Russia has criticized the United States for “destructive intervention” in the domestic affairs of Nicaragua including by calling a United Nations Security Council (UNSC) meeting to discuss the political crisis in the Central American country.
“The Security Council is being transformed into something of a judge over Nicaragua,” Russian Ambassador to the UN Vassily Nebenzia told the US-chaired meeting on Wednesday, the first to be held by the Council since widespread anti-government protests erupted in Nicaragua some five months ago.
According to rights groups, more than 300 people have been killed and 2,000 others sustained injuries since large-scale demonstrations against President Daniel Ortega began to be held in mid-April over his plan to overhaul the country’s welfare system. Even though the president has canceled the reforms, the protests have continued.
The casualty figures have not been confirmed by the Nicaraguan government, either.
The US, which holds the rotating presidency of the UNSC for the month of September, called the the meeting on Nicaragua over the objections of permanent members Russia and China.
Nebenzia described the US decision to raise the issue of Nicaragua at the Council as a “glaring and grim example of destructive foreign intervention” and accused the White House of attempting to cause a rift in the Central American country.
“Following today’s discussion, polarization in Nicaragua will only worsen. The initiators are indeed seeking to achieve that,” Nebenzia said.
The Russian diplomat said that the situation in Nicaragua was “stabilizing” and that Ortega and his opponents had to reconcile “through direct peaceful dialog,” although he said “pressure from abroad” was also necessary.
Russia, China, and Bolivia argue that the crisis in Nicaragua does not pose the threat to international peace and security that the US seeks to portray and that would, according to the UN Charter, make it a matter to be addressed at the UNSC.
Nicaragua has formerly slammed the US for its meddlesome foreign policy.
At the meeting on Wednesday, Nicaragua’s Foreign Minister Denis Moncada said “this meeting is a clear interference in the internal affairs of” his country and a violation of the UN Charter.
Seventy two-year-old Ortega, whose third consecutive term ends in January 2022, has refused a demand by opponents to move up presidential elections from 2021 to 2019 and accuses his critics of seeking a coup against his government.
The protesters accuse the leftist leader, along with his wife, Vice President Rosario Murillo, of establishing a dictatorship, which is characterized by what they say are nepotism and brutal repression.
He rejects the accusations and says he is constitutionally allowed to finish his term.