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Nicaragua disregards OAS and continues with wave of arrests, including a banker

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Nicaraguan authorities detained a banker as part of the wave of arrests unleashed against several opposition political leaders, including four presidential aspirants, accused under a law that classifies them as “traitors of the homeland”, despite which they sent signals on Wednesday of wanting a dialogue with the United States.

The latest learned was the executive president of Nicaragua’s Banco de la Producción (Banpro), Luis Rivas, arrested hours after 26 of the 34 countries that make up the Organization of American States (OAS) demanded President Daniel Ortega the “immediate” release of “all political prisoners”, among them the presidential aspirants who have been arrested so far this month.

executive president of Nicaragua's Banco de la Producción (Banpro), Luis Rivas,
Executive president of Nicaragua’s Banco de la Producción (Banpro), Luis Rivas. (Photo internet reproduction)

IS ORTEGA SEEKING A DIALOGUE WITH THE U.S.?

Nevertheless, the Sandinista Executive has sent a couple of signals this week in which he apparently seeks an agreement with the United States, a country that has imposed sanctions that have affected close to 30 companies, officials and relatives of Ortega, among them his wife, Vice President Rosario Murillo; four of his children; his father-in-law and director of the Police, Francisco Díaz; the head of the Army, Julio César Avilés, and the head of the Parliament, Gustavo Porras.

“If a way out of the crisis had to be sought, it would be between Nicaragua and the United States”, proposed Italian journalist Fabrizio Casari, in an article disseminated by the Government.

“Thus, if the United States is concerned about its interests and the protection of its local agents (Nicaraguan opponents), it will have to renounce the promotion of terrorism and permanent destabilization, accepting a relationship based on mutual respect”, said the journalist in the article.

Meanwhile, William Grigsby Vado, a Sandinista ideologue and director of Radio La Primerísima assured today in his program that the arrests of opponents are part of “Operation Danto 2” aimed at forcing a negotiation with the United States.

The Ortega government has neither confirmed nor denied whether it is seeking an agreement with the U.S. However, it has repeatedly demanded the lifting of international sanctions, described as “unilateral, coercive and illegal measures”.

U.S. MAKES “MULTILATERAL EFFORTS”

The State Department’s special envoy for the Northern Triangle, Ricardo Zúniga, told last Friday to a group of media, that the U.S. is making multilateral efforts for the Ortega government to free opposition leaders, but also to guarantee free and credible elections in November.

He assured that they are focusing their multilateral efforts through the OAS, and that they are acting and using the tools that diplomacy allows them, for which they have the bipartisan support of the Congress, which put on the agenda next week the discussion of the Renacer Law, which would sanction Ortega’s circle.

The U.S. Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, highlighted on Wednesday the “overwhelming support” to the resolution approved by 26 countries in the OAS, and stated that “conditions do not exist” for “fair and free elections” in Nicaragua.

Blinken highlighted the “clear message” sent by the OAS “in support of the people of Nicaragua and their struggle for free and fair elections and respect for human rights”.

ARGENTINA AND MEXICO OFFER TO “COLLABORATE”

Argentina and Mexico, which abstained from voting on the resolution debated at the OAS, although they expressed their “concern” over the “detention of political figures of the opposition” in Nicaragua, pronounced themselves against intervening in the internal affairs of this country.

In a joint communiqué issued by the Argentine Foreign Ministry, both countries expressed their disagreement with the “pretension” of “imposing guidelines from outside or unduly prejudging the development of electoral processes” and thanked “the negotiating efforts of some member states”.

In addition, they made “a new call to reestablish the inter-American dialogue” and expressed their “full disposition to collaborate constructively”, convinced that this situation “will be overcome by the Nicaraguans themselves”.

The Nicaraguan police are holding under arrest opposition presidential hopefuls Cristiana Chamorro, Arturo Cruz, Félix Maradiaga and Juan Sebastián Chamorro García.

In addition, two former vice-chancellors, two historic dissident Sandinista ex-guerrillas, a former business leader, a banker, four activists, and two former collaborators of an NGO have been detained in the last two weeks under accusations of various crimes.

The arrests of opponents come five months before Nicaragua’s general elections, to be held on November 7, in which Ortega, in power since 2007, is seeking new reelection.

 

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