"The first thing we have to say is that in Nicaragua there are no political prisoners"

Submitted bytortilla onMar, 25/09/2018 - 12:25

Tortilla con Sal, 19 de septiembre 2018

Interview with Carlos Emilio López, Vice President of the National Assembly’s Commission for Women, Children, Family and Youth

Tortilla con Sal : Would it be fair to accuse the IACHR and the United Nations High Commissioner of hiding behind the alibi that they can only receive complaints against the State so as to avoid their duty to investigate all the human rights abuses committed by the opposition in Nicaragua?

Carlos Emilio López : Human rights are universal. Human rights are for all people without distinction of age or sex, of economic or social status, of ethnic origin or their political choice or any other human condition. Human rights belong to all people, but human rights in turn must be respected by all, by all institutions, public and private, State and civil.

In 1993, with the approval of the Vienna Declaration of Human Rights, the subject of respect for human rights was re-conceptualized. For many years it was considered that only States should respect human, rights but that understanding is already out of date. The reconceptualization of human rights is that States must respect human rights but companies, churches, organizations must also do so, social organizations, oligopolies, the media, people as individuals.

In other words, we are all obliged to respect human rights, not only State institutions. Therefore, when a political party violates rights, it must be pointed out. When companies violate the rights of workers. When media invade privacy. When advertising agencies access personal data and abuse the inviolability of one’s home. We are all obliged to respect human rights.

Therefore, when the coup organizers want to subvert public order, they are violating civil rights. They are violating political rights, because they want to disrespect a constitutional period, a period of democratically elected authorities that have political legitimacy, that have social legitimacy and that have a legally protected framework. Therefore, any political force that wants to promote a coup is committing a violation of political rights.

But also, by their engagement in torture, murder, kidnapping, impeding freedom of movement, mobilization, they are committing violation of individual rights, civil rights, economic rights, social rights, which must be pointed out, which must be questioned by human rights organizations.

TcS : In this context, what has been the government's behavior with respect to human rights?

Carlos Emilio López: The first thing we have to say is that in Nicaragua there are no political prisoners. A political prisoner is a person who is arrested because they have expressed thier political ideas in a peaceful and civic way. In Nicaragua, that has not happened. In Nicaragua what we have is a group of people who have acted in a chaotic, violent, terrorist, intimidating way and who have committed illicit acts. That is, they have carried out actions that violate criminal law. Therefore, we do not have political prisoners.

What we have is a group of people who have committed common crimes and in the framework of these common crimes, such as torture, murder, kidnapping, illegal possession of arms, arms trafficking, financing of terrorism, terrorism, sexual abuse, destruction of public and private property, destruction of social and community property, among other crimes committed. The human rights and procedural guarantees that the supreme law establishes and that Nicaragua’s criminal and procedural order establishes are being respected.

That is to say, they have been detained through a court order. They have been arrested by police authority. They have been remitted to the order of the judge within the timeframe established by the Political Constitution. A judicial process has been initiated. This judicial process has been carried out while respecting their rights. They have been assigned a public defense lawyer, in the case of those who do not have resources; and in the case of those who have resources they have hired lawyers. Some even have private lawyers and have lawyers from human rights organizations. In other words, they are being fully assisted legally.

And the entire criminal process has been respected. All preliminary hearings, initial hearings, trial hearings have been respected.  Penal sanctions have been issued against those who have been found guilty, against those who, in the end, have been found to be responsible for crimes. They have been sanctioned. These sanctions have been commensurate to the kinds of crimes that exist in our legislation.

Those who have been referred to our penitentiary system, their human rights are being respected because they have communication with the outside world. They are in contact with their families. They have family visits. They have conjugal encounters. They are in decent spaces with bedrooms, with food. They are allowed to receive additional packages from their relatives. They have sports and educational spaces. They have medical attention. They have periodic follow-ups for those with chronic diseases. They receive the relevant medicines.

There is respect for the human rights of people deprived of their liberty for committing these crimes in the context of the coup in Nicaragua.

TcS : Why do you think international organizations such as Amnesty International and international organizations such as the IACHR and the UN High Commissioner issue false information about the situation in Nicaragua?

Carlos Emilio López: I believe the international human rights organizations, and national organizations too, obey the foreign policy of the United States.  They obey the interventionist policy of the United States. They are an instrument. They are an instrument of United States interventionist movements and aggression. Because these bodies do not denounce human rights violations that occur in countries with governments that have a submissive agenda to the government of the United States.

For example, they say nothing against the government of the United States, about the fact that the United States is the country that has least signed human rights treaties at the regional and global levels. The United States has not committed to the human rights of children. They have not committed to the conventions on women's rights.  They have not committed to human rights related to torture. They have not committed to human rights treaties related to the elimination of weapons of mass destruction, of nuclear weapons.

Why do they not say anything whenever the United States invades a country, bombs a country, destroys entire cultures, destroys entire populations? Or in South America for example, they do not say anything against Chile and Argentina for violation of the rights of the indigenous peoples, of the original peoples, of the Mapuches. They do not say anything about the economic measures package that Macri has applied in Argentina that has caused a great deal of unemployment, that has reduced the State, that has cut social programs, etc.

They are dedicated only to questioning progressive governments, governments that have a policy of independence, autonomy, defense of the sovereignty of their people. They are dedicated to questioning governments that respect everything that has to do with the administration of natural resources. There is an ambition on the part of the government of the United States to expropriate the natural resources of Venezuela, the natural resources of Bolivia, and the natural resources of Nicaragua.

So, this issue of human rights discourse is nothing more than a camouflage, an outer garment, a disguise to cover the economic and political interests of the government of the United States