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The Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), Luis Almagro, urged its members to suspend Nicaragua’s participation in this organization following the arrest of several opposition politicians.
Specifically, Almagro asked “the Permanent Council to hold an urgent meeting in which (…) the activation of mechanisms necessary for the application to Nicaragua of Article 21 of the Inter-American Democratic Charter” should be considered.
This article provides for the suspension of the participation of a member of the OAS if two thirds of its members consider that “a rupture of the democratic order” has occurred and that “diplomatic efforts have been unsuccessful.”
In a letter sent to the chairman of the Permanent Council, Ambassador Ronald Sanders of Antigua and Barbuda, Almagro cited “an unprecedented onslaught against opposition leaders, pre-candidates for elected office, social and business leaders.”
Nicaraguan authorities have arrested in recent days four presidential hopefuls in the upcoming elections in which Sandinista dictator Daniel Ortega is seeking re-election.
In the wake of the 2018 anti-government protests in Nicaragua, Almagro initiated the process of applying the Democratic Charter with the start of diplomatic demarches.
Just a year ago, Almagro already asked the Permanent Council to declare a breakdown of democratic order in the Central American country, which would lead to its suspension.
To approve the suspension, the highest form of sanction that the OAS has, 24 votes are required, that is, two thirds of the 34 countries that are active members of the organization (Cuba belongs to the institution but has not participated in it since 1962).
In its 70-year history, the OAS has only suspended two states, Cuba and Honduras.