European Parliament calls for more sanctions against Daniel Ortega

The European Parliament approved on Thursday by a large majority a resolution that ignores the reelection of Sandinista president Daniel Ortega in what he called the “electoral farce” of November 7 in Nicaragua and called on the European Union (EU) for new sanctions against his government. whom he accuses of committing acts of corruption.

The European Parliament said in a resolution that this election “violates all international democratic parameters of credible, inclusive, fair and transparent elections.” Furthermore, “it rejects the legitimacy of the results of these false elections and, therefore, the democratic legitimacy of any institutional authority that arises from these rigged elections.”

The resolution, which had been widely discussed last Tuesday, was approved with 619 votes in favor, 25 against and 41 abstentions, in a session attended by 685 of the 705 members of the European Parliament.

Ortega was re-elected with more than 75% of the votes in elections without recognized local or international observers and after having imprisoned seven of his main political rivals, who remain imprisoned along with more than 170 opponents, according to opposition figures.

The resolution mentions the sanctions applied by the EU against some 14 officials and close associates of the Sandinista president, including the first lady and vice president Rosario Murillo, and asked the bloc “that Daniel Ortega be added to the list of sanctioned persons as soon as possible.” .

Some thirty members of the Nicaraguan government have also been sanctioned by the United States, Great Britain and Canada, including several children of the presidential couple. The measure was applied as a result of the 2018 social protests that were strongly repressed by the police and paramilitaries.

International organizations have accused the Sandinista government of violating human rights and committing crimes against humanity against civilian opponents. Ortega and his officials deny this and claim that the government was the victim of a “failed coup” supported by the United States.

“Daniel Ortega has become the caricature of the Caribbean dictator, he has become the mirror of the dictator he fought against,” said the EU’s high representative for Foreign Affairs, Josep Borrell, during the debates on Tuesday. He added that “both he and Vice President Rosario Murillo have illegitimately seized power in Nicaragua to promote their personal interests.”

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For his part, the Spanish deputy José Ramón Bauzá asked “to freeze the disbursements that reach the Nicaraguan regime.” “Ortega is a criminal and as such he should be treated, and we must hit him where it hurts the most: in his pocket and in that of all his front men who are also here in Europe.”

After accusing the Ortega government of acts of “corruption”, the resolution of the European Parliament urges the EU to “supervise” the funds allocated by countries of the bloc to Nicaragua. While it asks the EU to “maintain its humanitarian aid to support the most vulnerable” in Nicaragua, it advocates at the same time that the member states “supervise the European funds allocated, also through multilateral and financial institutions, to ensure that they do not contribute to reinforcing the corruption of the regime ”.

The deputies also asked to activate the democratic clause of the Association Agreement (AdA) between the EU and Central America, which would allow Nicaragua to be excluded from the trade agreement in force since the last decade. “In accordance with the Association Agreement between the EU and Central America, Nicaragua must respect and consolidate the principles of the rule of law, democracy and human rights,” they said.

Nicaragua has been experiencing a serious political crisis since April 2018, when the social revolt against the government broke out. According to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), the violent police action left 355 dead, more than 2,000 injured, 1,600 detained at different times, and 103,000 exiles and refugees, mostly in Costa Rica. The government only recognizes 200 deaths.

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