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LatAm political crisis: Nicaragua recalls ambassadors to four states in tit-for-tat move

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
A woman wearing a protective face mask to combat the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) walks in front of a picture of Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega and Vice President Rosario Murillo in Managua, Nicaragua, on March 27, 2020.(Photo by Reuters)

The political crisis in Latin America seems to be growing in scale, with Nicaragua now recalling its ambassadors to Mexico, Argentina, Colombia and Costa Rica for “consultations,” in response to similar moves by the four Latin American countries.

In a statement broadcast by state media on Monday, the Nicaraguan government said the decision came as the quartet interfered in its internal affairs.

Mexico, Argentina and Colombia recently recalled their ambassadors to protest against the detention of a number of opposition figures and presidential candidates, while Costa Rica a few weeks ago suspended the appointment of its ambassador to the Central American country.

Noting that Nicaragua “has suffered and successfully fought all forms of intervention in its affairs and in its territories,” the government said that it “categorically rejects these unacceptable forms” of foreign moves.

Washington has a long history of intervening in the internal affairs of Nicaragua, a Latin American country it once occupied from 1912 to1933 as part of the Banana Wars. It has slapped sanctions against President Daniel Ortega's inner circle since 2018, when widespread protests broke out.

In the past, Ortega has maintained that the 2918 protests were an attempted coup with foreign backing.

The US State Department announced on Friday new restrictions on 50 immediate family members of Nicaraguan officials with close ties to President Ortega, also the top leader of its 1979 revolution.

The sanctioned officials include lawmakers, prosecutors and judges.

Nicaragua is due to hold national elections in November. Ortega is seeking a fourth consecutive term.

US officials have claimed that Nicaragua's electoral council barred an anti-government conservative coalition from running in the November 7 elections.

The State Department's announcement of visa sanctions Friday follows similar measures adopted against 100 other officials on July 12. The US claimed they were “believed to be responsible for, or complicit in, undermining democracy, including those with responsibility for, or complicity in, the suppression of peaceful protests or abuse of human rights, and the immediate family members of such persons.”

With regard to the recent detentions, Ortega has described the detainees as US-backed criminals seeking to topple his government, rather than politicians.


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