Permanent Commission will propose a “special commission” to follow up on the crisis.
Options include demanding that the Inter-American Development Bank to scrutinize the credits to be disbursed or applying the Inter-American Democratic Charter to the Ortega government.
By Ivan Olivares (Confidencial)
HAVANA TIMES – The Organization of American States will meet this Tuesday, July 31st to discuss a new resolution regarding the situation in Nicaragua including the creation a follow-up group on the national crisis. If the necessary support for passage is obtained, it will be submitted to a vote the next day – Wednesday, August 1. This is the information given to Confidencial by political scientist Manuel Orozco, a researcher for the Washington-based think tank Inter-American Dialogue.
As a dispatch from the EFE news agency that Confidencial published on Saturday indicates: “over the next few days, Daniel Ortega’s government could be faced with a ‘special commission’ in the heart of the OAS, or the freezing of loans from the Inter-American Development Bank” or a vote to apply the Inter-American Democratic Charter to the country.
“The international community continues its diplomatic activity in support of Nicaraguans. Within the OAS, a follow-up group on Nicaragua is being formed. At the same time, the Argentinian ambassador has organized a space for members of the Civic Alliance to offer information on the ongoing situation in Nicaragua,” the dispatch added.
Francisco Aguirre Sacasa, former foreign minister of Nicaragua, coincided with Orozco in saying that “this will be a very active week in [Washington] DC, in the Senate as well as in the OAS.” “There’s a feeling in the international community that they haven’t been aggressive enough in their support for a democratic Nicaragua during the first 100 days. Just as we [Nicaraguans] were criticized for our enormous apathy, they now recognize that Nicaragua offered a demonstration of their commitment to democracy, risking their own lives, while they restricted themselves to only relatively weak measures,” he stated.
“The perception also exists that with the passage of time the energy of the self-organized movement has been wearing thin. Given this situation, there’s an important group in Washington who believe that this is the moment for the United States and the international community to compensate for the depletion of energy that could be occurring in Nicaragua due to their lack of action during the first hundred days,” he added.
The diplomat confirmed that a group of senators, including Republicans Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, and Democrats Bob Menendez and former vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine, presented a resolution which – if approved – would apply the equivalent of the Magnitsky Law to all those that are close to the Ortega-Murillo duo.
“That’s not a secret. This group thinks that they could get this bill approved this week, before the Senate goes out on recess. We’re not talking about resolutions or declarations any more, but a law with teeth,” Aguirre asserted.
OAS continues monitoring Nicaragua
Dr. Carlos Tunnerman Bernheim, academic representative to the National Dialogue, indicated during an interview on the Nicaraguan weekly television news program Esta Semana that the Civic Alliance for Justice and Democracy is well aware of the diplomatic activity in Washington, as “the Permanent Commission of the OAS continues following up on the Nicaraguan situation.”
“The topic of Nicaragua is still on the agenda, and that’s a great achievement. There’ve been few times in the history of the OAS when a topic related to one country alone has appeared so frequently on the agenda. It’s also rare to have consecutive extraordinary meetings of the Permanent Council programmed to discuss it,” he recalled.
“They’re talking about two options: either a special commission of 10 or 12 countries to attempt diplomatic measures with the Nicaraguan government; or – if the government doesn’t accept this commission – of applying economic sanctions, for example freezing the funds [624 million dollars] that are available in the Inter-American Development Bank portfolio, part of the OAS structure.”
Tunnerman mentioned a third option, that of applying the Inter-American Democratic Charter. However, he noted that there was still some doubt about attempting this: it must first be seen if the votes to pass it could be obtained, but also because its consequences are more serious.
“If the Charter is applied, they would have to name a commission of foreign ministers to visit Nicaragua and examine the situation on the ground. But if that were to happen, the Ortega government might react by saying that if they’re going to apply articles 20 and 21 of the Democratic Charter, then the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights (IACHR) should leave the country,” he explained.
Such a course of action would be counterproductive for the efforts of Paulo Abrao, executive secretary of the IACHR, who’s trying to open “a humanitarian channel to offer refuge to the youth who are currently in danger, in hiding, or fleeing in the countryside,” possibly granting them asylum in the embassies, said the researcher Orozco.
Although Manuel Orozco explained that “the US Senate and the Legislature continue their efforts to influence the U.S. Executive branch to increase diplomatic pressure on several fronts,” and there are senators who are still thinking about approving the Nica Act, Aguirre Sacasa feels that this law is “redundant. It ends up becoming one more resolution, because it was designed to strike a blow at the Nicaraguan economy, an economy that at this point is very depressed.”
Ortega “blitzkrieg” on the media
Former foreign minister Francisco Aguirre Sacasa compared Daniel Ortega to a boxer who’s been out of training for a long time. In the case of the leader, the training isn’t for entering the ring with another contender of his same weight, but for confronting high-level interviewers, professionals who do this work every day.
“Daniel Ortega is so worried, that he’s decided to take the risk of launching a blitzkrieg in the media, despite the fact that he’s out of shape for this. He’s gone from zero interviews and long absences from all public life, to a fairly agitated rhythm,” Aguirre noted.
He recalled that following the interview with Fox News, Ortega attended a much more pleasant exercise with Venezuelan-based Telesur, but he didn’t stop there.
“There’s an interview coming with Andres Oppenheimer of CNN, and that makes me think that Ortega is very worried about how damaged his international image is, and about what’s being cooked up in Washington and in the European capitals.”
“His concern isn’t about what’s happening in Nicaragua, but with the damage that his own actions have caused during the first hundred days. His focus now is seeing how he can manage to convince the international community” that what everybody has been seeing on their television screens isn’t true.
Aguirre believes that it hasn’t gone well for Ortega in his interviews, in part because his image generates a lot of “antibodies” – feelings that have deepened due to the quantity of deaths caused by the government’s repression.
Tunnerman expresses himself in similar terms. “Those interviews have ended up counterproductive for him, because the things he affirmed were contrary to the reality that we’re experiencing.”
“Instead of generating doubt, he appeared to be a head of state who’s not well informed about what’s happening in his own country. Many of those who watched the interviews, especially the functionaries of some countries in the OAS or European Union that had already read the IACHR report, already knew that what he was saying didn’t correspond to reality. He was reading the situation wrong, and [his story] wasn’t “bought” by public opinion in the countries he tried to impress,” was the academic’s verdict.