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Panama Protests Nicaragua’s “Permissive Attitude” at Embassy

The Panamanian government says it “does not recognize” relocation of the Consulate, warns that there will be no “diplomatic immunities" at new property

Redacción Confidencial

22 de marzo 2024


The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Panama sent another “protest note” to the Nicaraguan Foreign Ministry on Monday for the “permissive attitude” of the Ortega government at the Nicaraguan embassy in the Panamanian capital, where fugitive former President Ricardo Martinelli (2009-2014) is currently seeking asylum, further straining relations between the two countries.

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs reports that today (March 18) it delivered a formal Protest Note to the Nicaraguan Foreign Ministry, for the permissive attitude of the Nicaraguan government at the Nicaraguan Embassy in Panama, openly and defiantly contravening the development of diplomatic functions in the receiving country,” the Panamanian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Panama “rejects that, under the guise of alleged protection, Mr. Ricardo Martinelli Berrocal continues to use the Nicaraguan diplomatic headquarters for political-partisan purposes, with the silence of its authorities, which, for all intents and purposes, is an open interference in Panamanian internal affairs by the Government of Nicaragua,” according to the document dated March 14 but released on Monday, March 18.

It adds that “Panama demands that Nicaragua observe its international obligation to ensure that its diplomatic headquarters in Panama preserves the functions established by the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 1961.”

This complaint adds to Panama’s call to the attention of the government of Daniel Ortega on February 27 for the way the former Panamanian president seeks to influence politics from the Nicaraguan diplomatic headquarters.

Specifically, the Panamanian Foreign Ministry rejected the “permissive attitude,” as reiterated this Monday, of the Nicaraguan mission chief, “for the repeated statements and other actions publicly made by its guest” Ricardo Martinelli, from the embassy in Panama.

They deny the transfer of their headquarters

The official letter also announced that it “does not recognize” the transfer requested on March 4 by the Nicaraguan embassy to “commence functions of a Consulate in a residence next door to the embassy in Panama City,” which would expand the diplomatic headquarters.

It explains that “since the modification or establishment of a consular office requires the prior consent of the receiving State,” Panama “does not recognize privileges or diplomatic immunities in property 61B, so no activity can be carried out in the name of the Nicaraguan government” in it.

Former President Martinelli has been seeking asylum at the Nicaraguan embassy in Panama since February 7 following a sentence of more than ten years in prison for money laundering, in the New Business case, which became final a week earlier. Panama denied him the safe conduct to travel to Nicaraguan soil.

Martinelli alleges that this sentence is a political persecution to prevent him from participating in the elections of May 5 as a presidential candidate with his party Realizing Goals, founded in 2021, for which he is already disqualified and where he was leading in the polls.

The former president, 72, has thanked Ortega for his “noble and selfless gesture” of granting him asylum. However, the controversy surrounding Martinelli’s legal situation has affected both the upcoming general elections and strained diplomatic relations between the two countries.

This article was published in Spanish in Confidencial and translated by Havana Times. 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.