Mexico and Argentina do not support OAS resolution demanding release of political prisoners in Nicaragua

The Organisation of American States (OAS) insisted on the need for the immediate release of presidential candidates for "free and fair" elections in Nicaragua; the abstention of these countries has generated international criticism
President Daniel Ortega during the 41st anniversary of the Sandinista Revolution.

AFP PHOTO/PRESIDENCIA NICARAGUA/CESAR PEREZ  -   President Daniel Ortega during the 41st anniversary of the Sandinista Revolution.

The delegations representing Mexico, Argentina and Bolivia did not show their support for the resolution proposed last Wednesday by the Organisation of American States (OAS), in which they demand "the immediate release" of the presidential candidates and political prisoners in Nicaragua, with a month to go before the holding of presidential elections in the country.

This request becomes the second resolution approved by the OAS in which it urges Nicaragua and its president Daniel Ortega to release the presidential candidates ahead of the elections on 7 November and raises the need for a reform of the electoral system. 

The organisation also expresses its "grave concern" over the lack of solutions to its previous warnings, which warned of the deterioration of political rights in the Central American nation. The final purpose of the resolutions is to guarantee the holding of "free, fair and transparent elections as soon as possible, under the observation of the OAS and other credible international observation".

Una manifestante sostiene un cartel que muestra al presidente nicaragüense Daniel Ortega y al expresidente Anastasio Somoza durante una protesta contra la violencia policial y el Gobierno del presidente Ortega en Managua, Nicaragua
PHOTO/REUTERS - A protester holds a sign showing Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega and former President Anastasio Somoza during a protest against police violence and President Ortega's government in Managua, Nicaragua.

The resolution proposed by the OAS, among its 34 member countries, ended with 26 votes in favour and 7 abstentions, with the Permanent Council of the organisation approving the proposal, without the support of Argentina, Bolivia, Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Barbados.

The abstention of these countries has generated international criticism, in response to which their representatives have justified their decision. Mexico and Argentina agree on their reasons, referring to the principle of non-intervention in the internal affairs of other states and the defence of dialogue.

Carlos Raimundi, Argentina's ambassador to the OAS, justified that "although we may agree with some parts of the text, we do not consider it appropriate to accompany this declaration, we consider it inappropriate and extemporaneous for similar reasons to those we issued in the communiqué with Mexico on 15 June".

El presidente de México, Andrés Manuel López Obrador
REUTERS/EDGARD GARRIDO - Mexico's President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador
International criticism

International organisations have singled out the seven countries that did not support the OAS resolution. Erika Guevara-Rosas, America’s director of Amnesty International, called it "shameful that seven states, including Mexico and Argentina, abstained from voting for the OAS resolution condemning the grave crisis in Nicaragua", and called on the Ortega regime to "release presidential hopefuls and dozens more imprisoned for exercising human rights", as the Amnesty International director noted via Twitter.

For his part, José Miguel Vivanco, executive director for the Americas of the NGO Human Rights Watch (HRW), pointed out that the rule of law was disappearing in Central American nations and regretted that "Argentina has not supported the OAS resolution against repression in Nicaragua". "During its democratic history, Argentina has normally had a clear position in defence of human rights. The zigzagging foreign policy of the current government is worrying", Vivanco added on Twitter.

Simpatizantes de Nicaragua protestan frente a la Casa Blanca pidiendo la liberación de los presos políticos y el cese de las violaciones de los derechos humanos del Gobierno contra los críticos
AP/JOSE LUIS MAGANA - Supporters of Nicaragua protest outside the White House calling for the release of political prisoners and an end to the government's human rights violations against critics.

Ortega's Sandinista government is experiencing increasing international pressure on its management of Nicaragua. Last September, the European Union imposed sanctions on Nicaraguan Vice President Rosario Murillo and seven other officials for human rights violations and undermining democracy. The United States also issued measures against officials and close associates of the Ortega government.

On 7 November, the Nicaraguan regime will hold general elections, in which, for the moment, the only candidate allowed to stand is the current president, Daniel Ortega, who has paved the way for his re-election by imprisoning and discrediting politicians, activists and informers who oppose the Sandinista government.

Latin America Coordinator: José Antonio Sierra