June 12, 2021

Luis Almagro on CNN: Nicaragua is a dictatorship

(CNN Español) — The Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), Luis Almagro, considers that in Nicaragua the Government of Daniel Ortega does not exercise power according to the rule of law, which is considered a dictatorship. This is what he said in an interview with Fernando del Rincón in CNN’s Conclusions.

Almagro requested an “emergency meeting” of the Permanent Council of that hemispheric body to discuss the possible suspension of Nicaragua from the body, after a series of arrests of opponents in less than a week, among which those of four presidential candidates stand out. The Secretary General of the OAS says that in the Central American country there has been an “alteration of the constitutional order” and that in the emergency session “the activation of the necessary mechanisms” for the application of Article 21 of the Inter-American Democratic Charter should be considered. .

What Nicaragua would have to do to dialogue with the OAS 1:09

“In the categorization to be adopted by the Permanent Council – which is the responsibility of the countries to adopt – is this delegitimization of origin and exercise of power in accordance with the rule of law. The General Secretariat has no doubt that today the exercise of power in Nicaragua does not conform to the democratic rule of law, that the exercise of power in Nicaragua is delegitimized by this circumstance and that, therefore, it is necessary to take actions that are in consonance with Article 21 of the Inter-American Democratic Charter, “Almagro said in Conclusions.

Almagro explained to Del Rincón that the terminology of the Inter-American Democratic Charter does not use the word dictatorship at any point. “But if you want to categorize it that way, if when the exercise of power is not done in accordance with the democratic rule of law, it is a dictatorship.”

Almagro clarifies how far the OAS can go in Nicaragua 0:30

In a letter sent to the president of the Council, Ronald Sanders, and that was published by Almagro on Twitter, the secretary general says that Nicaragua “has embarked in recent days in an unprecedented attack against opposition leaders, pre-candidates for publicly elected positions. and social and business leaders, imprisoning them without any guarantee of their rights or judicial processes.

The arrests of opponents, ordered based on different accusations of corruption and the alleged violation of the so-called “Law for the Defense of the Rights of the People to Independence, Sovereignty and Self-determination for Peace”, acts against sovereignty, began last week with Cristiana Chamorro, and on Saturday it was Arturo Cruz’s turn. On Tuesday they arrested Juan Sebastián Chamorro, Félix Maradiaga, Violeta Granera and José Adán Aguerri, and on Wednesday José Bernard Pallais Arana.

There is a breakdown of the democratic order in Nicaragua, says Almagro

Almagro: Ortega’s government decided to delegitimize the election 0:46

“At this time, the Nicaraguan government decided to delegitimize the election a priori with the imprisonment and persecution of the candidates, pre-candidates and those opposition and dissident politicians,” Almagro said.

“Therefore, this prior delegitimization implies a breakdown of the country’s democratic order and a delegitimization of the process that comes before, of the electoral process. And therefore, it is necessary to take action to respond to the response that Nicaraguan citizens need. The response that the Nicaraguan people today – deprived of their civil and political rights – need.

Is the OAS in danger? Almagro responds 1:39

What does Article 21 of the Inter-American Charter say?

The Inter-American Democratic Charter was adopted in September 2001 and gives governments “a compass to guide their collective action when democracy faces dangers,” according to the OAS.

Article 21 provides that when it is “found that there has been a breakdown of the democratic order in a Member State and that diplomatic efforts have been unsuccessful, in accordance with the OAS Charter, it will take the decision to suspend said Member State from exercising of their right to participate in the OAS (…) The suspension will take effect immediately.

Almagro on Nicaragua: Action should be taken as soon as possible 0:29

The same article establishes that “the Member State that has been suspended must continue to observe the fulfillment of its obligations as a member of the Organization, particularly in the area of ​​human rights” and that “once the decision to suspend a government has been adopted , the Organization will maintain its diplomatic efforts to restore democracy in the affected Member State. “

What the Nicaraguan government says

The government of President Daniel Ortega has not reacted to Almagro’s request, and the calls made and messages sent this Wednesday by CNN to the Communication and Citizenship Council were not answered.

Almagro’s request comes the same day that the Nicaraguan National Police arrested José Bernard Pallais Arana, a leader of the opposition National Coalition, while he issued an arrest warrant for Mario Arana, a leader of the also opposition Citizen Alliance.

Pallais is the seventh politician in opposition to Daniel Ortega’s government to be detained in less than a week. Arana could be the eighth.

As explained by the Police in a statement, Pallais is being investigated for “carrying out acts that undermine independence, sovereignty and self-determination, inciting foreign interference in internal affairs, requesting military interventions, organizing with financing from foreign powers to carry out acts of terrorism. and destabilization, propose and manage economic, commercial and financial operations blockades against the country and its institutions, demand, exalt and applaud the imposition of sanctions against the State of Nicaragua and its citizens, and injure the supreme interests of the nation.

The charges are based on the Law for the Defense of the Rights of the People to Independence, Sovereignty and Self-Determination for Peace ”approved by Parliament in December 2020, which prohibits Nicaraguans“ who lead or finance a coup, alter the constitutional order, incite foreign interference and promote terrorist acts ”.

The police statement did not detail specific instances for the accusations against Pallais.

The arrest warrant against Mario Arana, for its part, is also based on the accusation that he carries out acts that undermine independence, sovereignty and self-determination, incite foreign interference in internal affairs, request military interventions, etc. “.

This Wednesday, the United States announced sanctions against four officials of the Ortega regime, including his daughter, due to the arrest of the politicians.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and United Nations (UN) Secretary General António Guterres urged Ortega to release the detainees on Wednesday.

Reactions

The United States imposed sanctions on Wednesday against senior members of President Daniel Ortega’s regime, including his daughter, following government measures to detain senior opposition leaders ahead of the November general elections.

“The US Treasury Department is imposing sanctions on various members of the Ortega regime, who are complicit in the repression,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said Wednesday. “That includes its failure to implement the electoral reforms, requested by the Organization of American States and the UN Human Rights Council.”

The UN issued a statement urging the release of opponents in Nicaragua.

The president of the Superior Council of the Private Company of Nicaragua (Cosep), Michael Healy, said that “the State with these actions is plunging the country into a much deeper political crisis, with consequences that erode peace, social and economic stability that will affect the present and future of all Nicaraguans.” .

“As an organized private company, we demand once again the cessation of repression, siege, illegal raids, arbitrary detentions and that free and transparent elections be allowed, as established by the Inter-American Democratic Charter to which we are bound.”

Asunción Moreno, specialist in Constitutional Law and member of the Civic Alliance for Justice and Democracy of Nicaragua, said in the country they are “experiencing a serious humanitarian and human rights crisis, in which a series of rights have been deprived, in the one that the escalation has risen to the point that today we have four presidential candidates deprived of liberty, we have three opposition leaders, deprived of liberty, who have been detained in an arbitrary and illegal manner.

With information from Fernando del Rincón, Marlon Sorto, Mario Medrano, Gerardo Lemos, Stefano Pozzebon, Abel Alvarado and Kiarinna Parisi.