Argentina now avoided signing a UN declaration demanding free elections in Nicaragua

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After calling the Argentine ambassador to Nicaragua for consultation, the government of Alberto Fernandez he came back to refrain from signing a joint declaration at the UN condemning the crimes against Human Rights perpetrated by the regime of Daniel Ortega and demanding free and fair elections.

Yesterday the Foreign Ministry seemed to have reversed its position on the situation in Nicaragua with the request for information that it requested from the ambassador in Managua, Daniel Capitanich. However, today Argentina avoided signing a UN declaration urging Ortega to stop harassing opponents since guarantee free elections.

In the declaration, the signatory countries expressed their concern about “the arbitrary dissolution of political parties and criminal proceedings “ against multiple rivals of Ortega, among other measures that will prevent “the holding of free and fair elections in Nicaragua this November.”

In America, the declaration was signed by Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Canada and the United States.

Last week, the government of Alberto Fernández abstained from condemning the violation of Human Rights in Nicaragua in a vote at the Organization of American States, which earned it strong criticism from the opposition.

In a statement, the Foreign Ministry expressed “its concern about events recently occurred in Nicaragua ”, especially“ due to the arrest of political opposition figures ”and justified its position on behalf of the“principle of non-intervention in internal affairs, so dear to our history ”.

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In addition, the communiqué expressed the “full disposition to collaborate constructively” and to reestablish the inter-American dialogue. “

About 20 opponents arrested, including five candidates

The Ortega government continued with its repressive policy and in the last hours detained former first lady María Fernanda Flores and journalist Miguel Mendoza. With these two arrests the number of detained opponents rises to 19, including five candidates for president.

To all of them a law approved by the ruling Congress that allows the prosecution of those who, in the opinion of the Government of Daniel Ortega, commit acts that “Undermine independence, sovereignty” and they incite “foreign interference.”

The last of the arrested candidates was the journalist Miguel Mora, the night before last. He was preceded by Cristiana Chamorro, Félix Maradiaga, Arturo Cruz and Juan Sebastián Chamorro, after a raid that began on June 2.

Cristiana is also being prosecuted for alleged money laundering from the foundation that she presided over and which was named after her mother, former president Violeta Barrios de Chamorro.

For his part, journalist Carlos Fernando Chamorro, Cristiana’s brother and director of media critical of the government, denounced on his social networks the police raid of his home last night.

Who is Daniel Ortega

Ortega, a former guerrilla who ruled from 1979 to 1990, returned to power in 2007 with the leftist Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) and remains there after two successive reelections. His opponents estimate that he will seek a fourth term in the November 7 elections.

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He was accused by the opposition and the international community of ruling in an authoritarian manner, after the brutal repression of demonstrations against his administration in 2018, which left more than 300 dead and thousands of exiles, according to human rights organizations.

Sandinismo assured that it will hold “free, fair and transparent” general elections and demanded “the non-interference of any foreign government” in the process.

HRW asks the UN for more pressure against the Ortega government

For its part, the NGO Human Rights Watch (HRW) urged the United Nations to “intensify pressure to protect rights and guarantee free elections” in Nicaragua.

In a report published on Tuesday, HRW denounced “a government strategy to eliminate political competition, stifle dissent and pave the way for the reelection of President Daniel Ortega for a fourth consecutive term ”.

During the year 2021, 46 people were victims of harassment and / or arbitrary arrests in Nicaragua, according to this report.

Likewise, HRW has pointed out that Nicaraguan human rights groups report that 124 people perceived as critical were still arbitrarily detained until June 2021.

“The severity and intensification of the brutal repression of the Ortega government against critics and members of the opposition in recent weeks requires redoubled international pressure”Said the director for the Americas of HRW, José Miguel Vivanco.

Here is the UN statement:

We share the High Commissioner’s concerns about Nicaragua, including the persistent impunity for human rights violations since April 2018 and the continuing reports of arbitrary detentions. The Government must guarantee the protection of human rights and hold those responsible to account.

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We urge the Government to stop the harassment of journalists and human rights defenders and to allow civil society organizations to operate in safe and supportive environments, without fear of reprisals.

We are concerned that the Government has not implemented significant electoral reforms before the May 2021 deadline of the Organization of American States, endorsed by this Council in March.

We are deeply concerned that recently enacted laws unduly restrict political participation, freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association. The arbitrary dissolution of political parties and criminal proceedings against multiple presidential contenders and dissidents are of particular concern. We ask for his immediate release.

These measures are likely to prevent the holding of free and fair elections in Nicaragua this November.

We urge Nicaragua to engage with the international community, avail itself of technical assistance, allow the presence of international electoral observers, and reestablish dialogue and renew confidence in democracy.

Nicaraguans deserve free and fair elections through a transparent and credible process, and a peaceful solution to the country’s socio-political crisis.

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