By Circles Robinson
HAVANA TIMES – Daniel Ortega hopes that Russia can play an important role in sustaining his government under pressure internationally from most of the Americas and the European Union. Ortega’s regime is accused of horrendous human rights violations and faces a deflating Nicaraguan economy approaching free-fall under the weight of multiple sanctions.
A visit this weekend from a high-ranking member of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (which holds 43 seats in the 450-member Duma) was highly publicized by government media led by the website el19digital.
Dmitry Georgievich Novikov, the first vice president of the Russian parliament’s Foreign Relations Committee as well as the vice president of the Communist Party Central Committee, met with Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo, reports the government website managed by Murillo.
The Russian politician bestowed the Order of Friendship of the Peoples of the Communist Party of Russia on commander Daniel Ortega “in recognition for his great contribution to international relations worldwide and between Russia and Nicaragua.”
Back in the 1980s, during the Contra War financed by the United States under then-president Reagan, the Soviet Union through its proxy Cuba helped Nicaragua both defend itself and avoid total economic collapse.
As a small poor country, insignificant in the global economy, Nicaragua could be attractive to Vladimir Putin as a means of reinserting a thorn in the US side — a bargaining chip of sorts to stave off US/NATO pressure on Russia for its land grabs in Crimea and parts of Georgia in Eastern Europe and Eurasia.
Using Ortega for geo-political reasons could save him once again from total collapse. Without support from Russia, the economic future for Nicaragua looks extremely bleak: increasing sanctions from its main trade partner (the US); the intense recession facing his godfather, Venezuela’s Nicolas Maduro; and sharply decreasing investment, production, tourism, employment, exports and imports.
Contrasting silence in the government media
At the same time as it glorified the visit from Russia, the el19digital web platform has as yet refrained from commenting on Thursday’s resignation of the Ortegas’ intimate collaborator and decades-long chief legal advisor, Supreme Court Justice Rafael Solis.
In his three-page letter of resignation, Solis confessed to having been a part of the crimes against humanity suffered by the civilian population since April 2018, and ordered by the ruling couple. He made clear that the trials being held against the political prisoners, who now number over 500, are rigged to convict them of fabricated charges under orders from Ortega and Murillo. He also expressed regret for battering the Constitution a decade ago, when rules were changed to allow Ortega to be indefinitely reelected.