Diplomatic Options Running Out for Nicaragua’s Daniel Ortega

At the opening of the OAS General Assembly held June 26-28 in Medellin, Colombia. Photo: eltiempo.com


Civic Alliance will continue to demand restoration of public liberties

“Release (of political prisoners) was not a gesture of normality for the international community,” assures Juan Sebastian Chamorro, of the Civic Alliance.


By Confidencial

HAVANA TIMES – The recent resolution of the Organization of American States (OAS), which gives the government of Daniel Ortega a 75-day period to address Nicaragua’s sociopolitical crisis, “was a resounding success” and shows that for Ortega “the diplomatic options are closing,” said Juan Sebastian Chamorro, representative of the Civic Alliance for Justice and Democracy. For the economist, the resolution is also “a boost to the civic and non-violent struggle,” which Nicaraguans initiated in April of 2018.

Chamorro, who participated in the General Assembly of the OAS, last week in Medellin, Colombia, also asserted in an interview on the program “Esta Semana” (This Week) that although the dictatorship of Daniel Ortega tried to use as a good will gesture and apparent normality the liberation of the main leaders of the protests, it was not perceived that way at the international level. “The international community did not buy it as a gesture of normalcy,” he said.

According to Chamorro, Ortega is in a double dilemma over whether he is going to allow or not the entry of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) to Nicaragua. If he accepts it, he would be even more exposed at the international level. But, if he doesn’t, the organization may invoke Article 21 of the Democratic Charter, which would imply its expulsion from the OAS.

Chamorro believes that the commission created by the resolution, for high-level diplomatic efforts with the dictatorship, will be a small group that could be integrated by some foreign ministers.

Lobbying in Medellin

During the General Assembly of the OAS, a group of Nicaraguan former political prisoners and representatives of human rights organizations travelled to Medellin to share their testimonies and denounce the human rights violations committed by the Ortega regime.

“The mission that went to Medellin was very broad. We held an event about the progress and setbacks of human rights, about the importance of unity among all entities opposed to the regime and the testimonies of the political prisoners. That, in some way, helped counteract the Government’s discourse saying that in Nicaragua there is no breakdown of democratic order and unfortunately, for some of the countries that are more indifferent, the issue began to sink in,” Chamorro explained.

Likewise, he assured that the Civic Alliance will continue advocating for the release of the remaining political prisoners who continue in prisons and for the total release of those who were released under house arrest.

Juan Sebastian Chamorro (left) with other members of the Civic Alliance, UNAB and human rights defenders in Medellin, participating in the General Assembly of the OAS. W. Miranda / Confidencial

“The issue of political prisoners is not abandoned, but we must also recognize that if we are not somehow having this exchange, these prisoners will not leave the prisons because there is no way to reconcile the lists. The solution is the technical commission to get prisoners out, but all this depends on the political will of the Government. The deputy (Wilfredo) Navarro said a few days ago that the negotiation was closed and that their will was not to sit down. We will see what happens,” he said.

A significant change that has preoccupied the members of the Civic Alliance and society in general, were the declarations of the Secretary General of the OAS, Luis Almagro, in which he affirmed that unlike Maduro that represses, Ortega governs. However, Chamorro discards that Ortega could take advantage of this to promote a unilateral negotiation.

“We expressed to the delegations our surprise about the statements of Secretary Almagro and obviously we noted several reasons why we believe that these statements are imprecise, because there is a state of continuous repression… The latest position we received from the adviser to the Secretary General, Luis Porto, is that there was going to be involvement in the dialogue. We understand that the resolution itself urges that the negotiation with the Civic Alliance be resumed and we understand that it is within this context that the electoral reforms must be done,” he stated.

Even with the progress made with the OAS resolution, the Civic Alliance will continue to demand the restitution of citizen rights that imply justice, non-repetition, reparation and truth. This will be accompanied by national pressure by way of new forms of civic protests, he concluded.