Along with the normalization policy that the Ortega Murillo regime tries to impose within the country, there would also have to be a normalization at the international level, in which the goal would be to make the world—especially the Americas—forget about the tragedy and the crisis in Nicaragua, assesses former Foreign Minister Francisco Aguirre Sacasa. Detailing the internal component of that strategy, he referred to the fact that Ortega has realized that in Nicaragua there is an exhaustion with the extent of the crisis.
“He knows that many Nicaraguans are disappointed and very frustrated, because after so much time and so much dialogue we have achieved virtually no progress on the most important thing in this whole issue, which are the electoral reforms,” he explained in an interview on the program Esta Semana.
Aguirre says the external component of the strategy includes Daniel Ortega’s hope that “the insignificance of Nicaragua,” at the international level, will make the concert of nations move forward, and forget the poorest country on the mainland of America.
Far from acting with contempt, the diplomat refers to the fact that Nicaragua “is a very small country, without any great geopolitical value for anyone—with the exception of the neighbors who have borders with us. Ortega thinks that by keeping a relatively low profile, selling the idea that everything has normalized in Nicaragua, this storm could pass,” he explained.
“I think that this crisis has been institutionalized, that is, people (inside and outside the country) have become accustomed to the fact that there is a crisis in Nicaragua, and that it is going through a slow process,” he added.
“All that benefits Ortega to continue in line with his objective of continuing to consolidate a State with one party and one family…more or less the same model that the Castros established in Cuba, 60 years ago. It seems to me that he believes that, with time and the imponderables, he will be able to resist more than the international community,” explained the diplomat.
The dictator’s hopes are reinforced by the hesitant attitude of more than a dozen nations of the continent, which seem determined not to condemn Ortega, regardless of the abundant documentation that proves he committed crimes against humanity, and that his government has violated the rights of Nicaraguans.
And if the votes are lacking?
“My underlying concern in all this is that the democratic countries do not believe that they will get the 24 votes (two thirds) that are needed to suspend a country,” by applying the Inter-American Democratic Charter, Aguirre confessed.
If that happens, the former legislator also believes that the next thing Ortega would do “is resume the idea of a bilateral dialogue between him and the OAS to appease the waters in the capitals of the countries that have been crying out for the restoration of democracy.”
Instead, he envisages that the response of the international community would be “a new wave of sanctions that, in the case of Canada and the United States, will be fully synchronized. We also know that the foreign ministers of the European Union are going to meet this month” to analyze a scheme that is already drawn up, and that could result in new sanctions.
His doubt is “what kind of sanctions could they be: will they continue to be remote control sanctions to people from the inner-circle of El Carmen, or will they be broader and end up causing collateral damage to the economy as a whole? He asked.
Given that “the cause of this economic crisis is the political stagnation in which we find ourselves,” Aguirre Sacasa believes that “a certain maturity, patience, humility of all sides must reign, so that we can seek a negotiated solution, because otherwise, it will be very difficult for our economy to grow again.”
The former member of the Economic Commission of the National Assembly points out that “we are not in the same situation as Venezuela, but if we do not change the current situation, we will continue to lose ground.”
“We already have the smallest economy in Latin America, and still have the second poorest per capita income [of the Continent]. Only Haiti is worse than us, but Haiti at least grows a little (1.5 in 2018), while we are with negative growth, and seeing how our economy contracts more,” he said.
“We often hear talk that in our country the economy has contracted 10% in two years; that construction is completely at zero; that cars are not being sold, and that tourism is at zero too,” he enumerated.
“That economic reality has brought down the private sector, and not only the big one, but also the medium and small ones: bankers, grocery stores owners…the businesses at the “Oriental” (Eastern) market and the ones that operate in the “Galerias” shopping mall. “It is a crisis that has the Nicaraguan people very discouraged,” he commented.
Daniel Ortega, the OAS and the Nicaraguan crisis
As an observer of the situation in the country, and knowledgeable of the ins and outs of international diplomacy, Aguirre Sacasa wonders if the High-Level Commission created by the Organization of American States to prepare a report on Nicaragua will achieve some significant progress to pressure Ortega to talk.
“I was hoping that the Nicaraguan Government would accept the entry of the Commission to offer its good offices and to seek a solution to the crisis, but when Daniel Ortega refused to do so… he sent a very powerful message to the OAS and democratic countries,” especially the United States, Argentina, Jamaica, Canada and Paraguay, which are members of the Commission.
“The message says that he is not interested in participating in a mediation between the opposition and the Government, in order to find a way out of the crisis that has overwhelmed Nicaragua for more than 18 months.” This despite the fact that three months ago the foreign ministers of the continent met in Medellin to mandate the creation of this Commission, and see if in that way the crisis that the country lives will be unlocked, he said.