How the European Parliament Members Saw Nicaragua
International isolation of the regime and its total loss of credibility.
The statements made by members of the European Parliament (MEPs) as they ended their visit to Nicaragua are another nail in the coffin of the Ortega regime. From the very beginning, parliamentarians rejected that there had been a coup attempt in Nicaragua.
In order to better understand the meaning and implications of their statements, it is important to remember just who this mission represents.
The European Union is made up of 28 countries, among them the countries with the most political and economic power on the European continent such as Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Holland and Norway, for starters. The European Union is not just a process of economic unification that includes a common currency called the Euro; it is also a series of policies that member states have in common in diverse areas, one of which is a shared foreign policy.
There are three main governing bodies: 1) The European Council, which is made of heads of state and the governments of member states; 2) The European Commission, another fundamental body as the executive branch; and 3) the European Parliament, made up of representatives directly elected by European citizens in each member state. The parliament has serious political clout with legislative faculties, control and it also approves the common budget.
The main important political forces in Europe are represented within this body and are organized according to ideological and political affinity. The center-right Popular Block, is the majority group at this time, followed by the Progressive Alliance of socialists and democrats. It is important to point out that a socialist party in Europe is nothing like what we understand as socialism in Latin America. The European socialists are social democrats who combine freedom with a market economy and social justice. The conservatives make up the third voting block. Then there are the liberals, the united European left and the Greens.
What are the most important points in the statement made by this European mission?
First: They expressed a shared vision. The visiting delegation was made up of representatives of the right, the center right, the left and the center-left, from different countries. They all shared a common vision. We even had the opportunity to listen to a European deputy who was wounded while fighting on the Southern Front in the war against Somoza.
Ortega has the strange ability to create consensus, but in opposition to him. He also achieved this in the United States, bringing together democrats and republicans–who never agree on anything–and yet they adopted a unanimous policy towards his regime.
Second: This shared vision strips bare the absurdities of this regime. Among other things, the delegates reiterated that “the government insists on the hypothesis of a violent coup, of terrorist acts, violence and above all, external aggression. We do not believe this hypothesis. It is speculative and partisan.” This is what they said.
They also rejected the idea of “normalization” that the regime is trying to impose. The euro-parliamentarians emphasized that there is a very serious crisis as regards democracy, the rule of law and human rights. They described an upsurge in repression, horrific prison conditions, illegal trials, and restrictions on the press, public meetings and organizing.
The parliamentarians were particularly concerned that the economic and political crisis could result in widespread violence. They literally stated: “the possibility of a civil war is not farfetched.”
Third: As if this were not enough, they also recommended restarting a dialogue and negotiation, concentrating on laying the groundwork for real elections, based on three indispensable conditions: 1) the liberation of political prisoners; 2) the return of international human rights organizations; and 3) the restoration of rights and liberties including the right to mobilize, associate, and to a free press.
In rational terms, the emphasis on negotiations as a solution to the crisis would be very pertinent, if we were talking about leaders interested in democratic coexistence, and even if we were talking about authoritarian leaders. But in Nicaragua, we are facing a mafia that has taken control of the state apparatus and that is hanging on to power by any means.
Fourth: This is the threat to end all threats. We include the actual quote: “the current situation in Nicaragua as regards human rights and democracy is incompatible with the partnership agreement between the European Union and Nicaragua.”
Let’s remember that Nicaragua’s partnership agreement with the European Union grants our exports preferential access to the European market, as well as preferential access to foreign aid for development; direct aid and indirect aid via international lending institutions.
This regime is two-faced. It shows one face to the European delegation, whom it allowed to move freely, to talk with people, to express opinions and to visit prisons. And it shows another face to Nicaraguans: it militarized the capital, denied the right to mobilize and harassed the leadership of the organizations that met with the parliamentarians.
In conclusion, the Euro-parliamentarians’ visit is clear evidence of this regime’s international isolation and its total loss of credibility. Nobody believes in its subterfuges. Despite all this, the delegation still called for negotiations even though they clearly warned about possible sanctions.