In one of the many curves that there is on the road that connects the municipality of Rionegro with the city of Medellín, a big billboard stands tall with little to do with Colombia. “In Nicaragua, crimes against humanity were committed. No more impunity.” announces the sign on a mountain.
The message occupies a strategic place in this area of Antioquia: the majority of people and officials who attend the 49th General Assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS) travel through this route coming from and to the airport.
The billboard is symptomatic of what will be the General Assembly of the OAS, which is being held June 26, 27 and 28 in Colombia’s second largest city of Medellin.
The Nicaraguan crisis will be addressed in the official agenda of the event, as well as the parallel activities that take place prior to the meeting of foreign ministers: discussion on extrajudicial executions, prevention of crimes against humanity, freedom of expression, and exclusive talks on Nicaragua.
Arriving also in Medellín are some of the released political prisoners, such as the leader of the 19 de Abril de Masaya movement, Crithian Fajardo, and journalist Lucia Pineda, as well as human rights defenders, members of the Civic Alliance for Justice and Democracy, and the Unidad Nacional Azul y Blanco.
In spite of the expectations, “the situation in Nicaragua” occupies the last place in the OAS proposed agenda proposed, though this does not mean that it will not be a priority.
“It’s not the same. Ortega governs Nicaragua, Maduro represses Venezuela.” Luis Almagro, OAS Secretary General
The government of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo rejected the inclusion of the national crisis in the OAS agenda. The power couple “consider that it is an interventionist act in the internal affairs of Nicaragua, ignoring the progress of the Government in the strengthening of peace and harmony among Nicaraguans, as well as interfering with the development of the negotiating table by the understanding and the peace”.
The high interest in Nicaragua in Medellin is similar to that experienced in the last two general assemblies held in Cancun and Washington with the crisis in Venezuela. But the question that is repeated is that, will this interest materialize forcefully in the meeting of foreign ministers, the highest authority of the OAS.
Currently, a Working Group, headed by Canada, proposes a resolution within the framework of the Democratic Charter.
The proposed resolution is for the creation of a commission “within the framework of Article 20 of the Inter-American Democratic Charter,” so that it may “carry out diplomatic efforts at the highest level to seek a peaceful and effective solution to the political and social crisis in Nicaragua, and to render a report within three months “.
“Ortega is not Maduro and Nicaragua is not Venezuela.” Luis Almagro, OAS Secretary General
This proposal is interpreted in Medellin as another opportunity for the Ortega-Murillo regime to negotiate an exit to the socio-political crisis that began in April 2018.
The OAS Secretary General, Luis Almagro, in an interview to the Colombian newspaper La Opinión, his statements reinforce the idea that there is still an opportunity for the Ortega-Murillo dictatorship to negotiate an exit to the crisis, and not for Nicolás Maduro in Venezuela.
Almagro defended Ortega by saying, “There is no direct comparison between Nicaragua and Venezuela. Ortega is not Maduro. The recent release of practically all of the political prisoners in Nicaragua demonstrates levels of Sandinista commitment to achieve a negotiated solution.”
Without mentioning the self-imposed amnesty of the regime, Almagro added, “There is a long way to go (in Nicaragua): the restoration of public liberties, the rule of law, civil and political rights, etc., but in four processes of dialogue in Venezuela a step like this could not be achieved.”