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OAS negotiations with Daniel Ortega continue at “standstill”

Former diplomat estimates “little chance” that the OAS Secretary General will get the regime to open the doors to a high-level commission

Former diplomat estimates “little chance” that the OAS Secretary General will get the regime to open the doors to a high-level commission

Redacción Confidencial

6 de enero 2022


The efforts made by Luis Almagro, Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), to convince the regime of Daniel Ortega to accept the visit of a high level commission of the regional organization, continue to be stalled and without response from the Nicaraguan government. 

Sources linked to the regional organization commented that to date, they still do not have an answer or a concrete reaction from the Government, but the “negotiations continue”. 

On December 18, Almagro requested the Permanent Council of the OAS to extend the deadline for the delivery of a report on the efforts he is making with the Government of Nicaragua until mid-January. That day was precisely the deadline set by the OAS for the Secretary General to submit a report on his attempts to convince the Ortega regime to accept the high-level mission.

The OAS Permanent Council, in a session held on December 8, approved a resolution urging new elections in Nicaragua, for which it demands “a dialogue of all political parties and other actors in Nicaragua with the objective of holding early presidential and parliamentary elections that are free, fair and transparent, with credible international observation”. 

On another point, it stated that "the secretary general should urgently request a meeting with the Government of Nicaragua, with the objective of agreeing to carry out comprehensive electoral reforms, as requested in previous OAS resolutions and in accordance with Nicaragua's obligations under international law.” 

Almagro's letter in response to the Permanent Council

Guillermo Belt, who was an advisor to former OAS Secretary General João Baena Soares and an official of the regional body for 37 years, revealed that the request made by Almagro to extend the deadline for submitting the report was in response to a consultation on the case made by the then chairman of the Permanent Council, the ambassador of the Dominican Republic, Josué Fiallo.

“The curious thing about that letter is that it was not spontaneous, it was written on the last day of the deadline set by the Permanent Council. That from my point of view was very serious, because for him (Almagro) to have to ask for that extension, he should have acted before to give the Council time to consider what he was asking for,” Belt pointed out. 

“What is happening is that Almagro, although he does not say so in his letter, is actually responding to a consultation from the president of the Permanent Council of the OAS, about what had happened with the negotiations, since he had to inform the Permanent Council about the result. But what Almagro did was to draft the letter as if it had been his initiative, but it was not,” he added. 

Not an endorsement of legitimacy for Ortega

The former OAS advisor expressed the opinion that Almagro's efforts, and the fact that the delivery of the report takes place after the inauguration of Daniel Ortega this January 10, does not imply an endorsement of political legitimacy towards him by the regional organization.

“The extension requested by Almagro for the management entrusted to him by the Permanent Council does not legitimize Ortega. The Permanent Council, as a political body, has declared the November 7 elections illegitimate. As long as that body, or in its case, the General Assembly, as the supreme body of the OAS, does not say otherwise, there is no way to contradict what has already been resolved”, he explained. 

On November 12, during the OAS General Assembly of Foreign Ministers, 25 countries approved a resolution declaring that the November 7 votes, when Daniel Ortega and his wife Rosario Murillo were reelected, were “without legitimacy”. The electoral process was characterized by a lack of political competition, absence of democratic guarantees, and under violence and political persecution, which resulted in the imprisonment of seven opposition aspiring candidates.

The OAS resolutions condemning the repression, the non-release of political prisoners and qualifying the votes of November 7 as illegitimate, led the Ortega regime to initiate the process of Nicaragua's exit from the regional organization on November 19 .

Little chance for Almagro to open doors

A former Nicaraguan diplomat, who asked to remain anonymous to avoid reprisals from the regime, said he sees little likelihood that Almagro will succeed in convincing Ortega to talk to the high-level commission.

“What has happened for Ortega to change his position of total rejection of the OAS, ratified in his formal denunciation of the Bogotá Charter? Nothing. Negotiations on Venezuela are stagnant, and Ortega, on the contrary, is playing his chips on the international stage to turn Nicaragua into a piece in geopolitical chess. Whether he succeeds is another matter, but those are his intentions”, he pointed out.

The last time the OAS participated in a dialogue process in Nicaragua was in 2019, when the regional body sent its delegate, Luis Angel Rosadilla, to be an interlocutor between the regime and the Civic Alliance.

This dialogue, requested by the Episcopal Conference and the main capitals of the country, with the mediation of the Apostolic Nuncio, Waldemar Sommertag, managed to culminate in a combo of agreements signed between representatives of the Civic Alliance and Foreign Minister Denis Moncada on behalf of the regime. However, shortly thereafter, Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo disavowed the agreements signed by Moncada.

“The OAS is in a difficult situation, because  the question of its credibility as a regional organization is also at stake. Given the impossibility of reaching the necessary votes to suspend Nicaragua, the only alternative left is to convene an extraordinary Assembly, within the framework of Article 20 of the Democratic Charter and approve new measures of diplomatic pressure at the highest level,” added the former diplomat.

The extension of the deadline requested by Almagro does not have a concrete date for the delivery of the report, but specialists estimate that any move by the Permanent Council on the Nicaraguan crisis will take place after the inauguration on January 10, the date on which Ortega will have been in power for 15 years.

This article was originally published in Spanish in Confidencial and translated by our staff



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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.