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OAS resolution calls for free elections in Nicaragua

Costa Rica joined 25 other members of the Organization of American States (OAS) in condemning repression in Nicaragua and calling for fair elections.

The resolution urges Nicaragua “to implement without delay the principles of the Inter American Democratic Charter and all internationally recognized electoral standards, including agreed-upon electoral reforms, with a view to holding free, fair, and transparent elections as soon as possible, under OAS and other credible international observation.”

It received 26 votes in favor — including the United States and Costa Rica — with seven abstentions and one absent (Nicaragua).

The votes in favor were: Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, The Bahamas, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominica, Grenada, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Saint Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay, United States, and Venezuela.

Argentina, Barbados, Bolivia, GuatemalaHonduras, Mexico, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines abstained from the vote.

The resolution says the OAS is “alarmed” at the findings of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, which found in Nicaragua “arbitrary detention of people,” and the “cancellation of two other political parties,” which eliminated “all possible options for the candidacies of the main opposition groups” before the November general elections.

During the upcoming elections, Nicaragua’s Daniel Ortega will seek a fourth consecutive presidential term.

Bradley A. Freden, Interim Permanent Representative of the United States to the OAS, said the resolution “sends a clear message to President Ortega and Vice President Murillo that their actions will not be tolerated by countries in the Americas.”

“With the Ortega-Murillo government’s decision to ban the last genuine opposition party, the elections scheduled for November have lost all credibility. This so-called election is nothing but a sham,” Freden added.

While global leaders say Nicaragua is approaching dictatorship, the Nicaraguan government has accused Costa Rica, without proof, of “interference in internal affairs” and has said the opposition plans to overthrow Ortega with United States support.

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