The European Parliament recently passed a new resolution against the regime of Daniel Ortega, demanding an end to the repression and the return to dialogue, suspended at mid-year with the Civic Alliance. The resolution contemplates sending a delegation from Parliament to Nicaragua, so that, among other issues, it can evaluate the future of the European Union Central American Association Agreement (EU-CAAA), from which Nicaragua could be suspended for violations of human rights and democratic principles.
One of the 560 votes in favor and promoter of the resolution, the Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Jose Ramon Bauza, spoked with journalist Carlos F. Chamorro, on the program “Esta Semana” (This Week), and affirmed that MEPs expect sanctions against the clan of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo to be applied “as quickly as possible.”
“What we have observed, because it is evident, is that they only react if there is a sanction, if they have international pressures. Therefore, in the face of the repression we must act decisively with sanctions,” Bauza said.
MEP, what made it possible to achieve such a broad consensus in the European Parliament to pass this resolution with 560 votes in favor and only 12 against, condemning the dictatorship of the Ortega-Murillo regime?
The evidence of a continued breach of something as basic as human rights; such as the fact that there are 300 families who do not have one of their loved ones in their homes; of hundreds of assaulted people, peasants, priests; tens of thousands of people who have had to leave their country; and how the Ortega-Murillo marriage is violating the most basic rights. That is what has led us to make this resolution, and that now has been approved in the European Parliament.
The resolution demands the European Council to apply specific sanctions against people and institutions linked to the repression. What is the next step? What are the political deadlines?
For us it is very important that the application of specific sanctions to individuals and specific positions be achieved. What we want as soon as possible, given that the Ortega-Murillo clan only react to international pressure, are specific sanctions on people, on those positions that originate and that generate the repression. That is what we approved, and I am going to make sure that they become effective and are carried out as quickly as possible.
But we know that in the European Parliament the decisions are implemented with some slowness, that is why I ask you what the political deadlines are. Will this be implemented during some period of next year?
We hope it is soon. That, in fact, depends on political will, but if political will does not have behind it, as pressure, the initiative that we have accomplished, if that resolution did not exist, regardless of how much political will there was, it would not be able to be carried out.
Therefore, it is the third resolution in this respect. I have also told Mr. (Josep) Borrell (EP High Representative for Foreign Affairs) directly, that we have to carry it out as quickly as possible. So that, resolution and political will, force us all to act as soon as possible, because the Nicaraguan people cannot wait even a single day.
It could be executed at the moment when the high commissioner commits himself, after that it is an internal matter of the European Council itself, to implement it, and in this sense, we are reaching the limit.
We know that with the previous resolutions, the former high representative, Federica Mogherini, was not very active in this matter, and what we hope is that the new high representative, Josep Borrell, will be active and proactive, and that the approval of this resolution be useful to him, immediately, to get the ball rolling and that, with a stopwatch measuring, these actions will be effective.
Does that also include institutions, that is legal entities?
In principle, it makes reference to institutional positions, but from there, obviously, if the situation merits it, we will initiate a proposal for expansion to not only individuals with institutional positions, but those legal entities who would also be violating human rights.
The other side of this resolution is that it demands the restoration of a political dialogue in Nicaragua, electoral reforms, to open the way for an election. In this direction, what type of instruments does the European Union and the European Council have to promote this type of initiative?
I presented an amendment within the text of this resolution that calls for changes in the (Supreme) Electoral Council, reforming the Electoral Law, and that will allow a new call to elections, which is what we also propose. Then, it would be much more transparent, and nobody could manipulate or modify any type of results.
Therefore, from our point of view it is not only the legislation, the European initiative that has to be carried out, but also what we are proposing is that there be a modification in the electoral system, so that, with that change of criteria, there will be transparent, participative elections, that cannot be manipulated.
Taking into consideration previous experiences with sanctions of the European Council against Venezuela’s government, that have been very strong, and nevertheless, the regime of Nicolas Maduro remains in power. What is your assessment of the effectiveness of these types of policies?
If we did not sanction, if we would did not make those decisions, we can’t reach that institutional implementation. Therefore, for me the fundamental thing is the institutional positioning of the European Union, and obviously, we must demand that compliance. And there are a number of legal tools, but, above all, the political will to exert that pressure.
Definitely, the Ortega Murillo couple, that matrimonial clan, that family, which is acting in an absolutely mafia way, has to see is that the international community is on top of them, in this case Europe, as the United States has done previously, or has been done by Canada. What we have observed, because it is evident, is that they only react if there is a sanction, if they have international pressure. Therefore, in the face of these repressions we must act decisively with sanctions.
The resolution also proposes to send a new European Parliament delegation to Nicaragua. Is it feasible that that can be executed? Would you be part of that delegation?
Obviously, it is feasible. After all, it is nothing more than a decision of the European Parliament to send its representatives, and for me it would be an honor to be able to actively participate and witness in a personal way and without intermediaries, the fulfilment of that resolution. I would like that; I can assure you.