With 26 votes in favour, 7 abstentions and one absence – the delegation of Nicaragua – the Organization of American States approved on Wednesday, 20 October, a resolution on the situation in Nicaragua stating, among other points, “Take other measures, if necessary, in accordance with the Charter of the Organization of American States and the Inter-American Democratic Charter, including the assessment of the November 7 elections during the fifty-first session of the General Assembly.
“Not knowing about the elections will depend on the text of any resolution presented by the General Assembly (to the Organization of American States) in November, but it bodes well,” said a specialist in diplomacy and international relations, who asked not to be identified. The General Assembly is scheduled to take place in November in virtual mode.
The specialist considered that the decision approved on Wednesday “is a strong support for the Nicaraguan people in their struggle to restore the democratic path.”
The countries that voted for it are: Belize, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Chile, Dominica, Ecuador, El Salvador, United States, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Dominican Republic, San Cristobal. and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay, Venezuela, Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas.
The countries that abstained are: Barbados, Bolivia, Honduras, Argentina, Mexico, Guatemala, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.
The expert explained that non-recognition of the election results means that “the OAS, other multilateral organizations and allied governments will continue to press for, for example, the annulment of the results and the call for new elections in line with the democratic standards of the international community.”
Eddie Acevedo, Chief of Staff and Senior Adviser at the Woodrow Wilson Center, noted that “at the November 10 General Assembly meeting, I suspect OAS members will use the Inter-American Charter as a guide, which clearly lays down the principles of democracy and respect for human rights. , issues that do not exist in Nicaragua.
He clarified that Article 3 of the Inter-American Democratic Charter specifically calls for free and fair elections, “which we already know will not happen in Nicaragua in November,” and added that Article 5 goes further by clarifying the importance of political parties in democracy. “Again, this does not exist in Nicaragua because the Supreme Electoral Council is under the control of the Ortega regime.”
“The essential elements of representative democracy are, among other things, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms; access to and exercise of power while observing the rule of law; periodic, free and fair elections based on universal and secret suffrage as an expression of people’s sovereignty; pluralistic system of political parties and organizations; and segregation and independence public authorities”.
Article 3 of the Inter-American Democratic Charter
On October 21, 2020, the General Assembly of the Organization of American States approved Resolution on Nicaragua set a May 2021 deadline for Daniel Ortega to reform the electoral system in order to hold free and fair elections on November 7 of that year, when the country would hold presidential and legislative elections.
Twenty of the 34 countries linked in the virtual meeting voted in favor of the resolution called “Restoration of democratic institutions and respect for human rights in Nicaragua, through free and fair elections. Nicaragua, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines voted against, and 12 countries abstained, including Mexico, Argentina and Honduras.” and Guatemala.
The Nicaraguan regime approved electoral law reforms on May 4, 2021, which, according to independent analysts and the international community, do not guarantee a legitimate and transparent electoral process. At the same time as the Supreme Electoral Council judges were elected, most of them were associated with the ruling party.
After these reforms, Daniel Ortega’s regime began to imprison opponents, including seven presidential candidates, other members of opposition organizations, independent critics and human rights defenders, most of whom were accused of the alleged crime of “conspiring to undermine national unity”.
The OAS has already ignored the elections
In December last year, the Organization of American States ignored the elections in Venezuela with a decision to ignore the parliamentary elections, without the participation of the opposition and were criticized by the United States, the European Union and many Latin American countries. The Venezuelan resolution received 21 votes in favor, three more than needed to pass.
The resolution on Venezuela states that the elections were not “free or fair under the conditions set out in international law”, in a context in which political prisoners have not been released and there is a “lack of independence of the electoral authority”.
The OAS states on its website that the General Assembly is the supreme organ of the OAS and consists of the delegations of all member states, which have the right to be represented and cast their votes. Defining the mechanisms, policies, procedures and mandates of the organization.
Article 56 of the Amendments to the Regulations of the General Assembly states that “to reconsider a decision taken by a general meeting of the General Assembly, a General Committee, a subcommittee or a working group, It will require approval of the corresponding proposal by a vote of two-thirds of the delegations comprising those bodies.”
Its powers are defined in Chapter IX of the Charter, which states in Article 57 that the Assembly shall meet annually at the time and at the place determined by the bylaws according to the principle of rotation. In special circumstances and with the approval of two-thirds of the Member States, the Permanent Council may convene a special session of the General Assembly. All Member States have the right to be represented in it and to cast one vote each.
The decision was approved on October 20
The decision points are as follows:
- Repeating its call for the immediate release of presidential candidates and political prisoners.
- Expresses its grave concern at the circumstances in which the attempts of the Permanent Council to compel the Government of Nicaragua to hold free and fair elections have been ignored.
- Noting with alarm the deterioration of the political and human rights situation in Nicaragua and the commitment of the Government of Nicaragua to undermine the electoral process.
- Strongly urge the Government of Nicaragua to implement without delay the principles of the Inter-American Democratic Charter, as well as all internationally recognized standards, including agreed electoral reforms, with a view to holding free, fair and transparent elections as soon as possible, under the oversight of the Organization of American States and other Trusted International Monitoring.
- Adopt, if necessary, other measures in accordance with the Charter of the Organization of American States and the Inter-American Democratic Charter, including the evaluation of the November 7 elections during the fifty-first session of the General Assembly.
The situation in Nicaragua
The draft resolution was sponsored by the missions of Canada, Antigua and Barbuda, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Paraguay and Uruguay.
“We did not ask this point to judge anyone, because in any case we would lack due process, as there were hundreds of political leaders in Nicaragua today languishing behind bars just for the fact of thinking differently,” Issa Corte commented, the Ambassador of Chile.
He considered the resolution approved on Wednesday “a strong support for the Nicaraguan people in their struggle to restore the democratic path.”
The representative of Nicaragua asked to speak at the beginning of the session and insisted on his refusal to discuss Nicaragua’s issues at the OAS Permanent Council meeting. During the vote, Nicaragua was no longer present and was absent while this resolution was approved.
Before the session, he sent a “note of protest” On October 20, 2021, the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States, OAS, convened to find out, among other points, aspects that correspond only and exclusively with the decision of the citizens of Nicaragua. Our country categorically states that we do not accept the discussion or judgment of acts of sovereignty by the people of Nicaragua, in the exercise of their fundamental rights, to live according to our laws and social norms,” the note notes.
The OAS Permanent Council, in June, also approved a resolution on the situation in Nicaragua, which was approved by 26 out of 34 countries.. The resolution called for free and fair elections and “condemns the arbitrary detention, harassment, and restrictions imposed on potential presidential candidates, political parties and independent media.” The resolution calls for the “immediate release of potential candidates and all political prisoners.”
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