German Diplomacy on Nicaragua: Not in My Name!

March in the indigenous Masaya suburb of Monimbo

On a diplomatic level, the most appropriate and necessary step would be clear public declarations opposing Ortega’s dictatorial policies.


By Matthias Schindler (Confidencial)

HAVANA TIMES – As someone who participated in the solidarity movement with Nicaragua from its beginning in the 80s and was instrumental in setting up sister city arrangements between German and Nicaraguan cities, I find it the German diplomatic corps’ current support of the Ortega regime unbearable.  More agonizing yet is to see them citing our historic solidarity work towards this end.

Former German ambassador Ute Konig gave a hugely embarrassing farewell speech, painful not only because of her terrible “Spanish”, but much more so for the studied neutrality she demonstrated in the face of the victims and the perpetrators of Ortega’s repressive policies.

A few days before, she accepted the dictatorial regime’s award of the “Jose de Marcoleta Order of the Great Cross” with modest expressions of gratitude towards the Ortega-Murillo presidential couple.

No similar farewell was offered to the democratic movement. In this way, the ambassador made public and clearly visible her position in favor of the regime.

The new ambassador, Christoph Bundscherer, offers his personal expression at the beginning of the German Embassy’s web page, making reference to the solidarity movement and the construction of the sister-city relationships between German and Nicaraguan cities that originated during the decade of the 80s.

At that time, our solidarity movement supported a democratic process of liberation that doubtless had some policy deficits – which we see today more clearly than we saw at that point in time – but that had sparked a euphoria in the majority of the population towards the construction of a new, free society. Our solidarity had a clear orientation: support for the Nicaraguan people to develop a path towards self-determination.

The current Ortega regime has nothing to do with the objectives and the reality of the Sandinista revolution of the eighties. Today, Ortega personally controls all the state institutions plus those of Nicaraguan society. He and his inner circle have become a new and powerful capital group. Those who don’t support him are mercilessly persecuted, oppressed, tortured and killed. The paramilitary forces are ready to renew their repressive work in his service at any moment. Every day we receive news of the state terrorism exercised against the Nicaraguan people.

During the decade of the 80s, the sister-city relationships were set up against the political will of the then-government of West Germany, made up of the conservative and liberal parties of the CDU, CSU and FDP. Their existence was conceived as a political symbol of opposition to the US economic and military intervention in Nicaragua. In order not to leave this at the level of words only, these sisterhoods were accompanied by economic aid towards building up the country.

If at that time the political conditions in the country had been similar to those that exist today in Nicaragua, such a broad and strong solidarity movement would never have developed, and not a single sisterhood would have been established between two cities!

The sister cities movement had a strong political significance at that time and today they still retain this meaning. The Ortega regime is abusing this in order to project a situation of “normalcy” and “business-as-usual” in Nicaragua, and in this way to legitimize his regime and his constant, daily repressive measures. Hence, as in that time our solidarity and the sister cities sought to support a path of self-determination for the Nicaraguan people, our current solidarity activities must serve to protect the victims of the repression and to support the grassroots democratic movement.

At a diplomatic level, the most appropriate and necessary step would be clear public declarations opposing Ortega’s dictatorial policies. This is the only language that Ortega understands. The German government is obviously not going down that road, supposedly so as not to endanger their role as an intermediary in an eventual future dialogue. Ortega laughs quietly, as Germany does exactly what he needs to keep himself in power. While awaiting a possible strengthening of their world political role, the German government has left the democratic movement in Nicaragua defenseless.

That can’t be changed at the moment.