By Gabriela Selser (dpa)
HAVANA TIMES – The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the Government of Germany and Human Rights Watch (HRW) on Tuesday all condemned the latest episodes of violence in Nicaragua, including the attacks by mobs of the government of Daniel Ortega against the Catholic bishops.
In a joint statement, the IACHR and the regional headquarters of the OHCHR rejected “emphatically” the attacks against members of the Catholic Church, including the apostolic nuncio in Managua, Waldemar Sommertag, Cardinal Leopoldo Brenes and auxiliary bishop of Managua, Silvio Baez, which occurred on Monday in Diriamba, south of Managua.
They also warned of a “campaign of stigmatization” by the Government against the leaders of the Catholic Church for their work in protecting the civilian population and for “their fundamental role” in mediating the now suspended national dialogue.
The two organizations reminded the government of Daniel Ortega that the State is responsible for guaranteeing the security, the right to life and the exercise of the human rights of the entire population.
The incidents in Diriamba, 43 kilometers from Managua, occurred when a mission of bishops, journalists and human rights activists was besieged, attacked and beaten by government activists, several of them hooded.
The attack on the religious leaders was also condemned “energetically” on Tuesday by the Government of Germany through a statement from its Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
“The Government (of Nicaragua) and the security forces have a duty to guarantee the safety of the citizens, and we urge all those involved to seek a peaceful solution to the crisis for the good of the country and to continue working decisively in the dialogue process, “the text said.
The government of Angela Merkel also called to clarify “quickly and extensively” the circumstances of the death of more than 300 victims during this crisis and called for the punishment of those responsible.
In Managua, the German ambassador Ute König and other representatives of European Union countries met with the bishops and the representative of Pope Francis at the headquarters of the Apostolic Nunciature, to express “their concern for the aggressions suffered and support for their work as mediators.”
The meeting was also attended by ambassadors Sergio Martes (Italy), Philippe Létrilliart (France), Rafael Garranzo Garcia (Spain) and the charge d’affaires from Luxembourg, André Biever, and the EU, Maider Makua García, sources told dpa.
For its part, Human Rights Watch said Tuesday that Ortega and other senior officials must respond for the “serious and widespread abuses” that are being committed in the country.
“The Nicaraguan authorities are not taking measures to prevent violations of fundamental rights and to ensure that those responsible are held accountable for their actions,” Vivanco added.
HRW recalls that the Government of Nicaragua has the obligation, according to international law, to take measures to prevent and punish violations of human rights.
“While President Ortega repeats the mantra that his government is working for peace in Nicaragua, the police under his supervision continue to kill demonstrators,” said José Miguel Vivanco, director for the Americas at HRW.
Nicaragua is experiencing its worst political crisis in 40 years since the student protest began on April 18, which worsened quickly after the violent action of the police and paramilitaries against unarmed civilian demonstrators.
At least 309 people have died in this country of 6 million, in the context of protests against the government, according to human rights organizations.
Meanwhile, Francisco Lopez, one of the closest collaborators of Ortega, resigned from two important posts in government entities on Tuesday, five days after being sanctioned by the United States.
The resignation of Lopez as president of Petroleos de Nicaragua (Petronic) and the Nicaraguan Mining Company (Eniminas) was immediately accepted by Ortega.
Lopez is still the treasurer of the FSLN party of Ortega, and the vice president of Albanisa, a Venezuelan / Nicaraguan company that has privately managed several billion dollars of oil cooperation and different investments.
On July 5, the government of Donald Trump imposed the first sanctions against three high officials considered “the ring of power” of Ortega. The other two are Francisco Diaz, the deputy director of Police and family by marriage of Ortega, and Fidel Moreno, the general secretary of the Mayor of Managua, all sanctioned by the Treasury Department and the State Department, for human rights violations and corruption.
The sanctions involve the freezing of all properties and assets they have in the United States and the ban on any US citizen from making transactions with them. Likewise, their entry into the US is now prohibited.