NicaNotes: Becoming More Sovereign

By Fabrizio Casari

(Fabrizio Casari is an Italian Journalist who has made multiple trips to Nicaragua since living there in the 1980s.)

Nicaraguan Foreign Minister Denis Moncada confirmed that Nicaragua was leaving the OAS and announced that it was withdrawing its ambassador to that organization.

Nicaragua ceased to be a member of the Organization of American States (OAS) with an announcement on November 21, 2021. And on April 24, in a firm communiqué, Managua announced that to implement the decision, the credentials of diplomats Orlando Tardencilla, Ivan Lara and Michel Campbell, who represented the Central American country in the OAS, had been withdrawn, and that Nicaragua “as of today ceases to be part of the deception of this monstrosity, [variously] called the Permanent Council, the Permanent Commission, the Conventions of the Americas.”

Managua then announced that since it is no longer present in any of the organization’s offices, there will be no need for the OAS headquarters in Managua. The existing one is being closed.

The decision to withdraw from a forum that, in defiance of all decency, continually meddles in Nicaragua’s internal affairs, despite the fact that it is not at all a forum for international jurisprudence, seemed as timely as it was unpostponable.

Colombia’s attempts to use the OAS to avoid compliance with the ruling of the International Court of Justice at The Hague (See NicaNotes Briefs) and the hostility shown in the convening of the next Summit of the Americas by the US while excluding Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela are some of the elements that pushed the Nicaraguan government to further accelerate the procedures already initiated for the abandonment of the pigsty that is the OAS.

The two years stipulated by the OAS statutes to make effective the decision to leave refer only to obligations of a financial nature with which Managua has always complied and to loans granted within the institution, but which do not have to do with Nicaragua, which, by the way, is among the members of the OAS with the best economic indexes.

Thus, with yesterday’s decision, Managua simply withdraws from a coven useless for peace and cooperation and which only serves for imperial political aggression combined with continental servitude. Nicaragua thus joins Venezuela and Cuba in abandoning and consequently ignoring the OAS as a political entity representing the Latin American continent.

Far from complying with its statutes, the OAS is in reality an instrument of aggression against the progressive and socialist countries of Latin America, a sort of Latin American office of the U.S. State Department, designed to directly involve member countries in the implementation of U.S. policy at the continental level. In yesterday’s communiqué, the Sandinista government recalls that “since Nicaragua is not anyone’s colony, its membership in the Ministry of Colonies, as Commander Fidel Castro rightly said, is meaningless.”

The confrontation between the OAS and the Nicaraguan government (which had already been going on for several years and was further aggravated after the US campaign against Nicaragua, Venezuela, Cuba, and Bolivia initiated by Trump and continued with Biden) had its repercussion in Nicaragua’s refusal to accept electoral observation [in November 2021] by the OAS, the US and the EU.

The decision not to invite the OAS as an electoral observer had several explanations, all of them very convincing. It was the result of a declared and manifestly preconceived and instrumental hostility, devoid of any substantive argument, which makes the Nicaraguan government the object of repeated and unjustifiable attacks from the point of view of the law and of the OAS statute itself. In any case, the OAS had already decided, even before the elections were held, that it would not recognize the result. So what would it have observed?

The growing interference of the body, which has transformed Nicaragua from a member country into a target of political attacks ordered by Washington, cannot be tolerated. The OAS, which has never made a secret of being on the side of the coup plotters, seemed increasingly convinced that it could exert political influence in the country, trying to set itself up as an unbeatable interlocutor at the legislative, regulatory and normative levels of the entire electoral process. This was a misappropriation of Nicaraguan national sovereignty that the Sandinista government would never have granted to anyone.

Since its foundation, the OAS has been an institution committed to supporting the U.S. system of control over the continent. In fact, there is not a single U.S. military aggression – direct or indirect – against Latin America as a whole that the OAS has not supported, and has even committed itself to giving it a kind of continental political-legal endorsement. More than a continental multilateral organization, the OAS continues to be the press office, the defense college and the political backdrop for the political-military pretentions of the United States over the whole of the Americas.

Luis Almagro as Secretary General has made the definitive leap from support of the U.S. initiatives to direct agent, from complementary troop to main protagonist of destabilization and coups, which have always represented the true face of the U.S. presence in Latin America.

Indicative of the new protagonism of Almagro’s leadership was the crusade against Venezuela, where he said that the option of a military intervention against Caracas could not be ruled out. The management of the Venezuelan dossier in collusion with Washington and the Venezuelan ultra-right, assisted on the ground by the Colombian narco-state, has failed by leaps and bounds. An example of this new role of direct intervention of the OAS was its role in the 2019 coup d’état in Bolivia, which snatched the legitimate victory from Evo Morales to hand over the government of the Andean nation to the pro-US Jeanine Áñez.

In the case of Nicaragua, the OAS’s role of political counterweight to the government has gradually manifested itself, with the timing of its statements dictated by the US, positioning itself in the role it has been assigned, that of supporting the [attempted] coup.

The identification with the reactionary latifundia by the OAS was exemplified by its taking on the role of political interlocutor with the Nicaraguan coup perpetrators, which took place through meetings that included many photos of the Secretary General in embraces with the coup leaders. Almagro should have refused the meetings, since the institutions and the government of each country are the interlocutor and the referent of the relationship with the OAS, not the opposition to it, a fortiori given the coup attempt.

Those images of Almagro with the coup leaders had a precise purpose: political support to the coup and the rejection of support for the Nicaraguan government. It formalized the transformation of the OAS from a multilateral organization, of which the Nicaraguan government was a member, into a political enemy. This was a betrayal of the internal loyalty of the organization and of its own role as guarantor of the internal constitutional order of each country, as established precisely in the treaty that created the OAS. Even more so when the action of the organization is linked to the defense of the constitutionality of each country.

Over the months Almagro’s position has become more radical, repeatedly proposing the discussion of Nicaragua in the OAS, which has thus lost any possibility of rehabilitating its image, now completely devoid of prestige and credibility.

As before with Venezuela, the relentless provocation against Nicaragua has turned the OAS into a broad version of the Lima Group. To even think of threatening the Sandinista government is a sign of historical ignorance rather than political incompetence. Sandinista Nicaragua, capable using its sovereignty and independence to resist the empire’s threats, certainly does not accept discussion with the local officials of the OAS. Without the OAS, Nicaragua is more than just itself. Without Nicaragua, the OAS is even less of what little it was.

By Nan McCurdy

Nicaragua Triumphs Against Colombia at International Court of Justice
On April 21 the International Court of Justice at The Hague (World Court) ruled in favor of Nicaragua and against Colombia in a case on “violations of Sovereign Rights and Maritime Spaces in the Caribbean Sea.” The ICJ ruled that Colombia violated its international obligation to respect Nicaragua’s jurisdiction over its rights to 200 nautical miles from the baselines of the Nicaraguan Caribbean Coast established by the court in 2012; and interfered with Nicaragua’s fishing and maritime research activities and Nicaraguan vessels and operations. The ruling states that “by interfering with the fishing activities and marine scientific research of vessels under the Nicaragua flag … and attempting to apply measures in the Exclusive Zone of Nicaragua, Colombia has violated the sovereign rights and jurisdiction of Nicaragua, for which the Republic of Colombia must immediately cease its conduct.” The ICJ also said that “Colombia has failed to establish that the inhabitants of the San Andres archipelago, especially the Raizales, enjoy artisanal fishing rights in the waters now located in Nicaragua’s exclusive economic zone.”  Likewise, the ICJ confirmed that Nicaragua has not violated any historical fishing rights of the Raizal population of the Archipelago of San Andres and Providencia and the Court recognized as positive the gesture of the Government of Nicaragua in expressing interest in bilaterally addressing the situation of the Raizal population of the Archipelago through an agreement. The ICJ ordered Colombia to cease its illegal conduct in all the aforementioned aspects and to reform its legislation in accordance with customary international law, in particular the provisions of Presidential Decree 1946 and its reforms, in such a way that the same do not cover areas belonging to Nicaragua nor do they arrogate powers incompatible with international law. Colombia’s president has already said he will not follow the ruling. This area which has been recognized twice as Nicaraguan waters is one of Colombia’s main cocaine routes north. (Nicaragua Sandino, 21 April 2022, Radio La Primerisima, 21 April 2022)

Nicaragua Expels the Organization of American States
In a statement released on April 21st, the Nicaraguan government announced the following:
The People and Government of Nicaragua have denounced and continue to denounce, the shameful state of one of the political Instruments of intervention and domination of the State Department of the Government of the United States, wrongly and falsely called the Organization of American States.

The People and Government of Nicaragua do not and will not recognize this instrument of colonial administration which does not represent at any time the sovereign union of our Latin and Caribbean America. On the contrary, it is an instrument of Yankee imperialism [set up] to violate rights and independence, sponsoring and promoting interventions and invasions, legitimizing coups in different formats and modalities with the aim, which they have not accomplished, of disintegrating through humiliation, submission and surrender, our national sovereignties.

We ratify our unwavering decision to leave the OAS, as expressed on 19th November, 2021, and confirmour irrevocable denunciation and resignation of this calamitous, truculent and lying dependency of the State Department of Yankee Imperialism. We also communicate that as of this date, we cease to form part of all the deceitful mechanisms of this monstrosity, be it the Permanent Council, Commissions, Meetings or Summit of the Americas.

We withdraw the credentials of our representatives, Comrades Orlando Tardencilla, Iván Lara and Michael Campbell. We will not have a presence in any of the instances of that diabolical Instrument of evil called the OAS. It is plagued by insults, offenses, indignities, calamities and aggressions that do not reflect at any time or circumstance, our national values and interests of honor, glory and victories. Consequently, neither will this infamous Organization have offices in our country. Its local headquarters has been closed.

Nicaragua is not a colony of anyone; therefore, it is not part of a Ministry of Colonies. By denouncing and renouncing this infernal mechanism, from which we withdraw immediately in absolute dignity, we confirm our respect, affection and recognition of Heroic Cuba and Venezuela and to the Peoples who bravely wage their struggles and who have accompanied us and continue to accompany us, in the battles that have been fought and are being fought, for justice, the rights of the peoples, sovereignty, dignity and peace.

We feel freed from the repeated insolence of the Yankee State Department employees who represent the Yankees, their servility, lackeyism, subservience, decrepitude and the decadence of a lackluster institutionality.

The Heroic People of this blessed and always free Nicaragua expel the disastrous Organization of American States; just as our General of Free Men and Women, Augusto Nicolás Sandino, defeated and expelled the Yankee Marines from this Free and Sovereign Motherland.

Managua, 24th April, 2022
Government of Reconciliation
and National Unity
Republic of Nicaragua

Mexico Proposes that Nicaragua be Present at Summit of the Americas
Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua must be present at the Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles, United States, according to the Foreign Minister of Mexico, Marcelo Ebrard, who asked that all the nations of the hemisphere be summoned. On April 26 Ebrard announced that Mexico will propose to Washington a new stage in relations towards Latin America. “We have been proposing for four years to the United States that they invest in Central America and frankly we are ahead of them and they have 21 times more resources than we do,” he said. Regarding the Los Angeles summit, he said that the President of Mexico will propose that the United States see the countries of the Americas as its allies to work in the same regional development effort. He said that he will ask for the beginning of a new stage for the United States where it is not just what we have experienced in the last decades, but a different position, more inclusive, more respectful, more concerned about investments in the region. (Prensa Latina, 27 April 2022)

MINSA Strategies Reduce Malaria Cases by 57%
Dr. Carlos Saenz, Secretary General of the Health Ministry, reported that Nicaragua has registered 3,700 cases of malaria so far in 2022, a 57% reduction compared to the same period in 2021, when more than 10,000 cases were registered. During the Sixth International Congress on Malaria, Saenz explained that the reduction is due to the strategies promoted through the Family and Community Health Model in which a series of actions were developed to reduce malaria. Saenz also mentioned that, as part of the actions, the authorities of Nicaragua, Honduras and Costa Rica signed a binational agreement within the framework of the Central American Community Law with the goal of carrying out cross-border coordination actions to eliminate malaria in these territories. (Radio La Primerisima, 25 April, 2022)

Nicaragua Best Place for Women Traveling Alone
A March article in the international tourism magazine Conde Nast Traveler titled “Eight destinations for female solo travelers, according to the pros” highlighted Granada as the best destination for women who travel alone stating that “Nicaragua, and Granada in particular is an exciting option for any tourist, but especially for women who want to travel alone and visit a cozy place that allows them to feel safe and at home in an off-the-beaten-path destination. Use Granada as your home base to explore volcanoes, extensive deserted beaches, colonial cities and a rich culture that allows the female tourist who travels alone to have an unforgettable experience.” (Nicaragua News, 20 April 2022)

Two New MRI Scanners Installed in the Military Hospital
The magnetic resonance imaging unit of the Dr. Alejandro Dávila Bolaños Military School Hospital in Managua is now equipped with two new state-of-the-art MRIs, the only hospital in Latin America with this installed capacity. Director Dr. Noel Vladimir Turcios, explained that these very expensive machines will allow doctors to perform ultra-fast scans on patients and will increase the capacity to respond to user demand, speeding up medical care processes with great diagnostic precision. This represents an investment of US$2 million. The Military Hospital is the largest one in Managua and attends to the general population and to pensioners. See photos: (Radio La Primerisima, 26 April 2022)

Municipalities Have Paved 1,600 Streets So Far in 2022
Some 1,600 streets have been paved by municipalities throughout the country so far this year, or 45% of the planned goal, said Iván Lacayo, executive director of INIFOM. The goal for this year is 3,500 streets, so significant progress is being made in this type of work to ensure the welfare of families mainly in the most remote areas. Lacayo said that in 2021 the municipalities paved more than 5,000 streets to continue improving infrastructure for a better quality of life of families. (Radio la Primerisima, 21 April 2022)

New Ometepe Road Finished
The Ministry of Transport will inaugurate the new three-kilometer road made out of Nicaraguan cement blocks, “Balgue-Punta Gorda,” on Ometepe Island. Its construction generated 60 jobs during three months and it contributes to the island’s tourism development, boosts banana production and benefits the area’s creative enterprises. (Editor’s note: Balgue is a very small village on Lake Nicaragua at the foot of Volcan Maderas, an important volcano for hikers and tourists, and one of two volcanos on the Ometepe Island. Many kinds of plantains are produced here and trucks leave all day and night taking them to large boats to then be sold all over the country. In 1995 I hiked this volcano with my husband and another couple. It was much harder than we expected and we didn’t make it back to the bottom until 8:00pm, two hours after dark. Everyone but me was injured. There was no transportation out. I hoppled a few blocks over to where I saw trucks loading up plantains and they agreed to take us. Once everyone else practically crawled the two blocks to the truck, the men loaded us on top of the plantains like sacks of potatoes. Our two small children were about 6 km away with friends, all very relieved when we arrived at 10:30pm! I highly recommend this hike and on the top of the volcano you can hike down to a lake and swim.) See photos: (Radio La Primerisima, 26 April 2022)

Organization Supports Health Ministry
The organization Global Health Partners has formed a productive partnership with Nicaragua’s Health Ministry to support that country’s public health system. In each of the past five years it provided, in cooperation with Nicaragua’s disaster relief agencies, innovative disaster preparedness modules containing food and medicines capable of sustaining 5,000 people for 30 days. These medical and survival supplies are pre-positioned in strategic locations throughout the country. If Nicaragua is not hit with a natural disaster in a given year, the Health Ministry releases these supplies to clinics and hospitals, particularly those serving children. GHP has sent tens of millions of dollars in medical shipments to Nicaragua in the last ten years. This year GHP has shipped more than $15.2 million in essential medicines and medical supplies to urban and rural hospitals and clinics. GHP supports actions to reduce maternal mortality working in the northern part of the department of Matagalpa supporting the training of community health workers. In 2011 veteran rural health professional Dorothea Granada started a grassroots initiative that identifies and monitors women with high-risk pregnancies to help ensure safe births. This Safe Motherhood Project became a national Ministry of Health initiative that has expanded into other areas.
(Global Health Partners website April 2022)

Legal Status Cancelled of 25 NGOs that Violated Laws
The National Assembly approved the cancellation of the legal status of 25 non-governmental organizations (NGOs), as they failed to comply with their obligations according to the laws established in the country. National Assembly president Dr. Gustavo Porras explained that in the specific case of the Nicaraguan Association of Engineers and Architects, its status as a non-profit organization was cancelled; however, it continues its function as a society registered before the MIFIC. It was announced that a special commission will be created to review the conditions of other NGO’s that merit this legal change. The legal status of Fundación COEN, Comisión Permanente de Derechos Humanos de Nicaragua (CPDH), Asociación José Dolores Estrada, Asociación para el Desarrollo Juvenil, Asociación Cívica por la Democracia, Asociación Nicaragüense de Ingenieros y Arquitectos, Fundación Centro de Comunicación y Educación Popular (CANTERA), Asociación Cultural (Tininiska), the Coordinadora Nicaragüense de Organismos No Gubernamentales que Trabajan con la Niñez y la Adolescencia (CODENI), Fundación para el Desarrollo Integral de la Mujer Indígena de Sutiaba, Asociación para el Desarrollo de Solentiname, Fundación Nicaragüense para la Promoción de la Democracia, Paz, y el Desarrollo de la Sociedad Civil, Asociación Civil de Productores de Caña de Azúcar de Rivas, Fundación Global Democracia y Desarrollo (FUNGLOBE) and Fundación Luisa Mercado (FUNLUM) lost their legal status. These organizations and associations violated laws 147, 977 and 1040, by not registering as foreign agents. If they receive donations from abroad the law requires them to register as a foreign agent and report where the money is from and how it is used. Some of the above organizations are actually in the wrong category because they are not non-profits, but profit-making. Those organizations will be allowed to reopen in a different category. (Radio La Primerisima, 22 April, 2022)