HAVANA TIMES – Nicaraguan president, Daniel Ortega, is scheduled to arrive in Guatemala tomorrow to attend the XXVI Ibero-American Summit in Antigua on Thursday and Friday, where protests have been announced against him and diplomatic tensions could arise from his international repudiation, reported dpa news.
This would be the first international event that Ortega has attended since the crisis began in his country in April, where at least 325 died according to national and international human rights organizations, in social protests stifled with violence by the police and paramilitary forces of the regime.
Ortega has not left Nicaragua since then and in September he canceled at the last minute his attendance at the UN General Assembly in New York, after learning that another warm “welcome” had been organized to reject his presence.
The Nicaraguan president is listed as one of the heads of state and government that will participate in the Ibero-American Summit, according to the official agenda distributed to the press, although the spokesperson, VP Rosario Murillo, has not confirmed his trip. However, the Ibero-American General Secretariat confirmed their attendance to dpa.
The 73-year-old former Sandinista guerrilla faces the worst crisis now in his fourth term in office, which began in 2017. He had previously ruled from 1985 to 1990, 2007 to 2012 and 2012 to 2017).
The conflict began in April with a student protest over a highly unpopular social security reform. It spread like wildfire after the deadly repression of the Government, which besides those killed, mostly students and other young people, also left thousands of injured, many seriously, and more than 500 detainees, who are being accused of terrorism and numerous other invented crimes.
The closed-door circus like trials, with judges loyal to Ortega, have the defendants condemned beforehand despite an absence of evidence, as they lack basic rights of defense, according to human rights organizations.
Ortega’s stepdaughter will be among those protesting his presence in Antigua
Now, Ortega is expected to be met with protests from his opponents in Antigua, the colonial city that hosts the Summit. One of the demonstrators on hand will be his stepdaughter Zoilamerica Narvaez, who in 1998 accused Ortega for 19 years of sexual abuse and rape and today lives in exile in Costa Rica.
“If Daniel Ortega travels to the Ibero-American Summit hoping to cleanse his reputation as a dictator, some of us are already calling ourselves to flood Antigua, Guatemala, with the photos of the young people he ordered killed with the names of all the prisoners they torture,” wrote the 50-year-old sociologist on her Twitter account.
“Daniel Ortega has already begun to serve a sentence that no one escapes: the condemnation of those of us who do not accept him traveling freely and legitimately after such cruelty, humiliation and trampling on our Nicaragua,” Narvez added.
To these protests is added the possible tension with some of Ortega’s counterparts, especially with the Spanish Prime Minister, Pedro Sanchez, after his Foreign Minister, Josep Borrell, recently questioned the “bloody repression” of the “dictatorship” in Nicaragua and asked the international community to impose sanctions on the country.
It is unknown if Sanchez will request an appointment with Ortega, as has been demanded by the organization SOS Nicaragua chapter in Spain, formed by Nicaraguans living in that country, and who asked the Spanish government “to energetically condemn the violation of human rights.”
In a recent speech, Ortega accused the United States of having financed “a terrorist coup d’état” to overthrow him, and for the first time lashed out in harsh terms against the countries of the European Union, which he accused of “intervention and interference” in the affairs of Nicaragua. Before he had accused the Nicaraguan Catholic bishops of being “coup promoters.”
The statements were offered four days after a brief visit by German Deputy Foreign Minister Niels Annen, who allegedly tried to convince the government to resume a dialogue with the opposition, which has been suspended since last July.
In his speech, Ortega apparently alluded to Spain, when he assured that the opponents imprisoned in Nicaragua are “common criminals”, but “in Europe there are political prisoners (…) who have not fired with a mortar, much less with a pistol,” in reference to the Catalan pro-independence politicians and leaders who are in provisional prison accused of rebellion for their secessionist plan.
Ortega added that the gathering in Antigua “would be a good time to talk about the issue.” “They will be able to say what they want, but let it be clear that we are going to also say what we see in Europe,” he warned.
The Nicaraguan president will be a focus in Antigua, but the situation in his country will not be the only issue that is expected to raise tension in this regional conclave, which began in 1991 and now takes place every two years.
The Venezuelan crisis, with thousands of citizens trying to leave the country daily, and the caravans of migrants that advance from Central America to the United States will also be in the background of the summit, which has as its official motto “A prosperous, inclusive and sustainable Latin America.”