Haydee Castillo on the corruption bleeding Nicaragua
Haydee Castillo sees the need to demand greater action from the international community against the Nicaraguan dictatorship.
HAVANA TIMES – Opposition activist Haydee Castillo believes that the current “threshing” of high officials within the Ortega-Murillo regime is the result of a deep cancer that permeates the Nicaraguan government. Speaking with the online news program Panorama Nicaragua on June 8, she also likened the dictatorship’s functioning to that of organized crime, stating that both are “rotten with corruption.”
Castillo pointed out that even before 2018, civil society organizations were warning about the lack of strong, independent institutions in the country. Given this, she reflected: “it seems to me that [the recent spate of falls from grace among upper leaders] is a clear reflection of the level of distrust inside the ranks of the regime and those around it.”
“I’ve always compared the structure of today’s Sandinista Front – of the upper echelon, the leadership, the dictatorship’s trusted inner circle – to a criminal organization. We already know that in these institutions, as long as you continue to serve those who hold the reins of decision-making, everything’s fine. But when you’re no longer useful, well everything that can happen, happens,” she affirmed.
Castillo recalled that in extreme cases they invent crimes such as drug possession to get rid of people. However, she stressed that since a great many of these people have served in security circles, they’ve already been implicated in a series of situations that [the regime] can use at any given time to get rid of them.
As far as the fact that the Ortega Murillo regime is conducting a “purge” of its officials for corruption, Castillo insisted: “we’re looking at a situation where, by functioning like organized crime, Nicaragua is suffering from a deep-seated evil of corruption, which didn’t start just now. It’s also taken place in other governments, but in this regime it finished off every single one of the institutions that [the leaders] should be accountable to, the institutions that should keep watch to assure transparency. They all became accomplices of one sole system.”
Castillo recalled that precisely that system is classified as one of the most corrupt in Latin America. She affirmed that this is a dictatorship which has been left with no legitimacy, no moral authority, and no one can believe in them. For that reason, there’s no certainty about whether the person being investigated ”committed a real crime, or if it’s an invented crime. However, what we do know is that there’s collusion in the corruption at every single level.”
Greater pressure needed
Castillo stated that they’ve fought day and night to have the Organization of American States declare the regime completely illegitimate.
“The norm in a normal country with a transparent government would be that – in the first instance – that’s the reason for the existence of that whole structure of balance of powers. There’d have to be an internal investigation in Nicaragua, and that’s why the attorney general’s offices exist when you violate human rights. If they’re independent, they should impose limits on the dictatorship, but in fact [in Nicaragua] the the prosecutors have been subordinated to the presidential family.
Castillo also questioned the Comptroller General in Nicaragua, who are charged with setting limits, but are also now “accomplices” of the dictatorship.
Given the lack of serious internal controls over the Nicaraguan regime, Castillo underscored that, from the international perspective, it should be the Organization of American States that puts limits on the regime for completely violating the Inter-American Democratic Charter. “Or, in the same way, the General Assembly of the United Nations has the obligation of overseeing compliance with the UN Charter in terms of the universal declaration of human rights. But all of these multilateral institutions have limits, because they’re also made up of the same governments and State representatives.”
The path to follow
Castillo believes that the only path left is to continue strengthening and seeking out all possible mechanisms of universal justice, like that which has been initiated in Argentina.
She also applauded the fact that in the United States the Renacer Act has been approved, with bipartisan support from both Republicans and Democrats. However, she pointed out that these laws have still not been set in march in all their depth. Similarly, she pointed out that, in the case of the European Union, the Ortega regime isn’t complying with the sustainable development agreement, because it has violated the entire framework of rights.
“We Nicaraguans must continue demanding that the international community take firm steps in relation to universal justice and the mechanisms for enforcing compliance with the international treaties they’ve signed with the regime,” she insisted.
Finally, she lamented that the OAS hasn’t declared the regime illegitimate, even though it’s been classified as among the most corrupt. In addition, she spoke about the urgency of establishing a group for greater pressure, made up of all the civil society organizations, those of the Nicaraguan opposition, and those that oversee human rights, “to be able to continue exerting maximum pressure on the international community, because domestic rights and laws have practically stopped existing in Nicaragua. There’s a very important role to play here for the International Human Rights Court, the International Criminal Court and for universal justice.”