Q REPORTS (Confidential) Eight former presidents of Costa Rica – Oscar Arias, Abel Pacheco, Rafael Calderón, José María Figueres, Miguel Ángel Rodríguez, Laura Chinchilla, Luis Guillermo Solís and Carlos Alvarado – have sent an open letter to President Rodrigo Chaves, advocating that Costa Rica does not support the candidacy of Werner Vargas, proposed by the dictatorship of Daniel Ortega to occupy the general secretariat of the Central American Integration System (SICA).
The former presidents consider that “it would be incongruous with the values that Costa Rica defends and promotes – promotion of peace, human rights and democracy – to endorse the election of a candidate proposed by the regime despotic and oppressive that governs Nicaragua, to occupy the main place of the Central American integration system”.
Read more: Former presidents call on government to reconsider support to Nicaragua for SICA General Secretariat
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Former President Luis Guillermo Solís, historian and political scientist, director of the Center for Latin American Studies at Florida International University (FIU), considers that “with this designation, the door would be open for Nicaragua to installs in a system from which it should have been expelled. for a long time, because it is a regime that is not democratic.
In an interview with Esta Semana and CONFIDENCIAL, Solís expressed his expectation that the presidents of Costa Rica, Panama and the Dominican Republic, which form the “Alliance for Development in Democracy”, “appreciate the importance of not not give oxygen to Daniel Ortega’s diet. because of the damage this means for Central America.
Confidential: Costa Rica’s foreign minister announced on Thursday that he is joining the region’s consensus in supporting the appointment of Werner Vargas, the Daniel Ortega regime’s candidate for the post of secretary general of SICA. What would be the implications of this eventual election?
Luis Guillermo Solis: I think that, symbolically, more implications than in practice, because SICA is very much in decline and it is an institution that for several years has had very little impact on Central American life and, therefore, the Secretary general, even if Daniel Ortega’s candidate is, he will only have a very small margin of action. But, in the symbolic part, it is terrible, because it means almost normalizing the presence of Nicaragua in the SICA, which is inadmissible being an atrocious dictatorship, neither in the spirit of Esquipulas, who created the SICA, nor in the SICA rules, the idea of a democracy that participates with all other governments on an equal footing is present, so from a political point of view and from a regional perspective, I think it is very convenient that this does not happen.
Confidential: Several of the countries that make up SICA, including Costa Rica, Panama, the Dominican Republic and El Salvador, have also signed OAS declarations in which they do not recognize the legitimacy of the November 7 elections in Nicaragua. Would this eventual election have any meaning in terms of how they position themselves against the Nicaraguan regime?
Luis Guillermo Solis: Admittedly, it would be very incoherent for the countries which held with a firm hand, with great temperance, the line of opposition to the dictatorship, to reverse this position by an election in a regional body. It seems to me that would be absurd, and that they are doing it, moreover, without any political frame of reference that adorns at least this decision with regard to, for example, the condition of political prisoners in Nicaragua.
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We are facing a regime that has not only murdered, that has used state terrorism to violently repress its own people, but also a government that has isolated itself from the international community, that ignores what the community The international community demands that he have no respect for his own fellow citizens who wanted to participate in an election or open the spaces for an election that ended up stealing the Ortega government.
So, yes, I believe that the announcement itself is complex and if it materializes, it seems to me that it would be very bad for the image of Central America. Who is going to want to come and give us resources for a regional system that includes a dictatorship like that and also for the countries that participated in the election itself?
Confidential: The rejection of previous Ortega candidates was based on the argument that they did not meet the requirements for the position, it seems that the acceptance of this candidate is justified by the fact that it is a professional with experience in the integrationist system. But will they elect a leader or grant legitimacy to the regime he represents?
Luis Guillermo Solis: Yes, it is that I believe that if the discussion is placed on the person and a greater perspective is not seen on what this person represents and what the Central American governments want for SICA, things become very complicated . We know that officials or supporters who are officials of the Ortega regime are going to pay attention to this regime. There is no organic separation of which one can say that it is a question of a technician who is independent of the government.
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No, this is a run-see-and-tell by Daniel Ortega, who came to SICA protected by the dictatorship, which is ultimately the entity that sponsors him. Thus, it seems to me that emphasizing whether it is appropriate or not constitutes an error in the argument concerning the substance of the problem, namely that with this designation the door is open for the Nicaragua is settling into a system from which it should have been expelled long ago, because it is an undemocratic regime.
Confidential: Is it inevitable that the presidents, or at least the presidents who represent the democratic governments of Central America, will ratify this decision of the ministers of foreign affairs? Do they have another option? The Nicaraguan opposition has proposed, for example, to appoint an interim administrator.
Luis Guillermo Solis: Yes, it seems to me that the presidents can consider, in the next few days when they meet, whether they use the mechanism that they deem necessary. You can reflect on these observations that have been made from different points, because this debate has edges in different countries, and the letter from the Nicaraguan opposition has also been received.
It seems to me that many things can be done or even that we can do what Nicaragua has been doing for many years now, which breaks a consensus without which there is no possibility of having a secretary general and the system has been locked. Which hurts me a lot, because it is a body that promotes or could promote regional development projects, but the world does not stop either.
Here we have to weigh human rights, and we have to weigh the lives of people who are unduly imprisoned and whose rights are not only violated but also physically tortured, so I think presidents have a wide menu to apply in the years to come days and weeks.
Confidential: Ironically, over the past decade, the Ortega regime has become a haven for former officials from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala, accused of corruption, who have expressly obtained nationality and now some of those governments who indicate the Ortega government to promote impunity, they would give it legitimacy with this election.
Luis Guillermo Solis: Yes, it all gets very confusing and, worst of all, it looks very ugly. In other words, in a world where we are witnessing an authoritarian wave in which Central America, which was a region where a peace plan had been established, was functioning better and better with disparate democracies, each with its own convictions , evolving, including Nicaragua, with problems like in each of our countries, of governance, of transparency in the public service, joins this discussion. Few democracies are ready to fight and I think we have to fight, and the fight for democracy must be led by all the democracies that embrace each other.
Confidential: There are three countries in the region, Costa Rica, together with Panama and the Dominican Republic, which have even promoted an alliance to promote development with democracy, while there are other governments which have another type of trend. It seems everyone is in favor of granting this normalization to the Ortega regime through SICA. Is there a vacuum of democratic leadership in the governments of the Dominican Republic, Costa Rica and Panama?
Luis Guillermo Solis: Indeed, there are, and these are three governments that are very strong, because they are the three countries that have the greatest relative development in the area. I believe that there is still room for the presidents of these three countries to assess, assess, the importance of not giving political oxygen to the regime of Daniel Ortega, by appointing his representative to the post of secretary general of the IF IT.
I still hope that a broad view of what this means for Central America will prevail, of the damage that can be done to it, especially since international cooperation, from the United States and Europe, which are the main sources of cooperation for Central America, is also very critical of the Ortega regime and I believe that this group of countries, this so-called “Southern Triangle”, which is not really a triangle or southern , could bring much more than what they do today.
Confidential: This discussion would also appear to have resonance in how regional and multilateral organizations position themselves. For example, the Central American Bank for Economic Integration was a fundamental pillar of financing the Ortega regime, but now the World Bank is also granting the government a loan of 116 million dollars, intended to deal with the covid pandemic. 19, although Nicaragua has not met any of the transparency requirements regarding information on contagion, testing, mortality, vaccination and other aspects of covid 19.
Luis Guillermo Solis: It’s like that. Sometimes I don’t understand why it is so difficult for us democracies to be firm about the minimum conditions that must be provided for governments to be part of the international community under conditions of, say, acceptability .
As a historian, I am troubled by the fact that these regimes are able to resist and consolidate little by little thanks to the support of international multilateral financial organizations, including regional ones.
CABEI is the clearest case, that in addition to giving resources to Nicaragua for matters of public security, which we know how it ended, with terrible repression, they gave Nicaragua the possibility of use as a bill of exchange for negotiations with others. countries, which have led to situations like the ones we are experiencing today.
The argument is always that we have to normalize, we can’t always remain isolated like that, that we have to be pragmatic, but the burden of proof always rests on democracy and not on dictatorship, that’s what matches.
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