Nicaragua reiterates rejection of ratified US ambassador

The Nicaraguan government reiterated on Friday its “absolute rejection” of the ambassador appointed by the United States, Hugo Rodríguez, whose appointment was ratified by the Senate in Washington, and warned that it will not allow him to enter the country “under any circumstances.”

In an official note, the Nicaraguan Foreign Ministry described Rodríguez as a “distinguished and disrespectful interventionist” and said that the diplomat was “offensively accredited”, despite the fact that the government of Daniel Ortega had withdrawn his approval in July.

Rodríguez’s rejection comes after the diplomat gave public statements questioning the Ortega government before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, where he called for a return to democracy and an end to human rights violations.

The vice president and wife of Ortega, Rosario Murillo, read the government note through official radio, and reiterated that “Mr. Hugo Rodríguez will not be admitted under any circumstances” in Nicaragua. “Hugo Rodríguez does not enter here,” she stressed.

In the diplomatic note, the Foreign Ministry reiterated its position “of rejection, of non-acceptance, of the nomination of Mr. Hugo Rodríguez, a distinguished interventionist, disrespectful and not at all a diplomatic official, offensively accredited” by the United States.

“Mr. Hugo Rodríguez, and we say it emphatically, will not be, under any circumstances, admitted to our Free Nicaragua,” the text said after accusing Washington of “interference” and “imperialist action.”

Hugo Rodríguez, a diplomat who works in the State Department’s office for Latin America and the Caribbean, was proposed by President Joe Biden in May to replace the current ambassador in Managua, Kevin Sullivan.

Two months later, when appearing at the confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Rodríguez announced that he would work to “press for the return to democracy, respect for human rights, and the freedom of political prisoners in Nicaragua.” .

On that occasion, he said that in the 2021 elections “Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo deprived Nicaraguans of any real option”, and criticized the closure of “civic spaces at an alarming rate”, expressed in the closure of some 2,000 NGOs, universities and other nonprofit organizations operating in the country.

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The Nicaraguan Foreign Ministry, just like now, called those statements “interfering and disrespectful.”

According to Murillo, the ambassador nominated by Biden is “not at all diplomatic” and the Sandinista government “does not accept him with those interventionist speeches about our blessed Nicaragua.”

Last week, the Undersecretary of State for Western Hemisphere affairs, Brian Nichols, said that the United States had asked Ortega “to have talks, to accept our new ambassador (and) we can follow a path of dialogue,” after publicly requesting the release of political prisoners.

Ortega also referred to Rodríguez’s case on Friday during an official act in the afternoon, and said that his statements in July were an “insult and disrespect”, as if “William Walker came again to take over Nicaragua”, in allusion to the American filibuster who invaded the Central American country in 1956.

“So we immediately said: get out, get out, stay out, and let him keep shouting whatever he wants!” he added.

The president also attacked the Dutch ambassador to Nicaragua, whose government suspended the construction of a hospital on the Caribbean coast in 2018. “We do not want relations with that interventionist government,” Ortega said without further details.

The rejection of Rodríguez occurs two days after learning of the expulsion of the European Union ambassador to Nicaragua, Bettina Muscheidt, confirmed by diplomatic sources but not by the Nicaraguan government.

Nicaragua and the United States have maintained tense diplomatic relations since 2018, when a social revolt broke out that was violently repressed by the police and paramilitaries, with a balance of 355 dead, 2,000 injured and more than 100,000 exiled, according to human rights organizations.

Ortega accused Washington of financing a failed coup against him and sent more than 200 dissidents to prison, according to recent opposition figures, of which more than fifty are political and student leaders, businessmen, journalists and seven former presidential hopefuls imprisoned in 2021.

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