes terrorism against the Nicaraguan people, who have recovered peace and happiness,” he insisted.
“To accuse me of being an official of the empire, or of foreign hegemonies for the abuses of his government, would seem pure childishness if it were not tragicomedy,” Almagro said in his speech.
“It is already becoming a habit that the reference to non-interventionism in internal affairs is the favorite argument of regimes that incur in increasing authoritarianism, in the violation of democratic principles, and in the dictatorial path. They believe that it is their last line of defense when they know that they are committing atrocities against their own population. It is the argument to which they resort when they know that there is guilt, and they believe that the international community will believe in this argument and will protect them,” he said.
Scenes of terror
The regional session began with the First Vice President of the IACHR, Esmeralda Arosemena de Troitiño, updating her colleagues-ambassadors of the continent about the current state of human rights and the political situation in general in Nicaragua.
Arosemena denounced that they continue to apply “maximum and disproportionate penalties” against those whom the regime considers its enemies and brands as “coup mongers.”
Today in Nicaragua there are “more arrests, prosecution of human rights defenders, government opponents, expulsion and threats of expulsion of naturalized Nicaraguan citizens and permanent residents, for their participation in the protests,” she said citing the closure of nine NGOs, and the expulsion of Ana Quiros.
“In the last two months, the Government has not allowed any demonstration. The State decreed the prohibition of the citizens’ marches and applied a strategy to prevent any social protest, occupying roundabouts that former protesters used, as well as more arbitrary detention against those who protested or try to do so,” she said.
In the same way, the commission documented 117 attacks against freedom of expression through aggression, threats and harassment, and the looting and illegal occupation of the building where the media companies Invermedia and Promedia operate, which produce Esta Semana, Confidencial, Esta Noche and Niu magazine.
It also records the aggression against journalists who demanded an explanation at the National Police headquarters in Plaza El Sol, getting as an answer a charge by riot-police. In addition to storming the popular 100% Noticias channel, whose signal was withdrawn from the air, its director Miguel Mora and news anchor Lucia Pineda —who had precautionary measures provided by the IACHR—, were arrested and accused. Likewise, accusations were issued against the rest of the station’s journalistic team.
The expulsion of Meseni, of IACHR visits, the early and unilateral termination of the mission of the GIEI, whose members were ordered to leave the country immediately, end up painting a situation of total defenselessness of citizens vis-à-vis the regime.