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Video: Nicaragua's Human Rights Crisis — The GIEI Investigation

Wednesday, February 20, 2019


  • John Feeley, U.S. Ambassador (retired); Political Consultant, Univision
  • Amerigo Incalcaterra, Member, GIEI
  • Pablo Parenti, Member, GIEI
  • Claudia Paz y Paz, Member, GIEI
  • Arturo Aguilar, Executive Director, Seattle International Foundation (moderator)

En un evento de AS/COA en Nueva York, los expertos GIEI presentaron su reporte sobre los muertos en Nicaragua en abril y mayo de 2018 con esta conclusión: hubo un alto nivel de coordinación entre la policía, los grupos de choque y las alcaldías contra los manifestantes, y un patrón claro de conducta atribuía a una política decidida por el estado y el gobierno de Daniel Ortega. El ex-embajador estadounidense John Feeley dio algunas recomendaciones para la política norteamericana hacia Managua.

The findings were clear: the pattern of abuse and repression that led to dozens of protestors’ deaths in Nicaragua in 2018 was so sustained and systematic that it could only have happened at the direction of the government of Daniel Ortega. This was the conclusion of a group of independent international experts, known as the GIEI, commissioned by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and the Organization of American States and in agreement with the government of Daniel Ortega to investigate human rights abuses in Nicaragua during protests in April and May 2018. After Ortega prevented the group from presenting the report in the country in December 2018, the group presented their findings at an event at AS/COA in New York that was moderated by the Seattle International Foundation's Arturo Aguilar.

Argentine prosecutor Pablo Parenti laid out some of the team's key findings: in the first six weeks of protests from April 18 through May 30, 2018, the group recorded 109 homicides, of which 95 were caused by gunshot wounds to the head, neck, and chest. He described a pattern where armed street gangs attacked protestors, often as police stood by. Former Guatemalan Attorney General Claudia Paz y Paz described how, of those 109 homicides, only nine saw any type of prosecution, while the perpetrators of the other 100 deaths remained in impunity. She described how the justice system itself was another link in the chain of human rights abuses in Nicaragua. Italian human rights expert Amerigo Incalcaterra noted that the deaths continue into 2019, well past the scope of the group’s investigation.

Former U.S. State Department official John Feeley, who stepped down from his position as ambassador to Panama in March 2018, gave an analysis from the viewpoint of Washington. He compared and contrasted the situation in Nicaragua with that in Venezuela, saying that he felt that dialogue has a better chance to succeed in Managua than in Caracas, due in part to the strength of Nicaragua's civil society groups. He also gave a series of personal policy recommendations for U.S. policy toward Nicaragua, including a caution to not militarize the situation. At the same time, he said, talk from the White House of “all options on the table” is part of the “Kabuki theater of diplomacy.”