Nicaragua Opposition Delegation Lobbies in US Congress & OAS

Representatives of the Civic Alliance and the National Blue and White Unity lobby intensely with US legislators and with the OAS to increase their pressure on the Ortega regime

By Lucia Navas (La Prensa)

A delegation from the Civic Alliance began intense lobbying efforts in the United States, hoping to increase the pressure brought to bear against Daniel Ortega’s regime. Photo: taken from social media sites / La Prensa

HAVANA TIMES – On Monday, September 23, a delegation from the opposition group Civic Alliance for Justice and Democracy began an intense lobbying campaign that includes the US House and Senate, as well as the Organization of American States (OAS). Their agenda also contemplated meetings with the Nicaraguan diaspora.

Both efforts were concentrated on increasing the pressure on Daniel Ortega’s regime to renew the dialogue and, in that way, find a solution to the socio-political crisis that has engulfed Nicaragua for nearly a year and a half.

Opposition leaders Juan Sebastian Chamorro, Mario Arana, Azahalea Solis, Medardo Mairena, and Jose Adan Aguerri, together with university students Max Jerez, Edwin Carcache, Lesther Aleman and Douglas Castro, plus Felix Maradiaga, a member  of the political council of the National Blue and White Unity, all formed part of the delegation that will be reporting on how the Ortega regime continues violating Nicaraguans’ human rights by maintaining and intensifying their repression.

The opposition figures were also to participate in a demonstration that the community of Nicaraguans residing in the United States scheduled for Tuesday, September 24, in front of the Nicaraguan embassy in Washington D.C.

Jose Pallais of the Civic Alliance explained that one of the most pivotal meetings is that which part of the opposition will have with the high-level diplomatic commission created by the OAS. That meeting is scheduled for next Friday, September 27.

Pallais explained that in this encounter, they’ll formalize their denunciation, with documented proof that the Ortega regime has no will to resolve the crisis, and instead has increased the repression in the last weeks. Recent repressive measures have included police sieges, jailing grassroots opposition leaders, the prohibition of protests, and attacks on citizens who attempt to hold demonstrations.

“The objective is to maintain the international community’s interest in the Nicaraguan crisis and to thank them for their support for a negotiated solution to this crisis. In the name of Nicaraguans, the Alliance will express their support for the high-level OAS commission, and will offer a report on the situation of human rights and democracy that are ever more deteriorated,” stated Pallais, who couldn’t participate in the trip due to health problems.

The agenda of the opposition delegation includes a meeting with both Democratic and Republican members of the House and Senate, as well as with representatives from the State Department, with the OAS secretary general, and with the ambassadors who make up the Working Group on Nicaragua and the high-level diplomatic commission of the hemispheric organization.

“It’s an intense agenda. We trust that the OAS will continue their actions to bring about a return to dialogue despite the fact that Ortega has refused to receive the members of the high-level commission, because we Nicaraguans trust that a peaceful solution to this crisis can be found,” Pallais said.

Azahalea Solis, a member of the opposition and human rights advocate, participated on Monday the 23rd in a meeting of the Coalition for Human Rights in the Americas, held in the Center for Justice and International Law.  At this gathering, she denounced the aggression suffered by demonstrators last Saturday, when they held a number of flash demonstrations as protests against the regime. She spoke of the persistence of the regime’s policy of arbitrary detentions of opponents and noted that there are currently more than a hundred political prisoners.

On Saturday, September 21, the Ortega Police surrounded the four sectors where members of the National Blue and White Unity had called for people to congregate in order to march in the area of the Masaya highway. The riot police hurled stun grenades to drive back the citizens. Released political prisoner Pedro Estrada Ortiz, 21, was wounded by one of those grenades in a demonstration that was being held in the parking lot of the Pallais Center.

The police cordon, the prohibition of the marches, the abductions and the illegal detentions are all part of the repression that the Ortega regime has continued to maintain since April of 2018 against citizens demanding Ortega’s departure from power for the crimes committed against demonstrators. At least 328 deaths, thousands of wounded, over a thousand political prisoners and some eighty thousand exiles are part of the bloody toll the repression has left over the last 17 months.

The population demands that the elections (scheduled for November, 2021) be moved up, a demand that the regime has rejected. Ortega even impeded entry into Nicaragua for the members of the high-level diplomatic commission created by the OAS with the objective of carrying out “diplomatic efforts at the highest level” to seek a direct encounter with the government and attempt to find a negotiated solution to the crisis in Nicaragua.

The regime rejects the high-level OAS commission, since they consider it a mechanism that they haven’t asked for. In their judgement, it represents interference in the country’s internal affairs. In a clear confrontation with the hemispheric body, the government blocked entry into Nicaragua for ambassadors Elisa Ruiz Diaz Bareiro, Paraguay’s permanent representative before the OAS; Leopoldo Sahores, undersecretary of American Affairs of Argentina’s Ministry of Foreign Relations and Culture; Sebastien Sigouin, director of Canada’s Global Affairs office for Central America, Cuba and the Dominican Republic; Carlos Trujillo, U.S. permanent representative before the OAS; and Audrey Marks, OAS permanent representative from Jamaica.

They also refused to grant entry to Gonzalo Koncke, cabinet chief for OAS secretary general Luis Almagro. Koncke had planned to attend encounters with diverse sectors in the country, together with members of the OAS high-level commission.