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U.S. Calls Nicaragua's Establishment of Relations with the Taliban 'Regrettable'

Ortega makes Nicaragua the first country in the Americas and the second in the world to appoint an ambassador to the Taliban government in Afghanistan

Michael Campbell Hooker, Daniel Ortega's ambassador to China, met with Afghanistan's Ambassador Maulvi Bilal Karimi, in China, mid-May 2024. // Photo: IEA Embassy in Beijing.

Redacción Confidencial

2 de julio 2024


The U.S. State Department's top official for Latin America, Brian Nichols, described the decision of Daniel Ortega's regime in Nicaragua to open diplomatic relations with the de facto government of the Taliban in Afghanistan as “regrettable.”

“Typical, but regrettable,” said the Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, when consulted by the digital media Despacho 505, according to EFE news agency.

“What can you say,” added the high-ranking U.S. government official, one of the U.S. delegates to the 54th Regular Assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS), to be held in Asunción, Paraguay, starting June 26.

Ortega appointed Ambassador Michael Campbell, his ambassador to China, as the concurrent representative for Afghanistan.

Nicaragua, the first country in the Americas with the Taliban of Afghanistan

Ortega thus made Nicaragua the first country in the Americas, and the second worldwide (after China), to appoint an ambassador to the Taliban government, which returned to power in August 2021 after the withdrawal of U.S. and allied troops.

Nicaraguan opponents claim that Ortega is exposing Nicaragua to further U.S. sanctions by opening diplomatic relations with the Taliban because Washington “has determined that the Taliban are global terrorists.”

The Taliban's de facto government welcomed Nicaragua's decision to appoint a non-resident ambassador to Afghanistan, establishing a direct relationship with the fundamentalist Afghan regime, despite the lack of international recognition.

This would be the second appointment of an official at this level to the de facto authorities in Kabul since the end of the war and the fall of the democratic government. So far only China has appointed an ambassador to Afghanistan.


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The international community does not recognize the fundamentalists and their increasing violations of human rights and limitation of the public life of Afghans have contributed to the growing isolation of the country.

Michael Campbell, Nicaraguan Ambassador to China

The dictatorship of Daniel Ortega officially appointed Michael Campbell Hooker as Nicaragua's new ambassador to China, in mid-May 2023. He is the third representative appointed by the regime to the Asian power since both countries reestablished diplomatic relations in December 2021.

Through Presidential Agreement 58-2023 published in La Gaceta, the official state Gazette, on May 19, the dictatorship formalized the appointment of Campbell Hooker, thus strengthening the main family fiefdom in the Nicaraguan diplomatic service. Hooker is the son of the now former Nicaraguan ambassador to the United States, Francisco Campbell, and Miriam Hooker, who served as consul of the Nicaraguan embassy in Washington. Mabel Leilani Campbell Hooker, Michael's sister, was also a Press and Cultural Attaché at the same diplomatic post.

Campbell Hooker was ambassador to the Organization of American States (OAS) and to India, positions from which he was removed in 2022, although he still retained that of minister advisor to the president for International Relations with the Greater Caribbean, for which he was appointed in April 2021.

He replaced Ian Colonel Kinloch, who was named to the post in June 2022. Kinloch was the second ambassador that the Ortega dictatorship appointed to China. The first ambassador to China was Orlando José Gómez Zamora, who had been named in May 2022, but only lasted a little more than a month in the post, before being removed to appoint Kinloch in his place.

*With information from EFE.

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