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Arrest of presidential candidates in Nicaragua

Question écrite de M. Hermann TERTSCH - Commission européenne

Question de M. Hermann TERTSCH,

Diffusée le 22 juin 2021

Subject: Arrest of presidential candidates in Nicaragua

Ortega’s government recently launched a massive crackdown and campaign of terror which so far has led to the arrest of at least 13 opposition activists, including possible candidates for November’s elections: Cristiana Chamorro, Félix Maradiaga, Arturo Cruz, Juan Sebastián Chamorro and others.

In a resolution adopted on 15 June 2021 with 26 votes in favour, 3 votes against and 5 abstentions, the Organization of American States (OAS) condemned these attacks on democracy. The OAS also condemned a series of systematic human rights violations, which are casting even more doubt on free, fair and transparent elections taking place in Nicaragua as early as November.

Pursuant to the association agreement between the EU and Central America1, which includes Nicaragua, respect for democracy, fundamental human rights and the rule of law is essential.

1. Does the EU plan to activate the clause in the abovementioned agreement which would prevent Nicaragua from continuing to enjoy its benefits?

2. In light of the total disregard for democracy and rights, what further action does the Commission intend to take in response to the approach adopted by Ortega, a leader who belongs to the São Paulo Forum, an international organisation committed to totalitarianism?


Réponse - Commission européenne

Diffusée le 10 août 2021

Answer given by High Representative/Vice-President Borrell on behalf of the European Commission (11 August 2021)

The EU position on Nicaragua is established and reflected in the Council conclusions of January and October 2019, and in the statements of the High Representative/Vice-President (HR/VP) in May 2020, December 2020 and June 2021 (2). The HR/VP has firmly condemned on behalf of the EU the repression by the Nicaraguan authorities against opposition parties, media, journalists and other media workers, human rights defenders and civil society, including the systematic detention and arrest of potential presidential candidates and opposition leaders. He has called for the immediate release of all political prisoners.

On 30 July 2021, the Council adopted targeted restrictive measures on eight more individuals responsible for serious human rights violations in Nicaragua and/or whose actions undermined democracy or the rule of law, including Vice-President Rosario Murillo (3). This demonstrates that the EU continues to stand ready to use all its instruments to support a democratic, peaceful, and negotiated solution to the ongoing political crisis. The sanctions are targeted at individuals and are designed in this way not to harm the Nicaraguan population or the Nicaraguan economy. The suspension of the trade part of the Association Agreement could lead to additional unnecessary hardships for the population, not only in Nicaragua but also in the rest of the Central American region.



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