Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo will take the presidential oath on Monday afternoon alone. Not only has the international community rejected the election in which they were elected without competition in November 2021, after arresting all their contenders, but this morning the United States and Canada applied joint sanctions against officials of the Sandinista regime. It is a coordinated action in response to the perpetuation in power of the presidential couple, which will also be joined by Canada and the United Kingdom, according to diplomatic sources consulted by EL PAÍS.
The European Union was the first to stand out with the expansion of sanctions against seven more officials (among them the children of the presidential couple Camila and Laureano Ortega Murillo), and three key institutions in the repressive scheme of Sandinismo: the National Police, the Council Electoral Supreme Court and the Nicaraguan Institute of Telecommunications and Postal Services (TELCOR), the entity in charge of a trolley farm to generate information, as revealed by a journalistic investigation in June 2021. It is the first time that the European Union has sanctioned institutions.
Subsequently, the United States put the hard note by sanctioning six more people, especially three generals of the Nicaraguan Army, an institution that has always claimed that it remains outside of political repression, although many human rights organizations point it out as complicity and inaction in the face of the disarmament of paramilitary groups that operate outside the Constitution. Later, the United States also announced that it was canceling visas for 116 people “complicit in undermining democracy in Nicaragua,” including mayors, prosecutors, university administrators, and police, prison, and military officials.
The three Army generals sanctioned are Bayardo Ramón Rodríguez Ruiz (Chief of General Staff), Bayardo de Jesús Pulido Ortiz (Brigadier General), and Ramón Humberto Calderón Vindell (former Inspector General). The three soldiers are directors of the Instituto de Previsión Social Militar (IPSM), the public investment fund of the Nicaraguan Army and in which the big military businesses are concentrated. The IPSM is one of the investment groups with the highest profitability in Nicaragua. According to military sources, the sanction hits the first line of command, the chief of staff, who in theory is the eventual successor of the military chief Julio César Avilés, the general inspector and the personnel and cadre inspector.
“It is a fairly direct message to the Army,” Elvira Cuadra, a sociologist and security expert, tells EL PAÍS, referring to the fact that the military is considered a key factor of stability for Ortega. “What is clear is that international isolation, compared to that of the eighties, during the Sandinista revolution, is greater. It is that in the eighties there were European governments that maintained relations and recognition of the Government. Not now, ”he added.
For its part, the United States Department of the Treasury argued its sanctions by saying that with the “fraudulent national elections” in November they consolidate “even more their control of power to the detriment of the Nicaraguan people.” “The United States and our partners are sending a clear message to President Ortega, Vice President Murillo, and their inner circle that we continue to support the Nicaraguan people in their calls for the immediate release of these political prisoners and a return to democracy,” he said. Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian E. Nelson.
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López Obrador stumbles
Although Vice President Murillo said that some 300 people from different delegations will accompany them in the protest, so far in Managua only the usual ally has landed: the president of Cuba, Miguel Díaz-Canel. The arrival of Nicolás Maduro, the Venezuelan president, is scheduled. Bolivia will send the Vice Minister of Foreign Relations, Erwin Mamani. Argentina and Mexico said at the time that they would send delegations, but first the southern country retracted and the government of Andrés López Obrador has entered a spiral of contradictions.
Rosario Murillo first announced that the Mexican Foreign Minister, Marcelo Ebrard, would accompany them. This Sunday, sources from the Mexican Foreign Ministry assured that they would send Martín Borrego Llorente, general director for Latin America of the Ministry of Foreign Relations. However, in a surprise twist in the hours of Sunday night, they retracted, saying that no official would go to Managua. The first information generated criticism and controversy because the Mexican government provided support to one of the regimes that violates the most human rights in the region.
However, in López Obrador’s morning conference he changed the official version again by saying that his country would send Ramiro Ayala, head of the Foreign Ministry at the Mexican embassy in Nicaragua. “At once I am going to say it, he is the business manager, because we do not have an ambassador, but we are going to ask for approval,” said the Mexican president, who was quick to say that they maintain good relations with all the countries of the region. .
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George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.