A conflict with their ambassadors further strains diplomatic relations between Spain and Nicaragua | International

The Nicaraguan ambassador to Spain, Carlos Midence, in a file photograph.
The Nicaraguan ambassador to Spain, Carlos Midence, in a file photograph.Emilio Naranjo (EFE)

The diplomatic relationship between Spain and Nicaragua is at a critical point after the Government of Daniel Ortega decided to withdraw his ambassador Carlos Midence from the legation in Madrid on Thursday. Managua alleges alleged “interfering pressures and threats” that make “the exercise of diplomatic work impossible.” However, the Sandinista regime does not mention that for almost six months it has prevented the Spanish ambassador to Nicaragua, María del Mar Fernández-Palacios, from returning to Managua. This diplomatic soap opera has as its context the harassed relationship between the two countries due to the Spanish government’s criticism of the human rights violations committed in the Central American country, the spurious legal proceedings against political prisoners and the consolidation of a single-party regime in the past November 2021 elections.

The Ortega government has not given any justification for Fernández-Palacios not being able to enter Managua in all this time, as revealed by the independent Nicaraguan media divergent. According to this publication, the diplomat herself experienced a similar situation in 2020, when the airline she was traveling with told her that she could not board because she had not authorized Managua. On August 11, 2021, after Fernández-Palacios was called for consultation by Madrid, her admission was again unauthorized without grounds.

This new move in diplomatic friction was confirmed by the Spanish Foreign Ministry to another independent medium, Office 505, in a statement that makes it possible to understand why Nicaragua is now withdrawing its ambassador from that country: “The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has summoned the Nicaraguan Ambassador to Spain today due to the refusal to accept the return to Managua of the Spanish Ambassador. Given the existing asymmetry, it was announced to the Ambassador that the principle of reciprocity would be applied, with which they made the decision to withdraw their Ambassador immediately,” reads the text quoted by the media.

Last February, the Secretary of State for Ibero-America and the Caribbean of Spain, Juan Fernández Trigo, spoke of a “novelty in his relations with Nicaragua” after the Spanish Government called Ambassador Fernández-Palacios for consultation, because of the ” serious and unfounded accusations” of the regime against Spain.

A few months earlier, in August 2021, the Ortega government published a press release in which it accused Spain of “the cynical and continuous meddling, interference and intervention in our Internal Affairs, unbecoming of Democratic Governments, also unbecoming of Regimes that continually fail to comply with the Rights of their Peoples to Autonomy or to Autonomous Processes of Independence, which have already cost so much suffering, to entire Families of Peoples who refuse to continue being subjected to arbitrary monarchical dictates”.

Previously, the Managua Foreign Ministry had already viciously attacked the Spanish Foreign Minister, Arancha González Laya, who expressed concern about human rights violations in that country. “Showing a daring ignorance, and a ferocity inappropriate for diplomacy, Mrs. González addresses the president of a free and sovereign people, with the voice of a bailiff, without realizing in her delirious rant of an outdated boss that we have been without Spanish rule for centuries, in addition of never having recognized any kindness in those furious Hispanic crimes, crimes against humanity,” said the Ortega government.

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diplomatic corps under attack

Diplomatic sources consulted by EL PAÍS in Managua agreed that the ambassadors are under attack by the Ortega-Murillo regime. The most recent blow was suffered by the Apostolic Nuncio Waldemar Stanisław Sommertag, who was ordered to leave the country. According to a publication from Confidentialthe Vatican ambassador left his mission on Sunday, March 6, after a police contingent followed him out of his residence.

without declaring it unpleasant officially, according to Confidential, Sommertag’s departure was forged as a result of at least four incidents provoked by the Government. The two most relevant were that the nuncio used the expression “political prisoners” in an interview to refer to opponents who are tried behind closed doors in the El Chipote prison, a place where they suffer mistreatment and torture. The other clash was that the nuncio did not attend the isolated inauguration of the presidential couple on January 10, since he traveled to Rome. Both issues generated strong claims from the regime.

Sommertag was one of the few remaining intermediaries in Nicaragua between the ruling party and the opposition, including relatives of the victims of the repression. However, Monsignor Carlos Herrera, president of the Episcopal Conference of Nicaragua (CEN) pointed out —after the untimely departure of the nuncio— that relations between the Ortega regime and the representative of Pope Francis had deteriorated.

Another hilarious detail that caused the fury of the Ortega-Murillos was that, last February, according to the story of diplomatic sources, Sommertag organized a farewell to the Colombian ambassador, Alfredo Rangel Suárez, who was expelled by the Ortega-Murillos and declared unpleasant that same month.

The diplomatic sources consulted by this newspaper consider it absurd to have expelled Sommertag, since Pope Francis has never publicly criticized the regime. However, with this decision the couple isolates themselves a little more from the international community.

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