The OAS condemns harassment of the Catholic Church and persecution of the press in Nicaragua

The OAS condemns harassment of the Catholic Church and persecution of the press in Nicaragua

At least 27 member countries of the Organization of American States (OAS) condemned this Friday through a resolution the massive closure of NGOs in Nicaragua, as well as the harassment and restrictions on religious organizations and voices critical of President Daniel Ortega.

Through an extraordinary session requested by several permanent missions, including the United States, the resolution was voted, which also reiterates to the Sandinista Daniel Ortega that he release all political prisoners and cease the persecution and intimidation of the independent press.

In the session there was only one vote against, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, an ally of Ortega.

Two countries were absent from the session: Colombia, which recently reestablished diplomatic relations with the Ortega administration, and Nicaragua, which requested its departure from the organization in November 2021.

El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico and Bolivia also abstained from voting.

“Journalism in Nicaragua is practically a crime,” says Canada

After the vote, some countries referred to the crisis that Nicaragua is experiencing. The interim representative of the United States in the OAS, Bradley A. Freden, pointed out that the Ortega government “instead of freeing political prisoners” continues to harass its citizens.

“This regime continues to show where its priorities are, silencing civil society, and I want to be clear on that: the United States supports the people of Nicaragua who seek peaceful change with all the tools we have at our disposal,” said Freden.

The diplomat also condemned the sentences against political prisoners, including that of two Nicaraguan priests.

Freden denounced that Ortega and his wife, Vice President Rosario Murillo, have intensified the repression in Nicaragua during the last two weeks, threatening the religious faith of its citizens.

The Canadian ambassador, Hugh Adsett, said that “it is practically a crime” to practice journalism in Nicaragua, and mentioned that in 2022 the world press freedom index placed Nicaragua at one of the lowest points.

Freden recalled that although Nicaragua asked to leave the organization, its commitment is still valid and would come into force until November of this year.

“We hold the Ortega government responsible for human rights violations and we demand the release of political prisoners. Canada upholds its commitment to support Nicaragua,” he said.

Ecuador’s ambassador, Manuel Montalvo Samaniego, told the member states that “one cannot remain silent or indolence,” nor “normalize” what is happening in Nicaragua, and called for denouncing the political crisis in the Central American country.

“Failure to do so would disappoint the hopes of nations,” he stressed.

Costa Rica’s permanent representative to the OAS, Alejandra Solano, made “a call for the release of political prisoners, as well as the dismissal and intimidation of the independent press.” Costa Rica is the one that shelters most of the Nicaraguan journalists who went into exile due to threats from the government.

Finally, the Secretary General of the OAS, Luis Almagro, indicated that he recognized the commitment of the Permanent Council of the organization “with the return of democracy in Nicaragua with its people and in condemning the human rights violations of the regime against the people.”

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