Brian Nichols

Brian Nichols: “The Ortega government has no interest in talking with the US”

The tense relations with the regimes of Nicaragua, Cuba and Venezuela and the migration crisis fueled by political repression in these countries are the issues that have dominated the agenda of the Undersecretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, brian nicholsduring his participation in the IX Summit of the Americas, which takes place this week in Los Angeles.

Nichols has spoken about these issues in various interviews and press appearances, in which he has revealed that the regime of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo shows no interest in having a dialogue with the United States, although the North American country remains willing to talk to seek agreements that allow a solution to the sociopolitical crisis in Nicaragua and that in “the next few days” new sanctions could be imposed against Ortega operators.

The senior official was first approached by Nicaraguan journalists Lucía Pineda from 100% Noticias and Uriel Velásquez from Despacho 505, upon leaving a forum with the media present at the Summit, in which he referred to the state of relations with the Ortega regime.

“It seems that the Government of Daniel Ortega has no interest in talking with us,” Nichols first responded to the journalists who approached him, and also referred to the issue of sanctions.

“Respect for human rights in Nicaragua is a very important priority for us and we are going to respond to the abuses of fundamental rights that have occurred with concrete steps that are going to affect the Ortega Murillo regime and you will see that in the coming days. ”, warned the Joe Biden Administration official.

Nichols also said that he could not comment on the situation of Yadira Leets Marín, ex-wife of Rafael Ortega Murilloson of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo, who is in the United States.

The former presidential daughter-in-law and former manager of DNP Petronic, Yadira Leets Marín, is in the United States with her two daughters, after leaving Panama, where they resided since the beginning of this year. Official sources in Panama confirmed to CONFIDENTIAL that Leets Marín and her two daughters, Ariana and Libia Ortega Leets, arrived in the canal country on separate flights between January and February 2022. Later, on May 9, they left together for Atlanta, United States.

Yadira Leets Marín was the first member of the Ortega Murillo family to be incorporated into the management of the family businesses that arose under the protection of the diversion of funds derived from the oil agreement with Venezuela, which reached 5 billion dollars between 2007 and 2016. , according to figures from the Central Bank.

“Significant rapprochements” with the regime

In an interview with the newspaper La Voz de América, Nichols referred to the openness that the Biden government maintains to talk with the regimes of Nicaragua, Cuba and Venezuela. The senior official mentioned that with the first two there have been “significant rapprochements” recently.

“The purpose of our talks is to promote democracy and respect for human rights. The purpose is to promote changes in its policies that give more space for the fundamental rights of people and open the way to democratic changes”, he pointed out to the Voice of America.

The prestigious American newspaper The New York Times revealed on May 5, 2022 that, last March, the regime of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillothrough his son Laureano Ortega Murillo, “quietly approached Washington” to seek dialogue, according to officials and diplomats familiar with the rapprochement, though the meeting never took place. After this attempt, no other type of approach has been publicly known.

“The border is closed,” warns Nichols

In an interview with the EFE agency, the official explained that his government is seeking agreements to curb migratory flows on the continent and is in contact with several countries to welcome refugees.

“The border is closed; don’t take risks” was the harsh message that Nichols sent to the largest caravan of migrants in recent years that transits through southern Mexico bound for the United States.

What specific agreements on immigration do you seek to close during this summit?

The summit addresses the most important issues for the population of the hemisphere: democracy, climate change, health, internet access and better job opportunities. That gives us the ability to give a better quality of life to people in their own countries.

In parallel, we are negotiating the Los Angeles Agreement for Migration and Protection, which implies an investment of resources in the countries that are fighting irregular immigration.

Have you talked to Canada and Spain to welcome refugees from the region?

There is a global migration crisis. We are talking with our partners around the world to promote opportunities to receive refugees and support populations at risk in their countries. It is a conversation that we have with a large number of countries and I hope to be able to announce concrete achievements during this week.

But have you discussed this with Canada and Spain?

That is what I said. We are talking to a significant number of countries in our hemisphere and in other parts of the world.

A caravan with 15,000 migrants has just departed from southern Mexico bound for the United States. It is the largest in recent years. What is your message to them?

The US border is not open. Entry to the United States depends on a legal reason to enter and what I tell these people is not to risk their lives on a long journey that will not result in entry to the United States.

You have not invited Cuba, Venezuela or Nicaragua to the summit. Is it possible to close a migratory agreement without the participation of these countries, which are emitters of migrants?

We held talks on the migration issue with the Cuban government this year. We have resumed visa issuance in Havana and have increased the amount of remittances that Americans can send to the island.

We are also in talks on the migration issue with the Nicaraguan government. It is something that can be dealt with in other ways, without their presence at an event that has a tradition focused on democracy.

How is the relationship with Mexico after President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has ruled out his assistance?

We have a very dynamic relationship with Mexico. We are happy to receive Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard and President López Obrador will go to the White House next month. We have contacts with Mexicans in the Government, in civil society, in the private sector and there is a wide representation in this event.

Have they invited the Venezuelan Juan Guaidó?

The president of the interim government that we recognize (Guaidó) is not invited to the summit, but some Venezuelan members of the interim government will participate in some events around the summit.

The president, Joe Biden, will speak with Juan Guaidó soon. We will always maintain our support for the negotiation process between the Unitary Platform and the regime of Nicolás Maduro.

So, will Biden call Guaidó?

If at any time.

*With information from EFE

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