What the Ortega-Civic Alliance Accord on Rights and Freedoms Means on Paper

“El Nuevo Diario” has not received its imported paper from Customs for over a half year. File photo: END.

HAVANA TIMES – The agreement to strengthen citizen rights and guarantees, signed on Friday March 29, in the ongoing dialogue between the Government and the Civic Alliance for Justice and Democracy, indicates that decisions will be reviewed in the context of the protests that are related to the Police occupation and retention of property, facilities, assets, licenses and other tangible and intangible goods of the media, reported El Nuevo Diario.

At the same time, the agreement indicates that the State will try to expedite the judicial processes to return to their owners these occupied goods.

The Government of Nicaragua also agreed to guarantee the import and delivery of paper, machinery, equipment, repair and spare parts of written, radio and television social communication media outlets.

On the other hand, point 8 of this agreement on constitutional guarantees, states that cancellation of the legal status of non-governmental organizations will be reviewed.

Point 3 expresses a commitment to “guarantee the unrestricted right to all forms of property.”

For six months the Customs office has failed to resolve the requests of the media, such as “El Nuevo Diario,” to deliver to them commodities for which they have already paid and which has been withheld without any grounds since September 6, 2018.

In addition, TV Channel “100% Noticias,” whose Director and Press Officer, Miguel Mora and Lucia Pineda, are imprisoned, has been occupied. Likewise, the installations of Confidencial, Esta Semana and Esta Noche of journalist Carlos Fernando Chamorro, were ransacked and taken over by the police. Chamorro is now in exile in Costa Rica.

Mario Arana, a representative of the Civic Alliance, expressed on Friday after the joint statement of the negotiating table that “the media will play a very important role in the implementation, to ensure that we follow up on these agreements and it becomes a living instrument of reconciliation and of solution to the crisis in which the country has been plunged.”

NGOs and Land Grabbers

Besides that, in December the National Assembly cancelled the legal status of several organizations, among them, the Nicaraguan Center for Human Rights (Cenidh), noted El Nuevo Diario.

The Civic Alliance announced the agreements on citizens’ rights and guarantees, Friday night in Managua. Photo: Jorge Ortega / END

According to what was signed on Friday, the government promises to review the cancellation of the legal status and return the assets occupied to the NGOs.

There are more than a dozen NGOs that lost their legal status in Nicaragua, in the context of the crisis.

For its part, the Union of Agricultural Producers of Nicaragua (Upanic) denounced in June the invasion of 68.6 km2 in the hands of squatters.

Juan Sebastian Chamorro, representative of the Civic Alliance, said at the end of the session that “many of these elements contained in the agreements are in the Nicaraguan Constitution. What has happened is that the human rights of Nicaraguans have been kidnapped, although they are inalienable, and it is necessary to understand it in its right dimension, when we say that they are returned (…) it is because these rights that had been kidnapped by the Government will be restored.”

“Some of the commitments will be fulfilled immediately; as the action of waving the flag, in which we insisted a lot. There are a lot of other rights such as property, restitution of properties; not only rural ones, but buildings of media outlets. Obviously, this will have to be implemented through the corresponding bodies and protocols referred to,” added Juan Sebastian Chamorro.

Electoral issue is pending

Chamorro recalled that the electoral issue has not yet been addressed in the dialogue and until then guarantors will be designated.

March for Freedom of Expression in 2018. Orlando Valenzuela / END

“What we have until now is the official designation of Mr. Cristobal Fernandez (of the OAS), who is currently coordinating the work. Once the agreement is reached, if it happens, then a guarantor will be appointed in the electoral issue,” Chamorro explained.

For his part, Mario Arana, another representative of the Civic Alliance, said that “it is important to clarify that the whole issue of justice and democracy is still pending (…). In this table what we are trying to do is contribute to pull the country out of the crisis and that involves us all. Inasmuch as we take ownership of these commitments, this will be worthwhile and will help Nicaragua get out of its crisis. Therefore, it is not fair to have anyone commit violations, because whoever does it will make this a failure for the country.”

However, Arana argues that “in the negotiations we have red lines, because there are things that we are not willing to accept. So, it is worthwhile that we are clear that both parties have to find a balance so that this eventually leads us to good port. Clearly, if we do not believe that this is in the best interest of Nicaraguans, we will not be able to close the agreement.”

“We think that there is willingness to reach agreements, but also we must not forget and be clear that this is only a first stage and that the more complex one is coming, more tedious, longer, which is the implementation and that in compliance is where we are going to put to test if there has been willingness in practice,” he concluded.



One thought on “What the Ortega-Civic Alliance Accord on Rights and Freedoms Means on Paper

  • March 31, 2019 at 7:19 pm

    Things are just as peaceful on San Juan Del Sur as years ago. We have had no unrest and tourism is great with huge cruise ships docking here weekly. All is well here

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