Democracy Dialogues: A Conversation with Arturo McFields

The former Nicaraguan diplomat speaks with AS/COA's Eric Farnsworth about the role the United States can play in his country's return to democracy.


  • Arturo McFields, former Nicaraguan Ambassador to the Organization of American States (OAS)
  • Eric Farnsworth, AS/COA Vice President

"In Nicaragua, the dictatorship is carrying out the worst religious persecution in Latin America. There is no other country that is putting bishops in jail," said Arturo McFields in a Democracy Dialogues conversation with Eric Farnsworth. McFields served as Nicaragua's ambassador to the OAS until he publicly denounced the Ortega regime in March 2022.

Now, he's become a powerful advocate in Washington against the dictatorship. McFields detailed the furtherance of the regime's abuses since his resignation: jailing priests, shuttering NGOs, and funneling international aid money into the police forces. He said the United States can push back against the regime by passing the RENACER Act, reviewing CAFTA-DR, and strengthening sanctions. “They have the tools,” he said. “But do they have the will?"

What happens in Nicaragua can affect the rest of the region, explained McFields. "There’s a metastatic cancer that is growing in the whole belt of Central America…called the Ortega-ization of the region. If the U.S. doesn’t put pressure on Ortega, this metastatic cancer is going to keep growing.”

Democracy Dialogues is a conversation about the state of democracy in the Americas. Featured guests have included Colombia’s then-President Iván Duque, NBA Basketball Star Enes Kanter Freedom, OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro, CubaDecide founder Rosa María Payá, and founder and editor of Nicaragua’s Confidencial Carlos Fernando Chamorro, among many others. Join us as we discuss the most compelling issues while acknowledging and celebrating those leading efforts to improve the practice of regional democracy.

Watch other episodes of Democracy Dialogues.