Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) called Daniel Ortega an "opportunistic dictator", who for more than fifteen years "shamelessly" received cooperation from Taiwan until December 2021 when he broke off relations with the independent island he now disavows, to resume relations with mainland China, Taiwanese media reported, based on an official communiqué.
On October 13, Daniel Ortega said that "Taiwan is a province of China, it is not a Republic, it is not a State, it is simply a province of China, and this is recognized globally, approved by the United Nations." The declarations were made during a public act in which he delivered 250 buses from mainland China, although he did not give details on how they were acquired.
The Taiwanese Foreign Ministry communiqué, published on October 14, pointed out that Ortega "falsely stated that Taiwan is a province of China and that the United Nations has determined that Taiwan is not a country, which is a fallacy contrary to the facts."
In the document, Taiwan highlights the "strong protests and severe condemnation" of Ortega's statements.
Despite the rupture with Taiwan, the Ortega dictatorship continues to execute "remnant" donations from the island. In May 2023, CONFIDENCIAL published that a year and a half after Ortega expelled Taiwan – his most generous donor – he is still executing 68.3 million córdobas left over from funds granted by the small Asian island to support the Nicaraguan budget.
Daniel Ortega's actions against Taiwan
The communiqué adds that "Ortega has been shamelessly accepting several cooperation projects provided by China (Taiwan) to benefit the people of Nicaragua for fifteen years". It then claims that Ortega "exploits the fallacy of the so-called 'one China principle', on several occasions and becomes an accomplice of China to undermine democracy in Central America and expand its influence in the region."
In August 2023, Ortega proposed to expel Taiwan from the Central American Parliament and invite China instead. Taiwan withdrew from the body and declared that Ortega's proposal "seriously damages the years of cooperation and friendship between Taiwan and the Central American people." On August 21, in Managua, Parlacen approved with 73 votes in favor (there were 32 against and nine abstentions), the incorporation of China as observer state and revoked Taiwan as permanent observer.
Taiwan added in its statement that "the aforementioned chaotic words and deeds fully demonstrate that the Ortegas are only opportunists seeking their own power. Their various behaviors are despicable and sadden the international community for the kind Nicaraguan people living under the Ortega regime."
The history of Taiwan and mainland China
Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs "solemnly" reiterated that they are a sovereign and independent country, and are not affiliated with the People's Republic of China. It also maintained that "the People's Republic of China has never ruled Taiwan for a day" and that they will continue to "strengthen cooperation with countries in the democratic field and make every effort to curb the spread of authoritarianism".
Belize and Guatemala are Taiwan's only two remaining diplomatic partners in Central America after Honduras severed ties with Taipei on March 26 to establish ties with China.
Honduras joined Costa Rica (2007), Panama (2017), El Salvador (2018) and Nicaragua (2021), which severed relations with Taiwan in favor of the People's Republic of China.
Taiwan - where the Nationalist Chinese Army withdrew after defeat at the hands of communist troops in the civil war - has been governed autonomously since 1949, although China claims sovereignty over the island, which it considers a rebel province for whose "reunification" it has not ruled out the use of force.
This article was originally published in Spanish in Confidencial and translated by our staff.