Nicaragua breaks ties with the Netherlands, bars US envoy


Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega branded the Catholic Church a “perfect dictatorship” amid tensions with the religious institution. (AFP image)

MANAGUA: The government of Nicaragua yesterday severed diplomatic ties with the Netherlands over allegations of interventionism, hours after it said it would refuse the new US ambassador entry over his “meddling” attitude.

“Nicaragua, faced with the repeated interference, interventionist and neo-colonialist attitude of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, which has violated … with threats and work stoppages for the common good, informs the government of that country of our decision to immediately suspend diplomatic relations,” the Foreign Ministry said yesterday evening in a statement.

Earlier in the day, Nicaraguan President and former revolutionary Daniel Ortega lashed out at the European nation after learning it would not fund a long-promised hospital.

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“Those who come to disrespect our people, our homeland, should not show up again in Nicaragua. And we don’t want any relationship with this interventionist government,” Ortega said, referring to Dutch Ambassador to Central America Christine Pirenne, who is based in Costa Rica.

During a visit to the capital Managua, the President said Pirenne informed Nicaragua’s Foreign Minister Denis Moncada on Thursday that the Dutch would no longer finance a hospital that had been promised years ago.

“The ambassador came to speak to the Nicaraguans as if Nicaragua were a Dutch colony,” Ortega said.

The Netherlands closed its office in Managua in 2013 and conducts all of its Central American diplomatic work from Costa Rica.

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Ahead of Ortega’s comments, his wife, Nicaraguan Vice President Rosario Murillo, said yesterday that new US envoy Hugo Rodriguez “will not be allowed into our Nicaragua under any circumstances.”

“Let that be clear to the imperialists,” she added, reading a statement from the Foreign Office in state media.

The US Senate confirmed Rodriguez’s ambassadorship on Thursday, despite Nicaragua’s announcement in July that it would reject him.

Nicaragua said it decided to withdraw Rodriguez’s approval for making “disrespectful” comments at a Senate hearing.

Rodriguez had described Nicaragua as a “pariah state in the region” and branded Ortega’s government a “dictatorship”.

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“I would support using all economic and diplomatic means to bring about a change of direction in Nicaragua,” he told the Senate.

One measure he proposed was kicking Nicaragua out of the Dominican Republic-Central America Free Trade Agreement.

According to local media and diplomatic sources, the government on Wednesday asked EU ambassador Bettina Muscheidt to leave the country without giving any reason.

Also on Wednesday, Ortega branded the Catholic Church a “perfect dictatorship,” reflecting ongoing tensions between his government and the religious institution over the 2018 protests, which Ortega has accused the church of supporting.