Ortega Shuns Visit by Members of the European Parliament

EU flags. Photo: Flikr / Creative Commons


For the second time in less than three months, he closes the doors

Government alleges, without evidence, that they issued “disrespectful statements.” MEPs keep plan to visit Nicaragua or Costa Rica.


By Juan Carlos Bow  (Confidencial)

HAVANA TIMES – A mission of the European Parliament, scheduled to arrive in Managua this week, has been vetoed by the regime, according to information from authorities of the Nicaraguan Foreign Ministry, to the representatives of the European Union (EU).

Diplomatic sources confirmed to Confidencial that the Government of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo withdrew the welcome to the members of the European Parliament (MEP), alleging that the MEPs had issued some “threatening and disrespectful statements” against the regime. However, they did not present any evidence on their allegation, and European politicians still contemplate keeping their visit to Nicaragua or to Costa Rica.

This would be the second occasion that the regime prevents a delegation of European legislators from visiting Nicaragua to learn what has happened in the country. Last November, they were scheduled to arrive in Managua, but it was postponed to January, at the request of the Nicaraguan Government.

The mission, led by Spaniard Ramon Jauregui, of the governing Socialist Workers Party (PSOE), planned to meet with Government officials and representatives of the opposition and civil society of Nicaragua. The objective was to learn firsthand what has happened in the country since last April, when the sociopolitical crisis began, which has left at least 325 citizens killed by the regime, more than 3,000 injured, over 600 political prisoners and some 60,000 exiled by political persecution or a loss of employment.

Report from the MEPs

Diplomatic sources indicated that the representatives of the EU tried to persuade Nicaraguan authorities to receive the euro-parliamentarians, but they did not accept. The Government wants the delegates of the European Parliament to postpone their visit for a second time.

Diplomatic negotiations continue, and sources linked to the MEPs explained that if they are prevented from travelling to Nicaragua, they could redirect their visit to Costa Rica, to meet in that country with the community their of Nicaraguans exiles and refugees.

The UK Ambassador to Nicaragua, Kenny Bell, explained last week to the local newspaper El Nuevo Diario that the European legislators planned to prepare a report on Nicaragua. “It is going to be a very interesting meeting. We will be very attentive; it would have an important influence on policies of the European Union. The parliament is a co-legislator and responsible for the budget of the European Union. These are its functions. The parliament is a co-manager of the funds and co-legislator in everything. Then, this is the power they have in their hands.

“The parliamentarians come with their own freedom of opinion, of expression; and it is difficult to know in advance what is going to happen. I know that some are very well informed, prepared. I cannot predict what they are going to say, what they will find. Their first objective is to see what the situation is like, to talk to the authorities, with all the different actors and from there we will know what they are going to say, what they will conclude,” said Bell to El Nuevo Diaro.

The General Budget of the Republic contemplates a donation of 128 million cordobas (around 4 million USD) from the EU, which will be used mainly for the construction and equipping border structures in Rio San Juan, adjacent to Costa Rica.

Council of European Ministers

On Monday the Council of Foreign Affairs of the European Union met on the Nicaraguan situation, and issued a resolution of condemnation against the Ortega regime..

The meeting was requested by Minister of Foreign Affairs of Spain, Josep Borrell, who last November lamented the lack of international pressure on the regime that he describes as a “dictatorship” and criticized the “bloody repression.”

The President of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani, announced that “very soon there will be measures” against the regime of Ortega and Murillo, if the rule of law, democracy and human rights in Nicaragua are not respected.

This was the first time that a senior member of the European Parliament has spoken on possible sanctions. Tajani said via Tweeter that “Nicaragua, under the Ortega regime, is becoming a second Venezuela.”