LatinNews Daily - 24 April 2024

NICARAGUA: Strengthening relations with Russia

On 23 April Nicaragua’s government led by President Daniel Ortega announced it had signed a declaration with Russia on “countering illegal sanctions”.


The announcement by Vice President and First Lady Rosario Murillo was made as a delegation led by presidential adviser Laureano Ortega Murillo, the son of the presidential couple, is currently in Russia where it has met with officials including Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to discuss issues primarily related to security. It is the latest sign of strengthening bilateral ties as the US has imposed multiple rounds of sanctions on Nicaragua, citing ongoing human rights abuses taking place under the Ortega government, compelling the latter to seek cooperation elsewhere.

  • With Russia facing US sanctions over its war in Ukraine, Russian state news agency, Tass, reported that both Russia and Nicaragua agreed to develop a roadmap to reduce the dependence of international trade on “national currencies that are commonly used to implement unilateral coercive measures or to maintain the currency hegemony of a particular state in the world economy” – a reference to the US dollar.
  • According to Murillo, Laureano Ortega was accompanied by deputy police (PNN) director, Gen. Commissioner Zhukov Serrano, the deputy director general of the national telecoms institute, Celia Reyes, as well as Nicaragua’s ambassador to Russia, Alba Azucena Torres, among others.
  • While both sides have also boosted ties in economic areas, the latest security-related meetings come as the Nicaraguan legislature, which like all other institutions is controlled by Ortega’s Frente Sandinista de Liberación Nacional (FSLN), authorised Russia last month to finance and build a police training centre in Managua – the text of which was agreed during a visit in late February by the secretary of the Russian security council, Gen. Nikolai Patrushev.

Looking Ahead: The new police training centre in particular has raised eyebrows. According to a statement by Nicaragua’s legislature, dated 21 March, the objective of the centre is to fight against crime and maintain order and public security. While a Russia-Nicaragua anti-narcotics training centre was inaugurated in Managua in 2017, experts consulted by local investigative outlet Confidencial in a report published on 26 March, warn that the scope of the new centre is much broader. They also question the fact that it will carry out its activity under the “general direction of the head of the diplomatic representation of the Russian Federation in Nicaragua” – apparently ceding authority to the Russian government.

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