Nicaragua bans US envoy, cuts diplomatic ties with the Netherlands
Hugo Rodriguez was nominated by US President Joe Biden to succeed Kevin Sullivan as US Ambassador to Nicaragua, but his "interventionist" behavior is in the way.
President Daniel Ortega banned US envoy Hugo Rodrigues on Friday from entering Nicaragua on account of his "interfering" behavior. Although Nicaragua already stated that any such visit would be barred in July, the US Senate still confirmed Rodriguez's appointment on Thursday.
"The government of Nicaragua, in use of its powers and in exercise of its national sovereignty, immediately withdraws the approval granted to the candidate Hugo Rodriguez," the Nicaraguan Foreign Ministry said in a statement in July, following Hugo Rodriguez's nomination by US President Joe Biden in May as the next US Ambassador in Nicaragua, succeeding Kevin Sullivan.
According to Vice President Rosario Murillo, who is also Ortega's wife, Rodriguez would "will not under any circumstances be admitted into our Nicaragua," adding, "Let that be clear to the imperialists," as she read a statement from the foreign office.
Nicaragua said it decided to withdraw its approval of Rodriguez because of "disrespectful" comments he made in a hearing before the Senate, whereby Rodriguez labeled the Central American country as a "pariah state in the region" and branded Ortega's government a "dictatorship".
"I would support using all economic and diplomatic tools to bring about a change in direction in Nicaragua," he told the Senate, suggesting removing Nicaragua from the Dominican Republic-Central America Free Trade Agreement (DR-CAFTA).
Later in the day, Ortega took into consideration severing ties with the Netherlands after accusing them of harboring "interventionist" policies and after finding out from his Foreign Minister Denis Moncada that a long-promised hospital will no longer be funded.
Taking a jab at the Dutch ambassador for Central America, Christine Pirenne, he said: "Those who come to disrespect our people, our homeland, they should not appear again in Nicaragua. And we do not want relations with that interventionist government", adding: "The ambassador came to speak to Nicaraguans as if Nicaragua is a Dutch colony".
Although the severance of ties is not formal, The Netherlands closed its offices in Managua in 2013 and currently holds all its Central American diplomatic work from Costa Rica. According to local media and diplomatic sources, European Union ambassador Bettina Muscheidt was requested to leave Nicaragua by the government on Wednesday without any given reason.
Also on Wednesday, Ortega branded the Catholic Church a "perfect dictatorship," reflecting ongoing tensions between his government and the religious institution over 2018 protests that Ortega has accused the church of backing.
Just last Saturday, Nicaragua withdrew the signal of the news channel CNN en Español in the country, with VP Murillo explaining that the country's authorities found the content broadcasted by CNN en Español to be incompatible with the national sovereignty guaranteed by the constitution.