CoDev on the Crisis in Nicaragua
Since the terrible crisis that has wracked Nicaragua since mid-April first erupted, CoDev, fearful of taking actions that could exacerbate divisions or abet US destabilization in the region, has restricted ourselves to simply posting information from our Nicaraguan partners.
In the meantime, we have consulted extensively with our Nicaraguan partners and with others coming from various perspectives whose opinions we deeply respect. And we have debated and analyzed the issue extensively among both CoDev staff and board.
The recent actions taken by the Nicaraguan government against civil society organizations, the passage in the US Congress December 20 of the NICA Act, and the report on human rights violations in Nicaragua issued December 21 by the Grupo Interdisciplinario de Expertos Independientes (an international commission that both the Ortega Administration and the opposition agreed should investigate the human rights abuses that followed the April protests) compels us now to clearly state our position on the crisis. We share below CoDevelopment Canada’s Open Letter to the Government of Nicaragua
Open letter to the Government of Nicaragua
CoDevelopment Canada is an international solidarity organization that for the past 33 years has facilitated solidarity between social and labour organizations in Canada and Nicaragua. We were first motivated to work with Nicaraguans because the impressive social advances and explosion of civil society organizations that took place in the country during the 1980s instilled hope that just change is possible in our world. Indeed, it was the Sandinista Revolution that helped inspire the founders of our organization to develop international solidarity work in Latin America.
The hope that Nicaragua represented makes even more horrifying the outbreak of violence and social upheaval that has wracked the country since April of this year. We are alarmed by the renewed crackdown the Nicaraguan government has launched since September against civil society organizations, media and individuals critical of the state’s harsh response to the anti-government protests.
CoDevelopment Canada condemns the Nicaraguan Investment Conditionality Act that was passed into law December 20 by the US congress, which instructs the US government to prevent international institutions from lending funds to the Nicaraguan State. However, such ongoing meddling by the US government in the affairs of other nations does not justify the draconian measures the Nicaraguan government has implemented to quell all criticism of the administration of President Daniel Ortega.
These measures include the arbitrary detention of over 650 people, actions generating the forced displacement and exile of tens of thousands, and the banning and confiscation of the assets of nine human rights and other civil society organizations. Particularly troubling is the targeting of women and women’s organizations. These are not the actions of the Sandinista movement that inspired so much hope around the world. These are not the actions of a government committed to democracy and social justice.
We urge the government of President Daniel Ortega to take concrete steps to ease tensions and to reopen the dialogue with groups critical of his government. Concretely, we call on the Nicaraguan government to;
- Restore the legality of the civil society organizations stripped of their status and assets in the past three weeks, and halt further dissolutions and threats against similar organizations;
- Release prisoners who have been arbitrarily detained and are held without due process.
- Repeal the new anti-terrorism law passed by the National Assembly in August of this year which, like similar laws in other countries, is misused to crush political and social dissent.
We sincerely hope that reconciliation is still possible in Nicaragua, and that your government has the strength and wisdom to seek a negotiated solution that can once again steer your country toward a path towards social and economic justice.