Ortega expels the representative of the Red Cross from Nicaragua

Ortega expels the representative of the Red Cross from Nicaragua

The Nicaraguan government expelled the representative of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Thomas Ess, from the country, as revealed on Thursday by a member of the humanitarian organization who said she did not know the reasons for such a measure.

“The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) confirms that it received a letter in which the Nicaraguan government notifies that it has decided to withdraw approval from our Nicaraguan head of mission. We do not know the reasons for this decision that took us by surprise, ”he told Associated Press María Cristina Rivera, spokesperson for the entity.

He added that despite this situation, “the ICRC ratifies its commitment to continue its humanitarian work in Nicaragua, adhering to its principles of neutrality, impartiality and independence.”

The withdrawal from the country of Thomas Ess adds to the recent expulsion of the Apostolic Nuncio in Managua, Monsignor Waldemar Sommertag, a decision that caused “surprise and pain” among the Vatican authorities. As in that case, the government of Daniel Ortega has not confirmed the expulsion of the CIRC delegate nor has it disclosed the reasons for that decision.

The news caused surprise in diplomatic media because just a few days ago, on March 13, the Ortega government awarded the order “José de Marcoleta” in the degree of “Grand Cross”, to the head of the ICRC regional delegation. for Mexico and Central America, Jordi Raich. When handing over the decoration, Nicaraguan Foreign Minister Denis Moncada highlighted that Raich maintained “a respectful collaboration” and “a vision of accompaniment to the priorities of the Nicaraguan government” for four years.

After social protests against Ortega In 2018, members of the ICRC in Nicaragua paid visits to imprisoned opponents to ensure their health and safety, although their efforts were always kept under permanent silence, a behavior that the institution applies internationally.

According to the Nicaraguan opposition, there are currently more than 170 “political prisoners” in the country’s prisons, including some 40 opposition leaders, journalists, businessmen, former diplomats and seven former presidential candidates arrested during the 2021 electoral campaign, after which Ortega was re-elected again.

In a statement, the Association of Relatives of Political Prisoners expressed its “condemnation” of Ess’s expulsion and highlighted the work that the ICRC and its delegate in Managua have carried out in support and accompaniment of prisoners of conscience and their families since 2018.

By expelling the representative of the International Red Cross, “the Ortega and Murillo regime has committed a new violation of human rights,” the document states.

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