Former presidents criticize Mexico’s silence in Nicaragua case

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MEXICO CITY (AP) — Some twenty former presidents of Spain and Latin America on Monday expressed concern about the silence of the region and, specifically, of the Mexican president Andrés Manuel López Obrador in the face of recent actions taken by the Nicaraguan government against opponents, who they have been rejected by various foreign governments and humanitarian organizations.

The group of former heads of state and governments, mostly from the right and center, stated that they regretted the “silence” of most of the governments of the region, except for the presidents of Chile and Ecuador, before what they describe as “dictatorial assault” of Nicaragua.

Last week, Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega declared 94 opponents and critics who he stripped of their nationality “traitors to the homeland” and ordered their real estate to be confiscated. The measure was announced a few days after the 26-year prison sentence imposed on Bishop Rolando Álvarez and the release and exile of 222 imprisoned opponents.

In the statement of the international non-governmental forum Democratic Initiative of Spain and the Americas (IDEA), the ex-presidents highlighted the role of the Mexican president, whom they questioned because he “is silent in the face of the exercise and violations of human rights” that occur in Nicaragua, while openly questions the administration of Peruvian President Dina Boluarte.

Among the names of ex-governors who support the IDEA statement are the Spaniard José María Aznar, the Costa Rican Óscar Arias, the Colombians Iván Duque and Andrés Pastrana, the Chileans Eduardo Frei and Sebastián Piñera, the Argentinean Mauricio Macri, the Panamanians Nicolás Ardito Barletta, Mireya Moscoso and Ernesto Pérez Balladares, the Ecuadorians Lenín Moreno, Lucio Gutiérrez and Jamil Mahuad and the Mexicans Vicente Fox and Felipe Calderón, both strong critics of López Obrador, among others.

The IDEA group was created in 2015 and is defined on its website as “a forum” that “from civil society and at the headquarters of international public opinion, observes and analyzes Ibero-American democratic processes and experiences.” Since its constitution, it has made different pronouncements on Venezuela, Cuba, Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador and El Salvador.

AP asked the Mexican Foreign Ministry for a reaction on the pronouncement of the former presidents against López Obrador, but there were no comments at the moment.

Regarding what is happening in Nicaragua, the governments of Chile, Ecuador and Colombia have spoken in recent days. “The dictator does not know that the homeland is in his heart and in his actions, and is not deprived by decree,” Chilean President Gabriel Boric said on Saturday in solidarity with writers Gioconda Belli and Sergio Ramírez, activist Sofía Montenegro and journalist Carlos Chamorro after their nationality was withdrawn.

Last Friday, the Ecuadorian Foreign Ministry also called on the Ortega government to “rectify” and “release political prisoners and return this country to democratic life.”

Colombia also expressed concern about Ortega’s decision to withdraw the nationality of a group of critics, and urged, in a statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to “generate confidence-building measures that contribute to national reconciliation, respect for the State of laws and well-being of the Nicaraguan people”. Likewise, the government of leftist Gustavo Petro said that it will closely follow Nicaragua’s decisions regarding an important group of detained Nicaraguans.

The López Obrador government has not ruled on the events in Nicaragua, although in mid-2021 it called its ambassador in Managua for consultations due to Ortega’s “worrying political actions”, which led to opposition leaders and candidates for the presidency of the Central American country.

In January of last year, the Mexican president announced that he would request approval for a new ambassador in Nicaragua. López Obrador said on that occasion that his administration has “good relations with everyone and we do not want to be reckless.” And he added that “our policy of self-determination of the peoples cannot be set aside.”

In the case of Peru, López Obrador has distanced himself from the usual Mexican position of non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries and, in contrast, he has made explicit his support for the overthrown Peruvian president Pedro Castillo, who is imprisoned in Lima and faces charges of alleged corruption, criminal organization and money laundering.

Last week the Mexican president considered the Boluarte government “illegitimate” and announced that he would not hand over to Peru the presidency of the Pacific Alliance, which is made up of Chile, Colombia, Peru and Mexico.

Source: San Diego Tribune