Nicaraguan Foreign Minister Denis Moncada announced Sunday that his country was withdrawing from the Organization of American States. File Photo by Sergei Ilnitsky/EPA-EFE
April 24 (UPI) -- Nicaragua announced Sunday that it has closed the offices of the Organization of American States and expelled its staff from within its borders, accusing it of being an instrument of U.S. meddling.
Denis Moncada, the Nicaraguan foreign minister, announced the move in a surprise press conference carried by local media months after he said Managua would end its membership in the 35-member bloc in the wake of its condemnation of President Daniel Ortega's election last year to a fourth term and subsequent crackdown on protesters.
"Nicaragua is not a colony of anyone, therefore it is not part of a ministry of colonies," the government said in a statement, referring to the OAS as a "diabolical instrument."
"By confirming our irrevocable denunciation and resignation, in the face of this calamitous, truculent and lying dependency of the State Department of Yankee imperialism, we also communicate that as of this date we cease to be part of all the deceitful mechanisms of this monstrosity," it said.
The statement also was used for Nicaragua to ratify its "respect, affection and recognition" of Cuba and Venezuela, with Venezuela President Nicolas Mauro issuing his own statement congratulating Managua for withdrawing from the OAS.
"In its action against Nicaragua, the OAS reiterated its historical role as an instrument of U.S. imperialism, to attack the sovereign will of its people, attack its security and national interest," Mauro said. "Nicaragua acts as a result of the historic struggle of resistance carried out by its will to build a true democratic multilateralism that promotes peace, respect of self-determination and sincere cooperation in the search for socials justice and common welfare."
In a statement late Sunday, OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro said that while Nicaragua has signaled it will leave the bloc, it may not due so until the end of next year.
"In the meantime, Nicaragua is a full member of the organization and must fulfill all its commitments," he said, demanding that Managua "respect the obligations that today govern its relationship with the OAS and with any international organization of which Nicaragua is a part."
Moncada had announced Nov. 19 that Nicaragua would withdraw from the organization, days after the OAS member states voted to condemn the elections early that month as "not free, fair or transparent and have no democratic legitimacy."
In March, Nicaragua's ambassador to the OAS, Arturo McFields, resigned while condemning his government before the OAS permanent council.
The United States and the European Union as well as other democratic nations have imposed sanctions against Nicaragua and its officials over Ortega's election win and following suppression activities.
Last week, OAS members voted to suspend Russia's participation in the group as a permanent observer over its war in Ukraine.