After taking the weekend to consider their options, the Alianza Civica laid down the gauntlet: They will only return to the negotiation once “the Government of Nicaragua shows the country convincing proof of willingness to find solutions to the crisis, and to contribute to peace.”
— Alianza Cívica Nicaragua (@AlianzaCivicaNi) March 10, 2019
So far, the OrMu dictatorship has done very little to demonstrate good faith. On Saturday morning, for example, news broke about a protest staged inside the Carcel Modelo, when a group of prisoners broke through the roof, after several of them had been severely beaten. Now, theAlianza is asking for four very specific signs of good faith:
Freedom for political prisoners
An end of repression and kidnappings
Full observance and respect for international standards about the treatment of political prisoners, including the prohibition of cruel, unusual, and degrading treatment, as well as providing prompt medical attention to detainees.
An end of harassment against the families of detainees
In addition, the Alianza said it will “continue its process of internal and external consultations with different stakeholders, including the families of political prisoners and civil society organizations.”
The Alianza’s announcement plays on the only leverage that the organization has over the OrMu dictatorship, namely, OrMu’s acceptance of the Alianza as a legitimate negotiation partner. Indeed, there are other groups in Nicaragua who could have been considered, but were not. This includes the Unidad Nacional Azul y Blanco (UNAB), the umbrella organization in which the Alianza itself is member, along with the Articulacion de Movimientos Sociales, the Coordinator Universitaria, and the Frente Amplio pr la Democracia.
On Saturday, UNAB issued a statement characterizing the government’s call the negotiations as an “act of false will”. The government “has failed to meet any of the demands expressed through the Alianza Civica. On the contrary, it continues carrying out one of the greatest massacres in history against a disarmed people.”
Comunicado ante anuncio de ausencia de la CEN de las negociaciones.
La Unidad Nacional, valora el anuncio de la ausencia de la CEN en las negociaciones, como un acto de seriedad y dignidad, de quien ha mostrado un claro compromiso con las demandas de la ciudadanía #UnidadNacional pic.twitter.com/xrGoEuygAF
— Unidad Nacional Azul y Blanco (@UnidadNic) March 10, 2019
UNAB called for an immediate application of the Democratic Charter of the OAS, “given the State of Nicaragua’s repeated lack of compliance with any of the human rights [international treaties] it has agreed to.”
The Democratic Charter establishes the procedures that the OAS follows in cases in which the constitutional order has been altered, with risks to democracy, or completely interrupted. Usually, diplomatic measures are preferred. However, in extreme cases, the OAS can suspend a member state, thus making it ineligible for funding and/or participation in any OAS program. Military intervention is not part of the mechanisms contemplated in the Democratic Charter.
An OAS delegation is scheduled to arrive next week. The Alianza plans to ask for a bilateral meeting with the delegation.