The OAS Permanent Council approved on Tuesday, a resolution that “unequivocally condemns the arrest, harassment and arbitrary restriction imposed on potential presidential candidates, political parties and independent media outlets,” and demands “the immediate release of potential candidates and all political prisoners.”
A solid majority of 26 votes approved the resolution while only three voted against: Nicaragua, Bolivia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Mexico, Argentina, Belize, Dominica and Honduras abstained.
In recent weeks, the regime of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo jailed four presidential candidates—Cristiana Chamorro, Arturo Cruz, Juan Sebastián Chamorro and Félix Maradiaga—and nine opposition leaders: Jose Adan Aguerri, Violeta Granera, Jose Pallais, Tamara Davila, Ana Margarita Vijil, Dora María Tellez, Suyen Barahona, Hugo Torres and Victor Hugo Tinoco.
In the resolution, the countries expressed “their alarm at the recent deterioration of the political environment and the human rights situation in Nicaragua, including the use of laws and repressive actions to intimidate and threaten members of the opposition and the press, and to restrict their political participation.”
The session of the Permanent Council was requested by the Secretary General of the OAS, Luis Almagro, who also requested the application of article 21 of the Democratic Charter to the Nicaraguan Government. Such would mean the suspension of the country from the regional forum. The session was backed by the United States, Brazil, Chile, Canada, Peru, Paraguay and Costa Rica.
OAS reiterates: There are no conditions for free elections
The document highlights that “the measures adopted by the Nicaraguan Government do not meet the conditions for free and fair elections to which all Member States have committed themselves in accordance with the Inter-American Democratic Charter. This calls into question the legitimacy of the November elections, as they are currently being organized.”
The Permanent Council “strongly urges the Nicaraguan Government, without delay, to implement legislative and other measures that are in accordance with applicable international standards in order to promote free and fair elections in November, including the invitation to credible election observers from the OAS and other countries.”
The resolution orders “the General Secretariat and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to present at least two reports to the Permanent Council on the electoral process in Nicaragua, for its consideration and possible presentation to the General Assembly.”