A delegation from the Ortega-Murillo government traveled to the distant United Arab Emirates this past week to seek funds that will allow them to continue afloat amid the severe economic crisis that Nicaragua is going through as a result of police and paramilitary repression.
According to government sources, the delegation is headed by Laureano Ortega Murillo, son of the presidential couple and sanctioned by the United States. He would be accompanied by another sanctioned, Francisco Lopez, former Vice President of Albanisa and treasurer of Ortega’s Sandinista Front (FSLN), as well as Rear Admiral Marvin Corrales, the Army Inspector.
The Minister of Finance and Public Credit, Ivan Acosta, was incorporated at the last minute into the Ortega mission to the oil monarchy.
According to governmental sources, also traveling in the economic expedition delegation to the United Arab Emirates is Adolfo Saenz Ulloa, Deputy General Director of the Police and of the Financial Analysis Unit (UAF).
Governmental sources affirmed that the delegation departed on August 8, but before traveling they assessed different flight routes to avoid any international penal actions that could cause arrests of those sanctioned by Washington.
“First they were going to travel through Panama, from Panama to Cuba, and from Cuba to Russia. From this last country they would fly to Dubai and other countries,” said the government source. “However, at the last minute they changed the route because they considered that Panama was not safe. So they apparently went through El Salvador, Cuba, Russia, Kuwait, Dubai until they reach the United Arab Emirates,” the source added.
The tour to seek for fresh funds occurs in the midst of a severe economic crisis caused by the political crisis in Nicaragua, aggravated by tax reform and a deep distrust of the government. The government is also affected by the collapse of the previously abundant Venezuelan cooperation, the fall of foreign investment and tourism, all of them exacerbated by international sanctions. On Friday night it was learned that the United States reaffirmed the sanctions against Ortega officials.
Based on the Nica Act Law, the Trump administration requested to detail and expand reports on the participation of senior officials of the regime, including members of the Supreme Electoral Council, the National Assembly and the Judiciary, in human rights violations, acts of “significant corruption” and money laundering, while maintaining the sanctions against the dictatorship’s officials.
A tour organized by Paul Oquist
The government source assured Confidencial that the tour to the United Arab Emirates was planned by Paul Oquist, Minister for National Policies. Oquist have also been behind other tours in Europe and other countries.
Recently, Foreign Minister Denis Moncada visited Turkey and Serbia to explore for the possibility of funding and try to reduce the international encirclement of the dictatorship as a result of international sanctions. While in Managua, in the middle of July, the regime received Iran’s Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif.
The visit of the Iranian diplomat had the purpose of “strengthening the friendship ties, cooperation and trade between the two nations,” according to official propaganda. However, Javad Zarif was sanctioned by Washington two weeks after visiting Managua.
The United Arab Emirates is an authoritarian state and strongly criticized for restricting the right to freedom of expression and association, “by using anti-terrorism laws and criminal defamation to detain, prosecute, convict and imprison people critical of the government and one prominent defender of human rights,” according to Amnesty International.
However, the Trump administration considers the United Arab Emirates as an ally and a mediator in the midst of diplomatic tension between Washington and Teheran, after the Iranians downed a United States unmanned craft.