Nicaragua officially asks to leave the OAS

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Nicaragua officially asked on Friday to leave the Organization of American States (OAS) after criticism of the organization over the “legitimacy” of the November 7 election which saw President Daniel Ortega reelected for a fourth consecutive term .

“I am writing to officially notify you of our unwavering decision to denounce the OAS Charter, in accordance with article 143, which initiates the definitive withdrawal and resignation of Nicaragua from this organization”, it is written in a signed letter by Nicaraguan Foreign Minister Denis Moncada and addressed to OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro.

Article 143 of the OAS Charter allows a state to withdraw from the organization after a two-year procedure, during which time the country must respect its obligations towards the organization.

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In this letter, a copy of which was sent to the media, the Minister of Foreign Affairs indicated that he was acting on the instructions of President Ortega.

The latter, in power since 2007 after having governed the country from 1979 to 1990, was re-elected on November 7 for a fourth consecutive presidential term.

The ballot was the target of severe criticism from the international community, not least due to the absence of any serious opponents, with seven potential candidates having been arrested in the six months before the election.

The OAS General Assembly declared on November 12 that the Nicaraguan elections “were neither free, nor fair, nor transparent and lack democratic legitimacy”, paving the way for a possible suspension of Nicaragua.

The exit of the OAS will further isolate Nicaragua, whose leaders are subject to international sanctions. President Ortega, his wife and vice-president Rosario Murillo, their ministers and other senior officials of the regime are now barred from entering the United States.

On November 16, Parliament, where Daniel Ortega holds an overwhelming majority, asked the head of state to remove his country from the OAS. The OAS’s request to withdraw followed “repeated actions by the OAS to interfere in the internal affairs of Nicaragua,” Parliament Speaker Gustavo Porras said.

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