Luis Almagro sends delegation to meet with the Civic Alliance
OAS would accept the role if the political prisoners are freed. European Parliament, “concerned” by the interruption of the dialogue, promises a response this week.
Wilfredo Miranda Aburto (Confidencial)
HAVANA TIMES – Luis Angel Rosadilla, delegate sent by the OAS Secretary General, met on Monday with a contingent from the Ortega dictatorship and with the Civic Alliance for Justice and Democracy to explore the possible participation of the inter-American organization as a guarantor in the political negotiations being held at the INCAE business school in Managua. Since Friday, these negotiations have been at an “impasse”.
Two sources from the Civic Alliance assured that the OAS visited Nicaragua only to “realize an evaluation” on the dialogue. However, the organization “won’t assume the role of guarantor” until the Ortega-Murillo dictatorship “frees the political prisoners”. “They haven’t refused participation, but there must be some actions taken by the government such as the liberation of the prisoners,” sources agreed.
Before this delegation from the OAS landed in Managua, negotiations at the INCAE had entered an “impasse” due to the decision of the Episcopal Conference that they would not serve as “witnesses.” OAS General Secretary Luis Almagro said that the OAS could serve as guarantors, but only on condition that the 770 political prisoners be freed.
“We’re in agreement with a dialogue process, and in serving not exactly as mediators but as guarantors of that process,” Almagro explained on February 27, one day before the dialogue at the INCAE began. “I believe that opening a path of freedom for the political prisoners will clear away the obstacles, let’s say, and help us reach the institutional solutions and the democracy that the country needs,” he added.
On the eve of the installation of the dialogue table, the regime altered the jai protocol for a hundred political prisoners, who were transferred from jail to house arrest or family coexistence. However, these prisoners are still under watch and under siege, similar to other family members of the prisoners of conscience.
The Ortega-Murillo duo invited the OAS to the country this past Saturday, March 9, after the Civic Alliance had walked away from the INCAE roundtable, given the refusal of the bishops and the lack of commitment of the government itself to the dialogue.
In the agenda for negotiation, the dictatorship discounted the idea of moving up the elections programmed for November 2021, as the citizens had demanded through the Civic Alliance. Instead, the government proposed “strengthening” the existing electoral institutions – a system that has in reality collapsed totally – via the implementation of recommendations made by the OAS electoral accompaniment mission, and proposals for electoral reforms that “perfect” the free, just and transparent electoral processes.
The regime had already established an accord with the OAS on this topic in 2017, but suspended it later with no further explanations.
In a statement released on Monday night, March 11, the Civic Alliance informed that their negotiating team had met with Luis Angel Rosadilla, OAS special envoy, “and put before this organization the priorities that the Alliance and the Nicaraguans demand, in order to escape from the deep crisis the country is going through.” [Rosadilla said on Tuesday that he will be in the country until March 23rd.]
“The representatives from the Alliance expressed to Rosadilla their full confidence that the OAS could play an important role in the negotiation,” the communique reads. “In addition, they explained to the OAS how the negotiation process has developed up until this date, how the roadmap was agreed upon in order to begin the negotiations, the process of consulting in which the Alliance is involved at this moment, and where the visit of this delegation fits in with these demands.”
For their part, the dictatorship issued a different statement, questioning the Civic Alliance for their absence from the negotiating table this Monday.
“The delegation from the Nicaraguan government at the negotiation table, in search of understanding and peace in Nicaragua, was present in the installations of the INCAE in a responsible fashion today, Monday, March 11, at 10 in the morning,” read the government’s document. “The government delegation of Nicaragua ratifies the Nicaraguan state’s commitment to continue developing the work sessions, in order to advance and agree on the agenda that was approved by both delegations on March 5, 2019.”
European Parliament “concerned about the dialogue”
On Friday, March 8, the Civic Alliance got up and left the negotiating table. They have announced that they’ll only return to the table “once the Nicaraguan government offers the country definitive signs that lead to integral solutions to the crisis the country is living through and that contribute to an atmosphere of peace.”
On Monday, Ramon Jauregui, deputy from the European Parliament, expressed his concern for the interruption of the dialogue and announced that the old world’s Parliament is preparing a resolution on Nicaragua that is expected to be approved this same week.
“This news [of the dialogue reaching an impasse] sheds too many doubts about the government’s willingness in the negotiations. Freedom for the prisoners is a necessary condition for dialogue,” Jauregui wrote on his Twitter account.
The agenda of the European Parliament includes a discussion on March 13 on a report regarding the current state of human rights and democracy in Nicaragua. Later, on March 14, a resolution will be drafted and the plenary session will put it to a vote. The resolution might contemplate sanctions against the Ortega-Murillo regime.
Meanwhile, the Civic Alliance reiterated to the OAS delegation their agenda for negotiation: freedom and security for the political prisoners; reestablishment of the freedoms, rights and guarantees established by the political constitution; electoral reforms that guarantee early elections that are just, free and transparent; and justice, reparations and guarantees that these events will never be repeated.
“The Alliance celebrates the OAS visit and their arrival at this crucial moment for the future of Nicaragua,” reads the statement of the opposition contingent.