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Ortega Tries to Show with Punitive Laws that “He Is Strong and Doesn’t Accept Pressure”

European legislators prepare to expand sanctions directly gainst Ortega and Murillo. They foresee repercussions at the OAS session on October 20-21

After the approval of the “Foreign Agents Law” in the National Assembly on Thursday, the reactions from Europe were immediate. Preparations are in the works for direct sanctions against Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo. Meanwhile, the Civic Alliance warns in Nicaragua about the effect on the operations of political organizations.

Furthermore, analysts of international issues believe that the approval of these punitive laws will also have effects on the session of the Organization of American States (OAS), scheduled for October 20 and 21.

MEP Jose Ramon Bauza, promoter of the European Parliament resolution that requests expanding the sanctions imposed on the Ortega-Murillo regime and particularly on the presidential couple, commented via Twitter moments after the approval of the law in the National Assembly.

“The dictator is determined to continue his repressive offensive in Nicaragua. This attack on democracy cannot go unpunished. It is time to fulfill the mandate of the European Parliament. Such includes suspension of the Association Agreement and immediate sanctions against Ortega and Murillo,” he assured.

Opposition politician Jose Pallais said Ortega’s message to the MEPs and others is that “he is strong, doesn’t accept pressure and is willing to stand on his own.” However, Pallais says this strength is nothing more than words because the regime is already “in the terminal stage.”

Pallais believes Ortega is facing more sanctions, more isolation and bolstering the crisis in which his Government finds itself. It already suffered the impact of individual sanctions imposed by the US and EU on some 24 public officials. Most recently, presidential advisor Paul Oquist and Attorney General Ana Julia Guido were sanctioned. On October 14, Oquist was removed from the several state entities and boards he sat on.

Sanctions have already reached Vice President Rosario Murillo, three of her sons: Laureano, Rafael and Juan Carlos Ortega Murillo. Likewise, eight companies, including the main financial arms of the dictatorship.

Juan Sebastian Chamorro, an opposition leader for the Civic Alliance, also commented on the impact of the law. He assured it will seriously affect the operational capacity of political organizations and foundations working with social issues.

“Once again the Ortega dictatorship has acted against the interests of the Nicaraguan people. They are utterly deaf to the warnings of the international community about the serious consequences of approving this law.” Chamorro said the impact will also be felt in the private sector.

Pending Sanctions

International analyst Ricardo de Leon said it remains to be seen if the European sanctions are finally applied. The recommendations of the European Parliament must be adopted by the European Commission. The EC “issued a statement this week extending one more year to those already sanctioned. However, it did not mention anything new within the framework of what was approved by Parliament.”

De Leon believes the high commissioner for the European Commission, Joseph Borrell, will be an “obstacle,” to these sanctions. His appraisal is based on Borrell coming from the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party. “So I don’t think that he is so ready to assimilate new sanctions for Nicaragua.”

However, Borrell has been a harsh critic of the Ortega Administration, even in his previous position Spanish foreign minister. In addition, he has supported the international community imposing sanctions on the “dictatorship” in Nicaragua for their “bloody repression.”

In January 2019, Borrell promoted a meeting of the European Council, composed of EU foreign ministers, to discuss Nicaragua. The diplomats condemned the repression in Nicaragua. They concluded that they would respond to “any further deterioration of human rights and the rule of law.”

On that occasion, Borrell, 72, as the Spanish foreign minister, commented that Nicaragua and Venezuela are “the biggest crises that America Latina experiences in a long time” and said Europe “cannot not ignore that.”

“It is not enough to say that we regret it a lot and impose some sanctions,” he warned.

OAS meeting will be decisive

De Leon believes that when the European Parliament discusses Nicaragua again, it will argue that the Government “ignored its plea. Something it has always done.”

“I think the EU is going to first wait for the meeting of the Organization of American States next week. They’ll want to see how forceful the resolution of the General Assembly is,” he commented.

He also recalled that the OAS meeting still needs a two-thirds vote of the member states to declare a breakdown of the democratic order in Nicaragua and thus apply the Inter-American Democratic Charter.

“I very much doubt that countries that are allies of the Nicaraguan opposition have them,” he estimated.

Jose Pallais believes the approval of the “Foreign Agents Law” could influence that OAS meeting. He noted, “it shows that there is no possible understanding with Ortega.”

“There is no space to reach agreements, or hold negotiations, Ortega only imposes what he wants. Some countries in the OAS that still believe it is feasible to reach an understanding between the OAS and the regime could be convinced with this attitude that such opportunities are already exhausted,” Pallais stated.

The Special Law on Cybercrimes, known as the “Gag Law”, could also be approved next week by the Ortega legislators.

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