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Archive for Nicaragua

Newsline: Vatican closes embassy in Nicaragua

The Vatican said Saturday it had closed its embassy in Nicaragua after the country’s government proposed suspending diplomatic relations, the latest episode in a yearslong crackdown on the Catholic Church by the administration of Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega. The Vatican’s representative to Managua, Monsignor Marcel Diouf, also left the country Friday, bound for Costa Rica, a Vatican official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. (https://www.stamfordadvocate.com/news/politics/article/vatican-closes-embassy-in-nicaragua-after-17847042.php) The Vatican action came a week after the Nicaraguan government proposed suspending relations with the Holy See, and a year after Nicaragua forced the papal ambassador at the time to leave.

Newsline: Nicaragua closes embassy to Vatican and Vatican embassy in Managua

Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega has ordered the closure of the Vatican Embassy in Managua and that of the Nicaraguan Embassy to the Vatican in Rome, a senior Vatican source said on Sunday. (https://neuters.de/world/americas/nicaragua-closes-vatican-embassy-managua-nicaraguan-embassy-vatican-source-2023-03-12/) Nicaragua signalled that the move, which came a few days after Pope Francis compared the Nicaraguan government to a dictatorship, was “a suspension” of diplomatic relations. The Vatican source said that while the closures do not automatically mean a total break of relations between Managua and the Holy See, they are serious steps towards that possibility. Bishop Rolando Alvarez, a vocal critic of Ortega, was sentenced to more than 26 years in prison in Nicaragua last month on charges that included treason, undermining national integrity and spreading false news. Alvazez was convicted after he refused to leave the country along with 200 political prisoners released by Ortega’s government and sent to the United States. Alvarez refused to board the plane and was stripped of his citizenship. In an interview published last week with Latin American online news outlet Infobae ahead of Monday’s 10th anniversary of his pontificate, the pope pointed to Alvarez’s imprisonment and likened what was happening in Nicaragua to the “1917 Communist dictatorship or that of Hitler in 1935”. Staff in both embassies had been down to barebones for years with only a chargé d’affaires for the Vatican in Managua and almost no one for Nicaragua in Rome.

Newsline: U.S. senior diplomat urges release of jailed Nicaraguan bishop

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Brian Nichols on Monday put fresh pressure on Nicaragua to release an anti-government bishop condemned last week to a 26-year prison sentence. “We condemn the Nicaraguan government’s sentencing of Bishop Rolando Alvarez to 26 years in prison, as well as the decision to strip him and all released political prisoners of Nicaraguan citizenship,” Nichols wrote on Twitter. (https://neuters.de/world/americas/us-makes-fresh-call-jailed-nicaraguan-bishops-release-2023-02-14/) The sentencing of Rolando Alvarez, 56, Bishop of Matagalpa and one of the most influential leaders of the country’s Catholic Church, came after more than 200 political prisoners in Nicaragua were released and flown to the United States last Thursday in what Washington described as a “constructive step” toward improving human rights. Alvarez declined to be expelled to the United States as part of the mass release, however. The Nicaragua government handed down his prison sentence shortly after. The U.S. ambassador to Nicaragua Kevin Sullivan, who helped in the mission to transport the freed prisoners, returned on Monday to his post in the Central American country. The Nicaraguan government last week denied the mass release was done to lift U.S. sanctions or as part of a negotiation.

Newsline: Spain’s top diplomat offers freed Nicaraguans citizenship

The Spanish government offered citizenship to more than 200 Nicaraguan political prisoners who were freed and flown to the United States on Thursday, Spain’s top diplomat said on Friday. Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Albares made the announcement to Servimedia news agency, following the surprise release of 222 Nicaraguan prisoners later expelled to the United States. After their release, lawmakers loyal to authoritarian President Daniel Ortega voted to strip them of their Nicaraguan citizenship, which could thwart plans to return home someday. But since it requires a constitutional change, a second vote is needed, likely not until 2024. In the interview, Albares hailed Ortega’s decision to free his jailed critics, many of them prominent opposition politicians, journalists and religious figures. He added that Spain stood ready to receive others, noting that Madrid’s decision had been made “after news reports that proceedings had begun to declare them stateless.” (https://neuters.de/world/europe/spain-offers-citizenship-222-freed-nicaraguan-political-prisoners-2023-02-10/) Spanish authorities will reach out to the prisoners, who were allowed into the United States under a temporary humanitarian visa, so they can formally apply for citizenship. Several opposition presidential candidates were among the released political prisoners, including several who sought to challenge Ortega in a 2021 election only to be arrested and detained in an unprecedented dragnet and criminalizing of political dissent. Most international observers declared the 2021 vote a sham.

Newsline: EU pledges strong response to Nicaragua’s expulsion of ambassador

The European Union criticised Nicaragua’s decision to expel its ambassador and break relations with the Netherlands, the bloc’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said on Sunday. “The EU profoundly regrets and rejects this unjustified and unilateral decision,” Borrell said of the expulsion, also expressing “unwavering support” for the Netherlands. “These hostile, unwarranted actions” would not only effect relations between Nicaragua and EU but would lead to Managua’s further international isolation, said Borrell. The bloc will respond in a “firm and proportional manner”, he added. (https://www.digitaljournal.com/world/eu-to-respond-in-firm-way-to-nicaraguas-expulsion-of-ambassador/article) The European Union’s envoy, Bettina Muscheidt, left Nicaragua Saturday a day after the authorities there declared her persona non grata. Managua cut ties with the Dutch government on Friday evening, describing The Hague as “interventionist” and “neocolonialist” after its ambassador, Christine Pirenne, said her country would not fund the construction of a hospital.

Newsline: EU ambassador left Nicaragua

European Union Ambassador Bettina Muscheidt left Nicaragua on Saturday, just three days after being declared “persona non grata” by the government of President Daniel Ortega. Nicaraguan Foreign Minister Denis Moncada verbally notified Muscheidt that she should leave the country after the EU delegation demanded freedom for “political prisoners” at the United Nations General Assembly last week. Ortega’s government also announced on Friday that it was suspending diplomatic ties with the Netherlands. “The Netherlands regrets the disproportionate decision by Nicaragua to break off diplomatic relations,” Dutch Foreign Minister Wopke Hoekstra said via Twitter on Saturday. “We will discuss our next steps with the EU,” he added. (https://whtc.com/2022/10/01/eu-ambassador-leaves-nicaragua-in-week-of-diplomatic-tensions/) Nicaragua’s Vice President Rosario Murillo also announced this week that the Central American country would not accept the new U.S.-appointed ambassador Hugo Rodriguez as its representative in Managua. In March, Ortega’s government expelled the Vatican’s ambassador to Managua, Waldemar Sommertag.

Newsline: United States Condemns Nicaragua’s Threats Against U.S. Ambassador

In the context of the terrible arson attack against an historic shrine at the Managua Cathedral last Friday, the U.S. government is especially concerned about a death threat made against U.S. Ambassador to Nicaragua Kevin Sullivan on Facebook earlier this week by individuals associated with Nicaragua’s ruling party. (https://usoas.usmission.gov/united-states-condemns-nicaraguas-threats-against-the-church-and-u-s-ambassador/) Kevin is a friend of many present today – stemming from his tenure serving as Interim and Deputy Permanent Representative in the U.S. Mission to the OAS. Anyone who knows Kevin can attest to his commitment to respect, inclusive dialogue, and democratic values. The U.S. government finds it outrageous that the Government of Nicaragua has failed to condemn or even disavow this public threat against a senior diplomatic representative by one of its militants.

Newsline: Brazil recalls ambassador in Nicaragua after death of Brazilian

Brazil condemned the violence against anti-government protesters in Nicaragua and recalled its ambassador in Managua after the death of a Brazilian student. Raynéia Gabrielle Lima, a medical student at the American University in Managua, was killed by gunshots in unclear circumstances on Monday, a Brazilian foreign ministry statement said. “The Nicaraguan ambassador was called in to give an explanation and our ambassador has been recalled from Managua,” a ministry spokesperson said.


Newsline: U.S. ambassador to Nicaragua reports gunfire near her house

The U.S. Ambassador to Nicaragua said she’s heard gunfire at her Managua home amid violence throughout the country in recent days. Sunday, the Nicaraguan Center for Human Rights reported at least 14 people were killed in the cities of Diriamba, Jinotepe and Dolores in attacks carried out by pro-government paramilitaries against anti-government groups. Other reports have the weekend death toll up to 20.


Newsline: USA Shuts Down its Nicaragua Embassy

As Nicaragua slips deeper into violent chaos with the Ortega-Murillo government clinging to power amid massive protests, the US Embassy in Managua just closed its doors today, June 1st. An embassy statement said that the continuous unrest in all Nicaragua, including interruptions in traffic, has impacted the operations of the US Embassy, which will remain closed as of June 1, 2018 until further notice. Some limited consular services will still be attended to by phone, said the embassy. “The scheduled appointments for visa applications will be reprogrammed as soon as possible.” The statement advises US government personnel in Nicaragua to remain in their homes and avoid unnecessary travel in the capital, avoiding the main downtown roundabouts and areas around the universities.