The OAS faced with the dilemma of suspending Nicaragua or abstaining

The Organization of American States (OAS) rushes the cartridges of diplomacy against the Nicaragua of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo, debating between those who are impatient and ask to go from words to actions and those who choose to be cautious or even defend the government Nicaraguan.

The OAS has long called on Nicaragua to respect human rights and adopted two resolutions calling for the release of “political prisoners” and “free and fair” elections.

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On Sunday, November 7, Daniel Ortega won the elections for a fourth consecutive term after having removed opponents who could overshadow him: some are imprisoned and others have gone into exile.

Since the 2018 protests, which called for Ortega’s resignation and resulted in hundreds of deaths, the arrests have been taking place.

In the resolution approved last October, the body warned Ortega that in the general assembly, which opened this Wednesday, could take “other actions in accordance with the Charter of the Organization of American States and the Inter-American Democratic Charter”. But the regime did not step back and claimed the victory of the disputed elections, while still holding more than 150 political prisoners, including seven presidential candidates.

By “other actions” is understood an eventual suspension of the OAS.

The draft resolution promoted last Wednesday by eight countries (the United States, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, the Dominican Republic, Uruguay, and Antigua and Barbuda) asks the Permanent Council to make “an immediate collective evaluation (…) no later than November 30 and take appropriate action.” That is, it takes a step in that direction, but with a margin of maneuver.

An eventual suspension would not completely isolate Nicaragua at the international level “because the Ortega regime has the support of several countries that are not members of the OAS, which, presumably, will continue to provide diplomatic, economic, commercial and financial support,” he said. to AFP Luis Guillermo Solís, former president of Costa Rica and acting director of the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies.

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“It remains to be seen,” he adds, “the attitude that some countries will assume when voting, among which he mentioned Argentina, Brazil, El Salvador and Mexico.

Diplomatic failure?

The non-suspension of Nicaragua in the OAS “would be a failure of the international community,” said Joel Martínez, an analyst at the Center for American Progress.

If the OAS increases pressure on the Nicaraguan government, this would strengthen the efforts of the international community “not to recognize its new mandate and to announce and implement coercive measures,” he added.

Part of the international community, especially the European Union (EU) and the United States, considers that the Nicaraguan elections were a sham.

On the contrary, Russia, Cuba, Bolivia and Venezuela support Nicaragua, whose ambassador to the OAS, Arturo McFields Yescas, said that in his country “the vote was taken freely, free from pressure, free from blackmail, free from interference and free. of sanctions ».

In June, the Secretary General of the OAS, Luis Almagro, declared himself in favor of activating the mechanisms to apply Article 21 of the Inter-American Democratic Charter, under which a member state can be suspended if it breaks the democratic order and diplomacy is unsuccessful. This time, Almagro said that the decision is in the hands of the member countries of the body.

Also read: Ortega seeks “eternalization in power” with electoral “parody,” say delegates from Uruguay and Canada at the OAS

In the event that the suspension is decided, the country should continue to comply with its human rights obligations and the OAS would continue working to restore democracy in the suspended state.

Luis Guillermo Solís highlighted the difficulty of inducing a country to abide by its international obligations if it refuses “repeatedly, defiantly and stubbornly.”

That is why he considers it more effective for the negotiation to be carried out by apolitical humanitarian organizations, by a personality that is not linked to Nicaragua, such as a Nobel laureate or an artistic or sports figure, or even by someone who sympathizes with the cause of Ortega and precisely therefore it has a certain “convening power.”

In any case, the OAS faces a diplomatic headache of uncertain outcome.

Nicaragua on the agenda

This Thursday, the issue of the Situation in Nicaragua was officially approved for discussion at the OAS General Assembly, which concludes this Friday.

In advance, eight countries, including the United States, presented a draft resolution in which it is proposed to declare that the November 7 elections “were not free, fair or transparent and do not have democratic legitimacy” and instructs the Permanent Council of the organization to immediately evaluate, within a period until November 30, the situation in Nicaragua, based on the Charter of the OAS and the Inter-American Democratic Charter, in order to “take appropriate action.”

This Thursday, the eight countries that proposed that draft resolution of condemnation defended it, but others urged not to meddle in internal affairs. The draft resolution was promoted by the United States, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, the Dominican Republic, Uruguay, and Antigua and Barbuda.

The Secretary of the United States Department of State, Antony Blinken, said that they support the resolution that condemns the Ortega government in the OAS General Assembly. “In the recent elections in Nicaragua, the Ortega government prevented some leaders of the opposition parties and civil society from participating, we have supported a resolution that condemns the Ortega government in this General Assembly,” Blinken said.

He said that the Inter-American Democratic Charter describes the consequences for the governments of the region that affect people’s human rights, “we have to respect this Charter.”

Discussion will follow

The draft resolution, which the OAS can adopt by a simple majority of 18 votes in this general assembly, does not openly imply the activation of Article 21 of the Inter-American Democratic Charter, but could lead to its activation based on the conclusions of “the evaluation collective ».

Costa Rica was one of the most combative countries among the states that have already intervened in the deliberations that are taking place virtually. The session will continue this Friday, when the general assembly closes and the draft resolution could be adopted.

“It is not worth ignoring” the Democratic Charter, “it is not worth ignoring it,” said the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Costa Rica, Rodolfo Solano, who, however, called on the OAS to “promote, among all parts of Nicaragua, the dialogue”.

When it was his turn, the representative of Nicaragua, Michael Campbell, elaborated a little more.

“Nicaragua, Mr. President, deserves respect, not sanctions or threats, not blockades or bellicose attitudes,” said Campbell, who affirmed that the elections took place “amid economic, media and organizational interventions and in the face of cruel threats and destabilizing actions.” .

Among the countries that argued that the OAS intervenes in the internal affairs of Nicaragua were Mexico and Argentina.

“Every State has the right to choose its political, economic and social system without external interference (…) and the duty not to intervene in the affairs of other States,” said Argentina, which also does not consider “the use of sanctions” valid.

For Mexico, the OAS fails to fulfill the purposes for which it was created.

Mexico said that it “categorically rejects (…) any attempt to disturb the constitutional order in any country from abroad and does not accept that under this argument the OAS assumes that it has supranational powers or with instruments to intervene in the internal affairs of our States.”

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