The Organization of American States, or OAS, resoundingly adopted a resolution expressing “alarm at the ongoing deterioration of the political and human rights situation in Nicaragua and at the Government of Nicaragua’s efforts to subvert the electoral process.”
The October 20 OAS resolution called for the immediate release of presidential candidates and political prisoners, urged the Nicaraguan government to implement electoral reforms to allow free and fair elections, and pledged “as necessary” to undertake further action in accordance with the OAS Charter and the Inter-American Democratic Charter, including an assessment of the November 7 elections in Nicaragua at the 51st regular session of the OAS General Assembly.
The OAS resolution comes after years of rights’ abuses by the regime of President Daniel Ortega and his wife, Vice-President Rosario Murillo. They have waged a campaign of repression against civil society, journalists, and political opponents. Hundreds of Nicaraguans have been imprisoned for political reasons; more than 100,000 others have fled the country. In August, the regime struck a major blow to any remaining hope for democratic elections by disqualifying the country’s main opposition party from running in the November 7 elections.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken applauded the OAS resolution, noting that it underscored the emphatic condemnation by member states of “President Ortega and Vice-President Murillo’s undemocratic electoral process and ongoing repression.”
Bradley Freden, U.S. Interim Permanent Representative to the OAS, said the resolution sent a “clear message to President Ortega and Vice President Murillo that their actions will not be tolerated by countries in the Americas.”
Sergio Ramirez, an acclaimed novelist now living in exile in Spain, is one of the leaders of Nicaragua’s Sandinista revolution who, along with Daniel Ortega, helped overthrow Anastasio Somoza’s dictatorship in 1979. In a recent interview with the Havana Times newspaper, Ramirez said, “[Ortega] could have gone down in history as a revolutionary leader, but he’s going to be judged as a tyrant . . . The ideological color doesn’t matter -- without a doubt, he’s a dictator.”
As U.S. Interim Permanent Representative Freden said, “Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo do not have the consent of the Nicaraguan people to turn Nicaragua into a one-party, family-run dictatorship.” The United States, he declared, “will continue to use all of our diplomatic and economic tools to hold accountable those who undermine the ability of Nicaraguans to freely choose their future.”