The Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), Luis Almagro, on Wednesday urged its members to suspend the participation of Nicaragua in this body after the arrest of several opposition politicians.
Specifically, Almagro asked “To the Permanent Council the holding of an emergency meeting in which (…) the activation of the necessary mechanisms for the application to Nicaragua of Article 21 of the Inter-American Democratic Charter should be considered.”
Said article provides for suspending the participation of an OAS member if two-thirds of its members consider that there has been “a breakdown of the democratic order” and that “diplomatic efforts have been unsuccessful”.
In a letter he sent to the President of the Permanent Council, Ambassador Ronald Sanders of Antigua and Barbuda, Almagro quoted “an unprecedented onslaught against opposition leaders, pre-candidates for positions of public election, social and business leaders ”.
The Nicaraguan authorities have detained four candidates for the Presidency in recent days in the upcoming elections in which the president, Sandinista Daniel Ortega, is seeking reelection.
As a result of the 2018 anti-government protests in Nicaragua, Almagro began the process of applying the Democratic Charter with the beginning of diplomatic negotiations.
Just a year ago, Almagro already asked the Permanent Council to declare a breakdown of the democratic order in the Central American country, which would lead to its suspension.
To approve the suspension, the highest form of sanction that the OAS has, 24 votes are necessary, that is, two-thirds of the 34 countries that are active members of the organization (Cuba belongs to the institution but has not participated in it since 1962).
In its 70-year history, the OAS has only suspended two states, Cuba and Honduras.