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Montevideo, January 28th 2022 - 09:00 UTC

 

 

Nicaragua hands over Taiwanese Embassy to Chinese authorities

Friday, December 31st 2021 - 09:39 UTC
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Ortega chose to side with China Ortega chose to side with China

Nicaragua's Government has seized former Taiwan's Embassy in Managua and handed it over to China, which maintains the Asian island is nothing but a rogue province.

The Nicaraguan government has seized the former embassy and diplomatic offices of Taiwan, saying they belong to China. Before being expelled from the country, departing Taiwanese diplomats had tried to donate the property to the Roman Catholic church.

But President Daniel Ortega's government claimed any such donation would be invalid and that the building in an upscale Managua neighborhood belonged to China. The Ortega administration broke off diplomatic relations with Taiwan this month, saying it would recognize only the mainland government.

Taiwan's Foreign Relations Ministry condemned the “gravely illegal actions of the Ortega regime,” saying the Nicaraguan government had violated standard procedures by giving Taiwanese diplomats just two weeks to leave the country. Taiwan “also condemns the arbitrary obstruction by the Nicaraguan government of the symbolic sale of its property to the Nicaraguan Catholic church.”

“There is only one China,” the Nicaraguan government had said in a statement announcing the change. “The People's Republic of China is the only legitimate government that represents all China, and Taiwan is an inalienable part of the Chinese territory.”

The move increased Taiwan's isolation despite new ties with Lithuania and Slovakia, which still do not formally recognize Taiwan as a country, which has only 14 foreign embassies left in Taipei.

China has been poaching Taiwan's diplomatic allies over the past few years, reducing the number of countries that recognize the democratic island as a sovereign nation. China is against Taiwan representing itself in global forums or diplomacy. The Solomon Islands chose to recognize China in 2019, cutting diplomatic ties with Taiwan.

Taiwan depicts itself as a defender of democracy, while Ortega was reelected in November in what the White House called a “pantomime election.”

“The arbitrary imprisonment of nearly 40 opposition figures since May, including seven potential presidential candidates, and the blocking of political parties from participation rigged the outcome well before election day,” U.S. President Joseph Biden had said in a statement in November.

Nicaragua established diplomatic relations with Taiwan in the 1990s under then-President Violeta Chamorro, who had defeated Ortega at the polls. Ortega was elected back to power in 2007 and had maintained ties with Taipei until now.

In another controversial move, Ortega ignored the popular request for “Christmas without political prisoners” and chose to free over 1,000 common criminals, instead of any of the 171 incarcerated journalists and opposition leaders and militants, who were also denied family visits.

Since last November, opposition and human rights organizations had been campaigning for “Christmas without political prisoners” in Nicaragua, which had achieved significant national and international support.

Since 2016, the Ortega regime began a release program that has reached some 26,386 inmates come December, “received the generosity of the Nicaraguan people,” according to Vice President Rosario Murillo, Ortega's wife.

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