EP calls for sanctions against Nicaraguan regime as country turns to China for help

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The EU should consider introducing additional sanctions against the Nicaraguan regime of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo, MEPs said in a resolution.

In a harshly-worded statement, MEPs have demanded that Nicaraguan regime leader Daniel Ortega be added to the list of sanctioned individuals and urge the EU to assess other possible measures, including going beyond restricting individuals. They warn, however, against any action that could potentially add to the hardship experienced by the Nicaraguan people.

Recalling the report of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), the resolution states that in Nicaragua a police state had been established through repression, corruption, electoral fraud and structural impunity designed by the government to indefinitely perpetuate its power and maintain its privileges and immunities.

Parliament declared the elections held in Nicaragua on 7 November to be “an electoral farce” orchestrated by the Ortega-Murillo regime and “rejects the legitimacy of the results of these fake elections”. The rigged vote completed Nicaragua’s conversion into an autocratic regime, MEPs add.

Meanwhile, Nicaragua, facing the prospects of international sanctions, is seen turining towards China, with the two countries re-establishing diplomatic ties on Friday after the Central American country broke relations with Chinese-claimed Taiwan, boosting Beijing in a part of the world long considered the United States’ backyard, and angering Washington.

Beijing has increased military and political pressure on Taiwan to accept its sovereignty claims, drawing anger from the democratically ruled island, which has repeatedly said it would not be bullied and has the right to international participation.

Nicaragua’s abrupt break with Taiwan followed months of worsening ties between Ortega and U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration.

The European Parliament said that that the only solution to the deep political crisis in the country is an inclusive and meaningful national dialogue, adding that holding free elections, restoring the rule of law, and ending repression and fear are sine qua non conditions for any dialogue with the Nicaraguan regime. The resolution was adopted by 619 votes in favour, 25 against and 41 abstentions.

The position of the EP echoed that of Council, which insisted that elections held in Nicaragua have taken place without democratic guarantees and their results lack legitimacy: Governments said that “Daniel Ortega has eliminated all credible electoral competition, depriving the Nicaraguan people of their right to freely elect their representatives. The integrity of the electoral process was crushed by the systematic incarceration, harassment and intimidation of presidential pre-candidates, opposition leaders, student and rural leaders, journalists, human rights defenders and business representatives”.

Russia’s foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, called western calls to reject the election result “unacceptable”.

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