Saturday, January 23, 2016

Ortega’s Wall Falls in Central America

Ortega's Wall Falls in Central America / 14ymedio, Carlos F. Chamorro
Posted on January 23, 2016

14ymedio, Carlos F. Chamorro, 22 January 2016 — The arrival of the first
Cuban migrants to the United States, although they represent only a very
small number compared to the more than 6,000 who are still stranded in
Costa Rica, symbolizes the fall of the hated wall raised by President
Daniel Ortega to block their way through Nicaragua. A wall built with
the deployment of military troops, police and tear gas, citing reasons
of "national security" to not grant Cubans temporary transit visas,
although Ortega's reasons failed to convince anyone in Nicaragua, nor in
the member countries of the Central American Integration System (SICA).

The wall was knocked down by a diplomatic operation with the decisive
participation of Mexico, which facilitated an agreement with Costa Rica
and the northern countries of Central America – El Salvador, Guatemala,
Honduras and Belize – and with the support of the International
Organization for Migration (IOM), the approval of the United States and
no objection from Cuba. A safe route has emerged to resolve an
outstanding immigration problem, whose solution was always in the hands
of SICA, but was boycotted by the arrogance of Commander Ortega.

Indeed, the underlying problem will not be resolved until the US
Congress repeals the Cuban Adjustment Act and its policy of wet foot-dry
foot, which gives Cubans a differentiated and unique treatment in the
world with regards to migration. It is a law as anachronistic as the US
embargo, in these times of normalization of diplomatic relations with
Cuba and sooner or later its turn will come.

But it is one thing to demand the repeal of this law and quite another
to orchestrate blackmail like that which Ortega imposed on SICA to keep
his southern frontier closed. At the end of the day, the Cubans flew
from the town of Liberia in Costa Rica to El Salvador, and from there
made the trip to the United States through three countries.

Ortega's wall raised the price of the journey, but cost the government
of Nicaragua still more, leaving the Commander "out on a limb" and
politically totally isolated in a region he is trying to lead against
the United States on the issue of migration. In addition, Ortega dropped
the mask of "Christian solidarity," demonstrating to his neighbors and
to international public opinion the existence of a demagogic discourse
that only masks the authoritarian regime we suffer in Nicaragua.

At the root of this apparently irrational action by Nicaragua, there is
a structural cause. With Ortega, a state foreign policy ruled by
national interests ended. He substituted a conspiratorial strategy based
exclusively on alignments with friends and enemies according to the
Commander's own interests. A conspiracy managed by a closed family
circle, marked by a lack of transparency and public debate.

Thus, the canal concession was negotiated with the Chinese businessman
Wang Jing, in detriment to the national interests, and in the same
dynamic, in virtue of the alliance between Ortega and Putin, Nicaragua
supports the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

And as we are also patronage partners with Venezuela's Chavistas,
Nicaragua denounced in international forums the "economic war" and
"international plot" to overthrow President Maduro, while Ortega is
profiting from private businesses sheltered under the diversion of
millions in cooperation with the Venezuelan State.

On the issue of Cuban migrants, Ortega has taken advantage of an
ideological alignment with Cuba to attack the United States. The paradox
is that as long as the Cuban one-party regime occupies the center of his
personal political ideology, the economic model does not represent a
pattern to follow given its palpable failure and because the Commander,
ultimately a Stalinist pragmatist, holds among the greatest amount of
private capital in the country and is a partner in huge businesses.

In addition to his alignment with Cuba, the blockade of Cuban migrants
has also affected Ortega's political blindness leading him to perceive
the democratic Government of Costa Rica as part of the enemy camp
conspiring against him. A perception rooted in the cold war of the
eighties, which, with the necessary collaborators on the part of Costa
Rica, has prevented the two countries from maintaining a political
dialogue over the last eight years.

Nicaragua being a country of emigrants – more than 20% of our population
lives in the United States, Costa Rica and other countries – the absence
of a permanent dialogue with Costa Rica is inexcusable and represents a
mockery of the interests and rights of our fellow citizens who are
working temporarily or permanently in that country.

For legal reasons, but also as a moral and human rights issue, Nicaragua
should have a state policy to support legal and safe migration of our
citizens to Costa Rica. However, Ortega has never designed a policy to
support our migrants, and was even less prepared to accept the claim
that Cuban migrants crossing through Nicaragua was not a political
conspiracy, but a legitimate matter of migratory human rights.

Now we are facing the third consecutive failure of Ortega's foreign
policy over the past two months. The first was during the COP21 on
climate change in Paris, where his government was one of the few in the
world – forming a select club with North Korea – that opposed the global
agreement, refusing to submit a proposal to reduce greenhouse gas
emissions. A few days later, in The Hague, there was the ruling of the
International Court of Justice condemning Nicaragua for violating the
sovereignty of Costa Rican territory and even obliging it to negotiate
compensation. The third is obviously the fiasco of Cuban migrants.

Common sense suggests that we should wait for a correction, but that
will not happen until there is a democratic political change in
Nicaragua. The worst of times, therefore, comes with the same lofty
rhetoric of Ortega, fighting "battles" against his enemies. But at least
we are left with the consolation that on matters of human rights,
Ortega's demagoguery has come to an end.

Confidential's cartoonist, Pedro X. Molina, immortalized Commander
Daniel Ortega in a cartoon entitled "Dany-Trump," a fusion of both
characters, in which Trump's stuck-on blond tuft replenishes Ortega's
baldness like one of the metallic yellow "Tees of Life" installed by the
First Lady of Managua, presenting us with a new symbol of the regime.

Source: Ortega's Wall Falls in Central America / 14ymedio, Carlos F.
Chamorro | Translating Cuba -

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