Letter of Nicaraguan Government to OAS suspending mission of GIEI and MESENI

This is a very important document which presents the Nicaraguan government´s logic for the expulsion of the GIEI and MESENI of the IACHR. It reiterates a number of points made in other pronouncements. The heart of the government´s position is that it does not recognize any legitimate peaceful protestors, rather all described as part of a coup attempt that the Nicaraguan government claims echoes long held US policy toward Nicaragua. For that reason, it considers  accounts of the crisis from unofficial sources  not credible, especially family members of detainees. Statements the Secretary General of the OAS has made in other forums are used to discredit all the work of the GIEI and MESENI in Nicaragua. This statement and their expulsion happened one day before the GIEI issued their report– which was planned to be released in Managua – which accuses the government of crimes against humanity.

Ministry of Foreign Relations

Managua, December 19, 2018

MRE/DM-DMC/00572/12/18

Mr. Secretary General:

  1. I refer to the acts of violence occurred, beginning on April 18, which constituted a coup attempt that affected the peace, security and stability of the Nicaraguan people.
  2. In the framework of such acts the Government of National Reconciliation and Unity called for a National Dialogue, inviting the Episcopal Conference as mediator and witness, for the purpose of making progress in the search for solutions that would allow the return of tranquility for Nicaraguans.
  3. In this context, the Interamerican Commission on Human Rights was invited to carry out a working visit to observe the human rights situation in Nicaragua, a matter which was communicated on May 13, 2018 to Mr. Paulo Abrao, the Executive Secretary, and to you.
  4. Likewise, in follow up to the recommendations of the IACHR, we agreed upon the creation of the Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts (GIEI) to collaborate and support the investigative actions carried out by the State of Nicaragua concerning the acts of violence that occurred in the period from April 18 to May 30, 2018.
  5. Likewise, in follow up to the agreements of the National Dialogue, our Government extended an invitation to the Secretary General of the OAS to provide accompaniment to the Verification and Security Commission of the IACHR for the installation of the Mechanism for Follow Up to their recommendations (MESENI).
  6. The Interamerican Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), in response to the invitation of our Government, arrived in Nicaragua on May 17, 2018, for the purpose of observing “in loco” the Human Rights situation in our country.
  7. In the period of the visit from May 17-21, 2018, the IACHR held bilateral meetings with the National Police, Public Ministry, Supreme Court, Ministry of Health, Nicaraguan Army and Ministry of Foreign Relations. In these meetings our institutions reported widely and documented for the IACHR the events occurred that had left citizens and police murdered and injured, and many material damages to public and private property, as a consequence of the acts of vandalism and armed attacks on the part of the coup terrorists.
  8. Likewise, facilitation was provided the IACHR to carry out visits to the National Penitentiary System, the Judicial Support Office of the National Police, and the Institute for Legal Medicine, where they were able to confirm that the information from some communications media on illegal detentions, torture and disappearances was unfounded.
  9. In this context on May 19, 2018 the “Jorge Navarro” National Penitentiary System received the visit of the IACHR; Joel Hernández García, Commissioner of the IACHR, Soledad García Muñoz, spokesperson, Andrés Pizarro, Lawyer of the IACHR and Federico Blanco, Press Officer, who did a tour through the installations of the penitentiary system and verified that there were no people detained related to the coup attempt.
  10. In spite of the multiple evidence on the violent nature of the supposed peaceful protests, the existence of police and citizens killed with high calibre firearms, the IACHR characterized said protests as peaceful, describing them in this way in their preliminary report.
  11. In spite of the lack of impartiality and objectivity and the bias reflected in the preliminary report, our Government, acting in good faith and following up on the agreements from the National Dialogue, sent a communication on June 20 to the Executive Secretary of the IACHR, Paulo Abrao, within the framework of the Follow Up Mechanism (MESENI), so that he might provide accompaniment and assistance to the Verification and Security Commission created in the National Dialogue.
  12. The first team from MESENI/IACHR arrived in our country on June 24, 2018 remaining until today in Nicaragua. During this period the Government of Nicaragua has provided access and security to the IACHR/MESENI officials, likewise it has offered abundant information on each one of the violent events, abductions, and murders that the coup supporters have been carrying out against the members of the National Police and the population in general.
  13. In this context, on Monday July 2, 2018 the Office for Judicial Support of the National Police held a meeting with the delegation of MESENI/IACHR, led by the Commissioner Antonia Urrejola, providing a tour of the installations, access to interviews with those arrested, and with officers of the legal office and area for the control of prisoners and review of files.
  14. For the sake of promoting the conditions for dialogue and understanding, in spite of the serious alterations of public order, property damage, obstruction of public services, the police authorities agreed to the requests of the Episcopal Conference releasing people detained for the commission of these crimes. We cite by way of example:
  15. June 30, 2018, 10 prisoners were turned over, signing as a witness María Claudia Pulido from the IACHR.
  16. July 2 , 2018, at the request of Commissioner Antonia Urrejola, Jonatán de Jesús Aguinaga Gonzales was freed, arrested for illegal possession of a firearm.
  17. July 4, 2018 three prisoners were turned over, Commissioner Antonia Urrejola, Pablo Abrau and Fernanda dos Anjos signed as witnesses for the IACHR.
  18. July 7, 2018, eight prisoners were turned over, Marlene Alejos, the representative of the OHCHR and Pablo Abrau, from the IACHR signed as witnesses.
  19. July 16, 2018 the National Penitentiary System received a second visit from IACHR/MESENI, represented by Roberto Luis Bravo Figueroa, Legal adviser of the IACHR and Alexandro Rodolfo Álvarez Alarcón, Legal Adviser of the IACHR.
  20. On that occasion delegates of IACHR/MESENI requested interviews of 8 detainees. The authorities of the Penitentiary System informed the delegation of the IACHR that 3 were in prison, whose names where Julio José Ampié Machado, Jaime Ramón Ampié Toledo, Reinaldo Antonio Lira Ruques, William Efrain Picado Duartes and Guillermo Alberto Sobalbarro Oporta.
  21. The authorities of the Penitentiary System facilitated a tour of the wing where 48 detainees are located related to the crimes committed within the context of the coup attempt, so that they might observe the conditions of their confinement.
  22. On another matter, on May 30, 2018 the State of Nicaragua, showing its vocation for peace and ensuring access to justice through the clarification of the criminal deeds occurred during the coup attempt, signed the “Agreement between the Secretary General of the Organization of American States, the Interamerican Commission for Human Rights (IACHR) and the Government of Nicaragua to support the investigation of the acts of violence occurred in the period from April 18 to now in Nicaragua.”
  23. In follow up on that agreement, on July 2, 2018 the Attorney General of the Republic, the Inspector General of the National Police, the President and Vice President of the Supreme Court, the Minister of Health, the Ombudsperson for the Defense of Human Rights, the Prosecutor General of the Republic, the Director of the Medical Institute, the Minister of Foreign Relations and a representative of the Army of Nicaragua, received the members of the Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts (GIEI). In that meeting the mechanism for communication and coordination for the exchange of information was addressed.
  24. Based on paragraph 9 of the signed Agreement, which literally reads: “on the basis of the present Agreement, a Procedural Protocol will be signed once the parties comply with their respective legal facilities and internal procedures”, through a note on July 3, 2018, the Ministry of Foreign Relations sent to the Secretary General of the OAS, Luis Almagro and the Executive Secretary of the IACHR, Paulo Abrao, the proposal for the Procedural protocol without having received a response as of today.
  25. The members of the GIEI, outside the Procedural Protocol that was expected to be agreed upon between the State of Nicaragua, the IACHR and the Secretary General of the OAS, proceeded to carry out a series of actions in violation of the terms of the agreement and without having signed the Procedural Protocol, distancing themselves from what was contemplated in number 1.Ac and 1.C of being a group…” to collaborate with and support the investigations that the Nicaraguan authorities are carrying out.”
  26. July 3, 2018, in an interview provided to the communications media, the members of the GIEI confirmed the start of interviews of victims and family members, circumstances and procedures that corroborated in their communique on August 16, where the GIEI expressed having prioritized information gathering from direct interviews with family members. Likewise in interviews granted to communications media they confirmed requests for information to human rights organizations (NGOs).
  27. In this regard, in accordance with Nicaraguan legislation, acts of investigation to clarify criminal deeds are the exclusive competency of the Public Ministry and the National Police, in that sense the procedures of the GIEI violate our Constitution, the Penal Processing Code, and the organic laws of the Public Ministry and the National Police.
  28. The Government of the Republic of Nicaragua has acted in good faith, expecting impartiality and objectivity, maintaining expectations for accurate and real contributions that would support our efforts to restore peace and security to the Nicaraguan people, nevertheless, these processes have been characterized by an interventionist attitude of interference, echoing the policies of the United States Government against Nicaragua.
  29. On the other hand, our Government cannot let pass without mention your irresponsible intervention in the XV Latin American Summit on Political Marketing and Governance, held in Miami September 5-7, 2018, where you Secretary General Luis Almagro expressed in an accusatory and threatening way: “it is completely unacceptable that another country from the continent goes off the cliff into dictatorship. We should also be aware that we cannot allow it, and that in each case we should provide responses from the international community to suffocate the dictatorship that also is being installed in Nicaragua”, this places in evidence your participation in the criminal, interventionist, escalation, promoting terrorist acts in the political, economic and military order that violate the Human Rights of the Nicaraguan people and that in an open interventionist attitude in violation of International Law, undermines the sovereignty of Nicaragua.
  30. Likewise, your irresponsible, heinous and slanderous campaign against Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua, in expressing falsehoods this past October 16, 2018 in the United Nations where you Secretary General Almagro stated: “We have always said that bad practices propagate. And the worst practices that we see today in our Hemisphere, that we see here today in the case of Venezuela and Nicaragua, come from Cuba. Venezuela and Nicaragua did not become dictatorships overnight. It was a slow process, from democratically elected governments that, desperate to hold on to power, dismantled one by one democratic institutions with the active support and encouragement from Havana. Now, like in Cuba, they continue in power through brute force and fear.”
  31. Likewise, in the conference on Cuba this past December 7 in the OAS, you stated another falsehood about the “existence of terror and repression mechanisms that Cuba uses against its people and exports to Venezuela and Nicaragua.” Your lies and slander respond to your behavior as an instrument and political agent of the North American empire, interested in re-electing you in the Secretary General of the OAS.
  32. With your declarations, you violated the Charter of the Organization of American States, which points out that the Secretary General should impartially promote economic, social, legal, educational, scientific and cultural relations among all the member States of the Organization. Your behavior is an outrage to the countries of the Hemisphere. Your lying and violent words, show that you do not have the capacity nor the qualities to continue occupying the responsibility of the Secretary General, and much less be elected in the same post.
  33. Not even your own fellow citizens want you for your lying, slanderous, violent and irrational behaviors; expressed, among other things, in your sympathy and support for an eventual invasion and militar aggression against Venezuela. All this disqualifies and discredits you from continuing in the post and even more reason from attempting to be re-elected.
  34. This explains the behavior of the IACHR, MESENI, GIEI and OHCHR who have formed themselves into a platform for the dissemination of false information to promote internationally sanctions against our country, just as the IACHR official María Claudia Pulido did in her visit to the US Congress this past September 27, promoting from abroad the rupture of constitutional order and the coup attempt against the legitimate Government of Nicaragua, thus violating the impartial character established in the OAS Charter.
  35. Almagro, your previously mentioned interventions show that the actions carried out by the organizations of the OAS and the UN respond to the strategy of suffocating the people of Nicaragua announced by you, as was left demonstrated by the Report issued against Nicaragua by the High Commissioner of the UN on August 24, 2018, creating and preparing the conditions for the call that later the United States would make to include the topic of Nicaragua in the Informational Session of the Security Council of the UN on September 5, and the Permanent Council of the OAS, with the approval of the resolution “On Recent Events in Nicaragua” CP/RES.1110 (2182/18), which encourages Member States and Observers to implement measures that go to the detriment of the living conditions of Nicaraguans.
  36. Such threats constitute an explicit violation of the OAS Charter and the Charter of the United Nations, breaking the principle of non intervention in the internal affairs of States, promoting actions that undermine the peace, security, stability and progress achieved by Nicaragua.
  37. For the previous reasons, I am communicating to you the temporary suspension starting now of the Presence and visits of the Interamerican Commission for Human Rights (IACHR) and the Follow up Mechanism (MESENI). Likewise, I am communicating to you that in accordance with point 2 of the “Agreement between the Secretary General of the Organization of American States, the Interamerican Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) and the Government of Nicaragua to support the investigation of the events of violence occurred in the period between April 18, 2018 to May 30, 2018”, and because 6 months have passed since its signing, we also are communicating to you the expiration of the term, objectives and Mission, and in that sense we terminate the Mandate for the visit and permanence of the GIEI in our country. This temporary suspension of the IACHR, MESENI and the Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts (GIEI) will be until the conditions for respect for the sovereignty and end of interference in the internal affairs of Nicaragua are re-established.

I take this opportunity to express the assurances of my regard.

[Illegible Signature ]

Denis Moncada Colindres

Minister

[Seal of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Nicaragua

 

Mr

Luis Almagro Lemes

Secretary General

Organization of American States (OAS)

Washington, D.C.

 

Mr.

Paulo Abrao

Secretary General

Interamerican Commission on Human Rights

Washington, D.C.

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