Nicaragua bars entry of OAS commission sent to broker end to the political crisis
A commission from the Organization of American States seeking to help broker an end to a political crisis in Nicaragua said on Sunday the government of President Daniel Ortega had barred its entry into the Central American country.
In a statement, the OAS said the delegation made up of representatives from the United States, Canada, Argentina, Paraguay and Jamaica had been informed by Nicaragua’s migration authorities that it would not be allowed into the country.
Nicaragua has been gripped by its worst political crisis since demonstrations broke out against the Ortega government in April 2018 over planned cuts to welfare benefits.
The demonstrations spread into broader protests against Ortega, and subsequent clashes between pro-government forces and protesters have claimed more than 300 lives and prompted thousands of Nicaraguans to go into exile, rights groups say.
Critics, including human rights groups, criticized Ortega for the severity with which the demonstrations were put down.
Ortega, a former Marxist guerilla, described the protests as an illegal plot by adversaries to oust him.
The OAS commission was due to spend Sept. 16-17 in Nicaragua in order to “take diplomatic steps at the highest level to seek a pacific solution” to the crisis in the country, it said.
The OAS created the commission on Aug. 30 and tasked it with reporting back on the situation in Nicaragua within 75 days.
The Nicaraguan government had previously dismissed the creation of the commission, viewing it as an attempt to interfere in the country’s affairs.
The Commission said the Nicaraguan Government had been informed of the trip given its intention to engage in a constructive way with its authorities as well as relevant civil society stakeholders in order to set up a dialogue process to reach such solution.
The Commission stresses its commitment to carrying out the tasks mandated by General Assembly in view of the weakening of democratic institutions and the worsening of human rights situation in Nicaragua and calls upon the Nicaraguan Government to review its position and grant it access to fulfill its mandate.