US Senate confirms Hugo Rodríguez as the new ambassador to Nicaragua

US Senate confirms Hugo Rodríguez as the new ambassador to Nicaragua

The United States Senate confirmed Hugo F. Rodríguez as the new ambassador to Nicaragua on Thursday, September 29, in defiance of the Daniel Ortega regime, which publicly rejected him at the end of last July under accusations of interference.

According to the official website of the Capitol, the decision was made by “voice vote” in a hearing in which the senators confirmed equal to the representatives of the United States in Belize, Kyrgyzstan and Panama: Michelle Kwan, Lesslie Viguerie and Mari Carmen Aponte, respectively.

The decision of the US legislators occurs at a time of tension in diplomatic relations between the two countries, exacerbated by Ortega’s position that without evidence accuses the United States of financing a coup in 2018 to avoid responding to human rights violations. , while keeping 205 political prisoners in solitary confinement and subjected to cruel treatment.

On September 28, Ortega attacked the undersecretary for the Western Hemisphere, Brian Nichols, who has demanded the freedom of prisoners of conscience, and described him at the 43rd anniversary of the Police as a “bulldog dog.”

“They have made him bark. He barks against Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua, that is what they have put the poor black man in, —as if he was well chosen— he has the face of a bulldog, barking,” said Ortega, together with the chiefs of the Police and the Army, First Commissioner Francisco Diaz and General Julio Cesar Aviles.

Read: Ortega attacks the president of Chile for demanding the release of political prisoners

According to the Nicaraguan political scientist Manuel Orozcoof the Inter-American Dialogue in Washington, the confirmation is part of the legal and protocol process to locate the representatives of the United States in the world, and what is theoretically expected from the receiving State is a note of agreement or plácet.

Former deputy Eliseo Núñez adds that with the confirmation of the Senate, a procedure is being fulfilled, with which to justify any subsequent action in reaction to what the dictatorship is doing to the ambassador, and explains that, once confirmed by the Senate, Rodríguez not only he is already Biden’s candidate, “but of the State” as a whole.

At the end of last July, when Rodríguez—then nominated by President Joseph Biden—went to the Senate for a hearing precisely on his confirmation, Foreign Minister Denis Moncada Colindres ad that “the approval granted was withdrawn”, after describing the diplomat’s statements as “interfering and disrespectful”.

Rodríguez then said that he promised to work with Congress, inter-institutional colleagues, and international partners to press for “the return to democracy, respect for human rights, and the freedom of political prisoners in Nicaragua,” which caused annoyance. of the Ortega dictatorship.

“There is really no hope that Ortega is going to accept this ambassador,” Nunez added.

Orozco: “Talibanized Regime”

“Although Nicaragua has not formally denied Rodríguez the plácet, it has created uncertainty every time that it had informally declared it unacceptable, and informally declared non grata to the representation of the European Union. All uncertainty is consistent with the Talibanization that the regime has plunged into Nicaragua, which includes repression, coercion and violence from within, criminalization of democracy and international isolation,” Orozco added.

Orozco referred to the de facto expulsion of the Ambassador of the European Union, Bettina Muscheidt, the one that was communicated verbally on Wednesday, September 28 and that will be effective next Saturday, according to sources from the European Parliament.

If Ambassador Rodríguez is rejected, political scientist Orozco said that it is possible that the United States will apply a reciprocal measure against Nicaragua. However, he considered that it should be taken into account that the US diplomatic presence in Nicaragua is also important for the regime.

“Nicaragua has a strong commercial dependence on the United States, where 60% of exports to the United States come from the free zone of American companies. Not recognizing the ambassador will have an effect on the investment of the free zone”, explained Orozco.

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