The US Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley warned the UN Security Council on Wednesday that Nicaragua is heading down the path that led to conflict in Syria and an economic collapse in Venezuela.
“With each passing day, Nicaragua travels further down a familiar path,” Haley told a meeting of the UN Security Council on the deteriorating environment in the Central American country. “It is a path that Syria has taken. It is a path that Venezuela has taken.”
The warning took place during the first Security Council meeting called by Ambassador Haley, the current council president, to address what the UN says Nicaragua’s government has participated in violent acts of repression toward students and opposition groups that have led to over 300 deaths since mid-April.
Haley said the Security Council could not remain a “passive observer” as Nicaragua descended into chaos “because we know where this path leads.”
She said Nicaragua’s President Daniel Ortega and Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro “are cut from the same corrupt cloth … And they are both dictators who live in fear of their own people.”
“The Syrian exodus has produced millions of refugees, sowing instability throughout the Middle East and Europe,” Haley said. “The Venezuelan exodus has become the largest displacement of people in the history of Latin America. A Nicaraguan exodus would overwhelm its neighbors and create a surge of migrants and asylum-seekers in Central America.”
Costa Rican Ambassador Rodrigo Carazo told the council that his government received 400 asylum applications from Nicaraguan citizens in the first quarter, that was before the crisis started. Last month, Ambassador Carazo said that number inflated to over 4,000. Year to date, the Costa Rican government has received nearly 13,000 asylum applications from Nicaraguans, he added.
“The deepening of the political, social and economic crisis, the repression, and the failure to respect fundamental freedoms and human rights shown by the authorities has the potential of an unbridled worsening of the crisis,” Carazo warned. “And this can have a direct impact on the stability and the future of development in Central America.”
According to Voice of America (VOA), human rights groups have reported abuses by law enforcement and military groups, including temporary detentions, torture, sexual violence, harassment, and intimidation. Nicaraguan civil society leader Felix Maradiaga told council members, “Nicaragua has become a huge prison which seems to be without any controls…every day, we see a climate of terror and indiscriminate persecution.”
Maradiaga warned the political crisis was at risk of developing into a collapse. "Today, there is a time bomb in Nicaragua," he said. “Crimes against humanity are creating an atmosphere conducive to internal conflict that can only grow in size.”
A special report published last week by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights documented the four months of social unrest in the country.
TUNE IN LIVE: Ambassador Nikki Haley chairs the first-ever UN Security Council briefing on #Nicaragua, the first UNSC briefing of this month's U.S. Security Council Presidency. #USstrong #USUNpresidency Watch here → https://t.co/n8Qbpoto3p pic.twitter.com/PjUiSoohYj— US Mission to the UN (@USUN) September 5, 2018
The human rights office called on the government to stop the arrest of protesters and disarm the masked groups that have been responsible for many killings. Then, late last week, the government expelled the human rights group from the country.
The Organization of American States (OAS) has also condemned the violence and urged protestors and government to particpate in a peaceful dialogue. The OAS has called for 2021 elections to be brought foward as soon as possible to usher in a new government.
“When tensions like this are so high, and violence takes place in such a way in a society that leaves more than 300 people dead, you need to give the power back to the people to decide,” OAS Chief of Staff Gonzalo Koncke told reporters.
Nicaraguan Foreign Minister Denis Moncada spoke at the Security Council Wednesday, explaining to officials his country is “a model” in the fight against terrorism, organized crime and drug trafficking in the region, and has a booming economy.
Moncada criticized the US for its past interventions in Nicaragua in the 1980s and urged Washington to “cease any type of aggression or intervention,” which leaves us with thought that the Trump administration could soon be nation-building in Central America.
Meanwhile, the official Twitter feed of the Russian Mission to the UN “urges Washington to abandon the colonial-style attempts to influence the situation in Nicaragua such as the NICAAct, visa and other restrictions against Nicaraguan officials, and the abolition of the “temporary protection status” for migrants from this country.”
It seems that Central America is about to become a hot... again.
#Nebenzia: We urge #Washington to abandon the colonial-style attempts to influence the situation in #Nicaragua such as the #NICAAct, visa and other restrictions against Nicaraguan officials, and the abolition of the "temporary protection status" for #migrants from this country. pic.twitter.com/yTgvTWmBRw— Russian Mission UN (@RussiaUN) September 5, 2018