Nicaragua’s OAS Ambassador Rebels Against Ortega

Arturo McFields, when he presented his credentials as ambassador for Nicaragua to the Permanent Council of the OAS. Photo: Confidencial | Tomada de la OEA.

Arturo McFields assures that he is raising his voice for the political prisoners and those killed by the Ortega regime’s repression.

By Confidencial

HAVANA TIMES – In an unprecedented event, Arturo McFields, Nicaragua’s Ambassador to the Organization of American States (OAS), rebelled against the Ortega regime and called it a dictatorship, during a session today of the Permanent Council of that organization.

During his participation, McFields said he was speaking on behalf of more than 170 political prisoners currently imprisoned and the more than 350 people killed by the repression of the regime and its paramilitaries, which occurred against citizen protests between April and September 2018.

McFields opened his intervention saying: “I speak on behalf of thousands of public servants at all levels, civilian and military, of those forced by the regime to simulate, to fill up the plazas and repeat slogans, because if they do not do so, they lose their job. To denounce the dictatorship in my country is not easy, but it is impossible to continue to remain silent and defend what is beyond defense.”

“I have to speak out, Mr. President, even if I am afraid, even if the future of my family is uncertain. I have to speak because otherwise the stones themselves will speak for me,” said McFields.

The motives that led McFields to take this position are unknown, but the incident caused a stir among the ambassadors. The Permanent Representative of Uruguay to the OAS Permanent Council, Washington Abdala, called the incident of “major relevance.”

“When one enters an official meeting like today’s, one does not imagine that this could happen. I have nothing but words of respect for what the Nicaraguan Ambassador just did. He described his country as a dictatorship, a position on which I agree. Secondly, because I am aware of the dangers, risks, and threats that this entails for him from this very moment,” said Abdala.

Listen here to McFields live intervention at the OAS (in Spanish)

Here is the full translation in English:

Arturo McFields at an OAS Permanent Council meeting on March 23, 2022

I speak today in the name of more than 177 political prisoners and more than 350 Nicaraguans who have lost their lives in my country since 2018. I speak today in the name of thousands of Nicaraguan civil servants, at every level, civilian and military, those today in Nicaragua who are forced to pretend by this regime and to fill the public squares, shouting party slogans, because if they don’t do it, they’ll lose their jobs.

To denounce the dictatorship in my country is not easy, but to continue to be silent and defend the indefensible, is impossible. I must speak, Mr. President, even though I’m afraid. I must speak even though my future, and my family’s future is uncertain. I must speak, because if I don’t do it, the very stones of the earth are going to speak for me.

Days before Nicaragua announced its withdrawal from the OAS, we met in the foreign ministry with a team of presidential advisors. In this meeting I suggested that we release at least 20 elderly political prisoners and another 20 prisoners whose health conditions demand our consideration. I told them this would be a humanitarian gesture, and politically intelligent because no one should die in prison, and especially if they are innocent or because of inadequate medical attention or because they received no medical care, whatsoever. No one would listen to me, Mr. President. They said —We’re not even going to write down what you’re just said— because you know what could happen. And remember, they said the more bones we throw to the right wing, the more they’ll demand from us. This is what they told me in this meeting.

In this government, nobody…nobody listens. And nobody speaks. I’ve tried several times over the last several months but every door shut on me…I’ve always believed that dialogue and diplomacy weren’t that important in times of peace and tranquility, democracy…but that diplomacy is needed most during the difficult times, complex times, times of democratic crisis, like the one my country is living through. However, what I’ve learned over these past months is that the situation in Nicaragua is too much for my meager diplomatic skills.

Since 2018, Nicaragua has become the only country in Central America, probably in all of Latin America, where there are no longer any printed newspapers, where you don’t have the freedom to even post a critical tweet or comment in social media. There are no longer any human rights organizations. There are none…just one—the rest were shut down or expelled from the country. There are no independent political parties. There are no real elections. There is no separation of powers—just dark powers, powers operating outside the institutional and democratic realm.

This year, the government has begun to confiscate all private universities. It’s shut down 137 Non-profit organizations—Catholic organizations, evangelical organizations, environmental organizations. Operation Smile, Mr. President. And the list continues to grow. 170,000 Nicaraguans have fled the country; others are trying to flee right now while I’m speaking.

Mr. President, to finish I’d like to say that although it appears that all is lost and the panorama is very dark, I believe firmly that there is hope. I’ve said this to many people. Everyone inside the government and outside—everyone is tired of the dictatorship and its actions. Every day, there will be more people tired of this dictatorship and who say—Basta-Enough. Because the light will always overcome the shadows, because love is stronger than hate, and because–You can lie to the people some of the time, but not all the time.

God may take his time, but he never forgets you. Thank you.

Read more from Nicaragua here on Havana Times