Meeting on Friday, the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States (OAS) approved a resolution that condemns the occupation of its offices in Managua, which occurred on April 24, and demands that the Nicaraguan State restitute them.
The resolution, which was read by the representative of Antigua and Barbuda, Ambassador Ronald Michael Sanders, was supported by 29 of the 34 delegations, including: Canada, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, United States, Grenada, Uruguay, Costa Rica, Mexico and Argentina.
There were no votes against, but the delegations of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Honduras and El Salvador abstained. In addition, the representations of Bolivia and Nicaragua were absent.
The resolution deplores “the violation of the inviolability of the organization’s archives”, insists “that the immunity of its assets be fully respected while they remain in Nicaragua” and requires that the use of the premises seized by the Government of Nicaragua be restored.
“The Government of Nicaragua is responsible for all omissions in complying with its international legal obligations,” states the resolution and the OAS General Secretariat must communicate this to all international organizations with a presence in Nicaragua, as well as to the Secretary General. of the United Nations.
The special session was convened at the request of the missions of Antigua and Barbuda, Brazil, Canada, the United States and Grenada, said the chair of the OAS Permanent Council and representative of Saint Lucia, Ambassador Elizabeth Darius-Clarke, in her communication to the delegations.
The occupation of the OAS office in Nicaragua occurred on the afternoon of Sunday, April 24, minutes after Foreign Minister Denis Moncada informed the General Secretariat of the regional organization and Nicaraguan society that the Government of Daniel Ortega decided to “cancel and close” the OAS offices in Managua.
“Police forces then occupied the headquarters of the OAS, seizing its files, as well as all the existing material. Officials of the General Secretariat in Nicaragua can run serious risks,” said the OAS Secretary General, Luis Almagro, in a letter he sent to the Permanent Council on April 26.
Two days later, on April 28, the Ortega regime formalized the expropriation of the property rented by the OAS in Las Sierritas de Santo Domingo, in Managua, and forced the organization’s administrative staff to vacate the premises, which was declared “of public utility”. It will be used by the Nicaraguan Institute of Culture for the construction of a “Museum of Infamy”, informed VP Rosario Murillo.
International political analysts have pointed out that the occupation of the OAS headquarters in Managua is an unprecedented event in the history of the regional organization and constitutes “a flagrant violation of international law.” They note that it exposes the country to “profound repercussions” in its relationship with all member states of the regional body.
Meanwhile, in Nicaragua, the Political Council of the opposition Blue and White National Unity (UNAB), requested on May 11 —through a public letter addressed to Ambassador Darius-Clarke— for a meeting of OAS foreign ministers so that the countries can express their considerations about what happened.
The UNAB joins the “choir of voices”, inside and outside the OAS, that ask for a “severe and exemplary response” to the actions that occurred in Nicaragua. Therefore, “we would like to present, for your consideration and that of your colleagues on the Permanent Council, our assessment that the most appropriate response is to convene a Meeting of Consultation of Foreign Ministers, in accordance with article 61 of the OAS Charter”, reads the letter from the group.
In addition, “we believe that what we have seen in recent days in Nicaragua exceeds the seriousness of the circumstances that led to convening the XVII Meeting of Consultation in 2012, when the diplomatic delegation of Ecuador in London was threatened by the possible application of a national security law of the United Kingdom with the purpose of arresting Julián Assange… The principle of inviolability must be defended and complied with”, concluded the UNAB.
On April 27, the OAS Permanent Council urged member states to take urgent action in the face of the occupation of their offices in Managua, considering that the event sets a negative precedent in international relations. On that occasion, however, they did not take a vote or make a decision about what happened.
The Secretary General of the OAS, Luis Almagro, had claimed that “nothing can justify a disregard of the immunities and privileges enjoyed by the facilities, assets, and archives of an international organization.” He added that what happened in Managua “opens a precedent” that if tolerated could lead tomorrow “to the greatest outrages against any international organization or against any diplomatic headquarters.”
The representative of Antigua and Barbuda, Ambassador Ronald Michael Sanders, also pointed out that the confiscation of the OAS headquarters in Managua “is an assault, an attack, on each of our member states.” He said none of them should ignore this violation of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. “We must send a clear message to Nicaragua and to any other government, that we will not tolerate any action that weakens or destroys this tool of international relations.”
Canada’s representative, Ambassador Hugh Adsett, also stated that the Ortega regime continues to show “that it is not open to any discussion” and that his actions will affect relations with all OAS member states in the near future.
“It is essential that we treat this act as the legal and institutional abomination that it truly is and see that it reflects the regime’s rejection of the commitments made to this organization. The Ortega regime ignores the recommendations of this Council, defies its international commitments and, most importantly, denies human rights to the Nicaraguan people,” denounced US Ambassador Bradley A. Freden.
The storming of the OAS headquarters in Managua was widely repudiated by the permanent delegations, including Bolivia, Mexico and Argentina, which historically have not had a firm position regarding the Ortega regime.
This article was originally published in Spanish in Confidencial and translated by Havana Times
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