Ortega No-Shows at Summit to Avoid Questioning about his Repression

Ortega Non-Grata was the message of demonstrators in Guatemala. Photo: EFE/Jose Mendez


At the last minute, he cancelled attending the Ibero-American Summit; as he previously cancelled appearing at the UN General Assembly

Among the presidents at the summit, were 12 from the countries that make up the “working group” to mediate the crisis in Nicaragua, and that Ortega does not allow to enter.


By Juan Carlos Bow  (Confidencial)

HAVANA TIMES – Guatemala “scared” Daniel Ortega. The commander cancelled at the last minute his announced participation in the XXVI Ibero-American Summit, after several Nicaraguan and Guatemalan citizens indicated that they would protest the presence of the dictator at the meeting, which took place in Antigua, Guatemala on November 15-16.

Former diplomats consulted by Confidencial consider that the Nicaraguan ruler shied away from giving explanations to other heads of state, for the brutal repression against civic protests, which have left at least 325 confirmed dead.

On Thursday, the Government of Ortega announced to the Guatemalan authorities that the president would delay his arrival until this Friday morning. However, in the afternoon they communicated that he would not attend the biennial meeting of Heads of State and Government, which ended on Friday.

This is the second time that Ortega has canceled his participation in an international forum in less than two months. On September 24th, the president canceled his appearance at the 73rd UN General Assembly, which would have marked his return to that forum after an eleven years absence, also generating expectations for the brutal repression of his government, condemned worldwide.

Former Nicaraguan Foreign Minister, Francisco Aguirre Sacasa, noted that Ortega wanted to avoid an internationally embarrassing moment, since in Guatemala he was awaited with citizen’s protests—which in Nicaragua he had declared illegal–, and the rejection by many heads of state and government, which in international forums such as the OAS, have expressed their repudiation of the repression against civic demonstrations.

“Outside the group of ALBA countries, Ortega is not well accepted, so he would have been in a defensive position,” added the former foreign minister.

Mauricio Diaz, a former Ambassador of Nicaragua, indicated that Nicaraguan authorities “assessed correctly the proper dimension of the risks Ortega was taking” in Guatemala. “What would a totally isolated president do, who would support him there, eventually only Venezuela, El Salvador and Bolivia,” but these last two have had weak defenses in forums such as the OAS.

“I believe that Commander Ortega assessed correctly because the threat of going there to scold the Europeans would not have turned out well for him, because he would have been the one reprimanded.” commented the former ambassador. He made reference to a recent speech by the Nicaraguan president, which blamed the United States and European Union and NGOs of being accomplices of the “crimes” that occurred in the context of the protests.

Countries of the OAS working group on Nicaragua

For Diaz, the cancellation of the trip also shows that the Ortega regime does not want to be accountable internationally for what it has done in Nicaragua. “They are clear that no president is going to believe such a tale that what is happening here is a coup d’état, that everything is normal.”

Among the presidents attending the summit were those of the 12 countries that last August formed a “working group” in the OAS to mediate in the Nicaraguan crisis, but to which the Ortega regime has denied entry into the country.

The group consists of: Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guyana, Mexico, Panama, Peru and the United States, whose ambassadors to the OAS have issued harsh criticism against the repression of the Ortega-Murillo regime.

Aguirre described as “erratic” the government’s position to announce that Ortega would go, and later cancel. “They knew that there (the summit) the discourse of calling those countries lackeys of the empire would not work, because they are powers in their own right, such as Brazil, Argentina and Chile,” he expressed.

Diaz’s “perception” is that Ortega “miscalculated,” since these 12 countries “are aligned” with a common position regarding Nicaragua and “know” what is happening in the country.

“Non grata”

Nicaraguan activists present a photo exhibition during a demonstration against Daniel Ortega, outside the Ibero-American Summit. EFE / Jose Mendez

Citizens, including the president’s stepdaughter, Zoilamerica Narvaez, informed through social networks that they would protest against Ortega. “If Daniel Ortega travels to the Ibero-American Summit, pretending to cleanse his brand of dictator, some of us have already self-convoked to flood Antigua, Guatemala, with the photos of the kids whose lives they took away and the names of those imprisoned and tortured,” she wrote on her Twitter and Facebook account. The eldest daughter of Vice President and First Lady, Rosario Murillo, denounced Ortega in 1998 for 19-years of sexual abuse and harassment.   

Guatemalan media published on Thursday that a group of Nicaraguans demonstrated against Ortega in the vicinity of the Santo Domingo Hotel-Museum, where a meeting of foreign ministers of the Ibero-American Summit was taking place, attended by Nicaraguan Foreign Minister Denis Moncada. They showed photographs of the Ortega repression and of some of the victims of the police and paramilitaries forces.

“Anonymous” attacks because of Ortega’s presence

The group of hackers “Anonymous” claimed on Thursday the hacking of the website of the XXVI Ibero-American Summit to protest against the presence of Ortega, according to a note from the EFE news agency.

“We support the Nicaraguan people and we are against any corrupt and murderous government, Daniel Ortega and Jimmy Morales (Guatemala), two of the greatest assassins of all times, corrupt and cowards,” the network of digital activists published on their social networks.

Along with the site of the Summit, the webpages of the Guatemalan Congress and of the local ministries of Economy, Defense and Labor, were also the focus of attacks by Anonymous, which reiterated that it had done so “in support of the peoples of Nicaragua and Guatemala.”

Anonymous said, “It’s time to take the streets and fight against every corrupt government,” in the multiple messages it published on Thursday.