Nicaragua allows Russian troops to enter its territory

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The regime of Daniel Ortega-Rosario Murillo allowed Russian personnel, ships and aircraft to enter Nicaragua from July 1 to December 31, 2022. Russian troops will participate in humanitarian aid, military exercises and operations against the activities illegal activities on the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean, indicates the decree of June 7 in the Official Journal.

“The region has reason to feel threatened. Nicaragua bought offensive rather than defensive armaments from the Russians. The 80 tanks he acquired are perfectly suited for an armed entry into any Central American capital,” said former opposition lawmaker, lawyer and political analyst Eliseo Núñez. Dialogo. “The Russians in Nicaragua, with conventional and technological military capabilities, are a danger to the region. We already see what is happening in Costa Rica with hackers blocking the internet […]who coincidentally come from Russia.

The decree includes the entry of 80 Russian soldiers, in turn, to participate “in exchanges of experience and training on humanitarian aid operations” with the Nicaraguan army’s special operations command. In addition, 50 additional soldiers will take part in security training, and another 50 Russian servicemen will exchange their experiences “in the tasks of confrontation and the fight against drug trafficking and transnational organized crime”, the decree said.

Security and defense experts have pointed out that Russia has no experience in combating organized crime and narcotics trafficking operating in Latin America, despite running an intelligence architecture through the system station Glonass satellite surveillance and the police training center, both in Managua. “And if he has it, he doesn’t know how to handle it because he’s not there like the US agencies,” said Roberto Cajina, a Nicaraguan security and defense expert and former adviser to the ministry. of the defense. Dialogo. “[…] They don’t have any real information on how the cartels work and on the routes.

According to some security experts, allowing Russian troops to enter Nicaragua is not related to humanitarian purposes, as the decree states, but to espionage and intelligence gathering.

“I believe Russian troops will be used for intelligence purposes, to gather intelligence in the region,” John Feeley, former US ambassador to Panama, told a Nicaraguan television broadcast. Esta Semana. “If Russian soldiers come to Nicaragua to carry out humanitarian activities, I invite the Nicaraguan people and any observer to watch what Russian soldiers are doing in Ukraine.”

“Nicaragua has invited Russian forces to carry out exercises, even if they are humanitarian, at a time when this country is invading a neighbor and committing human rights violations in Ukraine. We find this provocative on the part of the Nicaraguan regime and dangerous for our hemisphere,” US Under Secretary of State for Hemispheric Affairs Brian Nichols told German TV. DW. “Obviously, we need to use the levers and tools in our power to express our disagreement with their actions.”

Former Nicaraguan ambassador to the Organization of American States (OAS) Arturo McFields, who resigned from his post in March after criticizing the Ortega-Murillo regime, agreed. “Contrary to [U.S.] Southern Command which provides humanitarian aid, hospital ships, medicines, surgeries and free quality services to those who need it most, Russian cooperation promotes espionage, techniques of collective repression, torture, armored tanks, [and] not-so-secret bases,” McFields said via Twitter.

Juan González, senior director for the Western Hemisphere at the United States National Security Council, warned of the repercussions in the region not only at the diplomatic level, but also at the commercial level.

“There is a consensus here that Nicaragua is moving in a direction that worries everyone in the hemisphere, regardless of political spectrum of governments. […]; we are now looking very forcefully at their presence in the Central American Free Trade Agreement,” González said. Voice of America on June 14, at the closing of the 9th Summit of the Americas. “We have broad national security powers to impose restrictions on any country for national security matters. The invitation of outside armies, especially those that have invaded another country, is something everyone should be concerned about.

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