Tuesday, January 25

Nicaragua: Ortega begins his 4th term in isolation and turns to China

T-shirts with the image of the President of Nicaragua Daniel Ortega and his wife and vice-president Rosario Murillo, in a store in Managua on January 10, 2022 Oswaldo RIVAS

Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega officially began his fourth consecutive term on Monday, when the United States and the European Union announced new sanctions against the isolated regime which is seeking support by turning to its new Chinese ally.

Mr. Ortega, 76, was sworn in alongside his wife Rosario Murillo, vice-president, during a ceremony which notably brought together Cuban presidents Miguel Diaz-Canel and Venezuelan Nicolas Maduro, and representatives from China, Russia , Iran, North Korea or Syria.

The US Treasury had earlier in the day announced sanctions against six senior officials, including the Minister of Defense, denouncing the “sham” of the November 7 election won by Daniel Ortega, in power since 2007. In November, financial sanctions had already been initiated against the Federal Prosecutor’s Office of Nicaragua and nine senior officials of the country.

“The Ortega-Murillo regime continues its enslavement of democracy by organizing a sham elections, silencing the peaceful opposition and detaining hundreds of people as political prisoners,” said the Under-Secretary of the Treasury in a statement American Terrorist and Financial Intelligence Officer, Brian Nelson.

– Opponents imprisoned –

To secure a fourth term for Daniel Ortega, the regime had taken care to eliminate all its main opponents one by one. More than 40 journalists and government critics were arrested between June and December 2021, including seven potential rivals at the polls.

The European Union for its part launched on Monday sanctions against seven new members of the Nicaraguan regime, including two of the couple’s children, citing “serious human rights violations” in the country.

“Restrictive measures now apply to a total of 21 people and three entities,” the national police, the Supreme Electoral Council and the Institute of Telecommunications, “used by the Nicaraguan authorities to silence independent media,” said the EU announced in a press release.

The EU had already sanctioned in August 2021 Rosario Murillo and one of their children, Juan Carlos Ortega, head of Canal 8, one of the main television channels in the country.

The Sandinista leader considered these sanctions to be “aggressions” against his country. He also accused the United States and the European Union of “interference” and “failure to respect sovereignty” and called last November for a process to withdraw the country from the OAS.

The former Marxist guerrilla of the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) sought support from China by severing diplomatic relations with Taiwan in early December.

Beijing considers the island to be a rebellious province which must eventually be reunified with the mainland, by force if necessary.

The reestablishment of relations with Beijing was accompanied by a donation of thousands of vaccines and, three weeks later, the opening of the Chinese embassy in Managua.

Mr. Ortega also strengthened his ties with Moscow, which provides the Central American country with cooperation ranging from wheat to virus vaccines, buses to renovate public transport, and a satellite station.

burs-lab / roc / nzg


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