Nicaragua's Ambassador to the Organization of American States (OAS), Luis Alvarado, Wednesday described Uruguay as a “dictatorship,” prompting a diplomatic rift with his colleague from the South American country.
At a time when Nicaragua is under scrutiny for systematic human rights violations against political opponents to the regime of President Daniel Ortega, the allegations were swiftly countered by the head of the Uruguayan delegation: Know that if you say another infamy of that nature, I will act accordingly, said Washington Abdala.
Alvarado made those remarks during a virtual session of the OAS Permanent Council about what is known in Uruguay as a Law of Urgent Consideration (LUC).
“As for the distinguished ambassador of Uruguay (Washington Abdala), we are seriously concerned about what the Uruguayan dictatorship is doing with its president at the helm. It continues to promote laws to impose a muzzle on the media. In the last year there were 49 registered cases of threats to the freedom of expression of journalists in Uruguay,” said Alvarado.
“And according to the seventh report of the Center for Archives and Access to Public Information (info), this is what they report: in July the Law of Urgent Consideration was approved, which contained imprecise provisions that restricted freedom of expression, assembly and freedom. It prohibited demonstrations and social protests. So, what advice can Mr Ambassador give us?”
Abdala's responded: “I emphatically reject the disqualification of Uruguay as a dictatorship that Mr Alvarado has just uttered. I believe that he is entering into gigantic nonsense. I believe that he is absolutely unaware of the legitimacy of origin and exercise of the government of the Oriental Republic of Uruguay, of Dr Luis Lacalle Pou, who was democratically elected, and that the government and the opposition, despite having nuances, continue to coexist in a peaceful and democratic way.”
“I do not allow the Nicaraguan ambassador a disqualification of that nature. I do not allow it in this territory, or in any other territory. It is the last time I allow you to say such nonsense. It is the last time!”
Uruguay's Senate had approved Tuesday a declaration rejecting “persecution and imprisonment” of leaders in Nicaragua after five opposition candidates for the presidency and other political opponents were detained by the Ortega regime.
And Uruguay's Foreign Ministry had stated on June 15 saying that the country “rejects the arrest and criminal prosecution to which opposition political leaders and possible candidates have been subjected” from Nicaragua and called for a democratic and internationally recognized [electoral] process.”
Uruguay also supported an OAS resolution that unequivocally” condemned the arrest of opponents of the Ortega government, and called for the “immediate release of the presidential candidates and all political prisoners.”
CAinfo also criticized Ambassador Alvarado: “The accusation of the Nicaraguan ambassador to the OAS to the Uruguayan government is unfair, and the use of the CAinfo report to substantiate this attack is inappropriate and dishonest,” it posted on social media, adding that although that report does refer to “episodes which affect freedom of expression,” there was no intention to depict the Uruguayan government as a dictatorship.
“Uruguay is not a dictatorship. It has a democratic government, emerged out of free elections, that does not imprison or persecute journalists or opposition presidential candidates, as is the case in Nicaragua,” added Cainfo.