Nicaragua prohibited the entry of seven diplomats on Saturday who sought to promote a dialogue with the government in the face of the country’s crisis, including the U.S. ambassador to the OAS, Carlos Trujillo, and Gonzalo Koncke, chief of staff of the secretary general of the organization, Luis Almagro, according to a document to which Efe agreed.
Trujillo, Koncke and five other diplomats had planned to travel to Nicaragua to try to dialogue with President Daniel Ortega and seek a way out of the crisis that began on April 18, 2018 and has left hundreds dead, prisoners and disappeared, in addition to thousands of Nicaraguans in exile.
Some of the diplomats whom Ortega decided today to deny access to Nicaragua are part of a commission created at the end of August by the Organization of American States (OAS). That entity has 75 days to try to negotiate with Ortega.
If that commission were to fail and Ortega refuses to dialogue, the OAS could suspend Nicaragua, the largest form of sanction the organization has and which, in 70 years of history, it has only used on two occasions: with Honduras, in 2009, after the coup d’état; and with Cuba after the triumph of Fidel Castro’s Revolution, in 1959.
The commission is made up of Trujillo and four other members: Leopoldo Francisco Sahores, Undersecretary of American Affairs of the Argentine Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Elisa Ruiz Díaz, Panama’s representative in the OAS; as well as Sébastien Sigouin, responsible for Central America in the Canadian Ministry of Foreign Affairs; and Audrey Marks, Jamaica’s ambassador to the OAS.
In addition, Koncke and an OAS press officer accompanied the commission.
Koncke, as Almagro’s chief of staff, has been closely following the work that the General Secretariat did as guarantor and witness of the attempts at dialogue between the Nicaraguan government and the opposition Civic Alliance, which were suspended due to the impossibility of reaching agreements.
As of today, diplomats are forbidden to enter the Central American country, according to a document of the General Directorate of Migration and Foreigners of Nicaragua, to which Efe had access.
Specifically, what the Directorate General of Immigration and Aliens did was to notify nine airlines, including the Panamanian Copa Airlines and the U.S. Delta, United and Spirit, not to allow any of the diplomats to board their planes to travel to Nicaragua.
“The General Directorate of Migration and Aliens (…) informs that, as of the date (14 September), the following citizens are not authorized to enter Nicaragua nor may they be boarded on its airlines bound for Nicaragua,” reads the document, which then moves on to list the names of the diplomats.
Ortega’s government has repeatedly refused to recognize the legitimacy of the commission created by the OAS, which it considers an instrument of “interference” by Washington.
Ortega considers the protests that erupted on April 18 to be a “coup d’état” and recognizes only 200 mortal victims. Some local bodies count as many as 595, while the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) counted 328.