Sunday, March 16, 2008



The second, extraordinary session of the Viva Sandino Congress of the Frente Sandinista de Liberación Nacional took place at Managua’s Loma de Tiscapa on March 14.

Its main agenda point was to ratify the candidates of the Frente and the United Nicaragua Wins Alliance for the November municipal elections this year.

President Daniel Ortega’s closing address, however, concentrated on current international issues that have directly impacted on Nicaragua, most importantly, Colombia’s aggression against Ecuador and the Santo Domingo summit of the Rio Group.

Below is a translation of that section of his address. Omitted are some brief remarks at the end about the next point on the agenda, the presentation of the slate of candidates.

March 14, 2008

Good evening brothers and sisters of the National Congress of the Frente Sandinista. Good evening brothers and sisters of the United Nicaragua Wins Alliance; brothers and sisters of diplomatic missions from Cuba who are always here with us, from Venezuela, Libia, Iran.

Our Second Session of the Viva Sandino Congress is taking place just after the recent Santo Domingo meeting of Latin American Peoples managed tear down the war strategy of the Empire, its strategy of dividing and confronting the Latin American peoples. It managed to strengthen Latin American unity! It was a victory for the Latin American and Caribbean peoples who love peace and want the unity of Latin America and the Caribbean.

This historic meeting took place without the representatives of the US government. We Latin Americans provided a lesson that yes, we can come to mutual understandings and overcome our problems; yes, we have to work in a united way as brothers, regardless of our differences.

Consider the great contrast. On the one hand the OAS where the US acts as a divisive factor, one of instability and confrontation. On the other hand, the meeting in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. There the governments most in dispute managed to overcome those tensions and move away from any war threat. We managed to find a road towards understanding…A few weeks or a few days after, the president of the United States launched a ferocious speech that clearly revealed the Empire’s desperation and irritation because the “great loser in Santo Domingo was the Empire that wanted to see us divided and at loggerheads with each other.”

Our solidarity with the Venezuelan people, with President Hugo Chávez who has been insulted once again by the president of the United States. We have been in telephone communication in the past few days with the president of Venezuela and with President Rafael Correa to help assure that the next OAS meeting on March 17 (where there will also be the sewers of discord) does not get converted into a setback, but rather becomes a continuation and ratification of the will of Latin American governments that was clearly expressed at Santo Domingo.

Likewise, we have to point out how President Felipe Calderón of Mexico expressed himself in his message upon assuming the temporary presidency of the Rio Group (temporary because the position is rotated and it is Mexico’s turn). The president of this country made it clear that yes, it is possible and necessary to have this Organization of Latin American Peoples become an Organization of Latin American and Caribbean States that have common interests and in which those who have other interests like the United States, should not be present.

For example, the OAS lacks the presence of Cuba. It was expelled a long time ago. We are talking about a Latin American space where all Latin American and Caribbean peoples will be present, without exclusion! That is a message of enormous historic transcendance.

The message that we Central American presidents issued two days ago on March 12 in San José, Costa Rica is in the same vein. We met to take a position on the European Union’s proposal for an association with Central America. We said that yes, we are disposed towards an association. But suddenly there appeared spokespersons, men and women Commissioners of the European Union, who tried to lay down conditions of a political-constitutional nature. We don’t even know to what extent they were expressing the positions of their governments. The conditions proposed even went against the Constitutions of Central American countries.

Among other things, they are trying to condition an agreement on acceptance of their demand that Central American countries adhere to the International Criminal Court that is organized by Europeans. They say that crimes committed against humanity cannot be left with impunity.

The first that we would have to judge would be the Europeans! For the crimes against humanity committed against our peoples when they came to raze our originary peoples, the indigenous communities; when they came to rob our resources.

That, logically, did not go over. We have our own legislatures, our own laws. There we decided that conditions could not be imposed….

We were clear – the President of Costa Rica, Oscar Arias Sánchez; Antonio Saca of El Salvador; the President of Honduras, Manuel Zelaya; recently elected President Álvaro Colom of Guatemala – we were clear in saying that we were open to an association and would work for an association with Europe, but without conditions that try to weaken and discredit the juridical bases of our respective Central American countries. I believe this is an example of maturity, an example of dignity of Central American peoples and governments…Let them respect our sovereignty!

Today the Bi-national Costa Rica-Nicaragua Meeting ended. There too, we expressed a will and an effort to work to overcome obstacles and to strengthen ties between the two bordering countries. We are already working with El Salvador and Guatemala to convert the Golf of Fonseca into a Peace Zone – three Central American countries working together in the Golf.

Nicaragua is working with Costa Rica on bi-national projects. First, the immigration issue. Of equal importance, was the environmental issue, taken up yesterday by the Nicaraguan and Costa Rican delegations in Granada. Also, we are discussing tourism that we want to increase because of the enormous potential we have in this field.

Today we made these agreements public. We are sure that they are going to enable us to strengthen ties with the Costa Rican people. That is going to help the frontier communities and municipalities of both countries to improve their development. The Costa Rican side of the border is more developed and we are obliged look together for external resources to invest in that. Some of the agreements with Costa Rica deal with development and investment in accordance with conditions prevailing on each side of the border.

If there are highways on the Costa Rican side of the border, we will have to find joint resources to build them on the Nicaraguan side in order to improve transportation, sanitary conditions, health, education, etc. We have to increase the potential we have in this zone and also assure the conservation of the environment. We feel happy about the results of this meeting and we established timelines to later weigh them.

Brother and sister delegates, Nicaraguan brothers and sisters, this Congress is meeting at a time when Latin America and Central America is making steps forward towards Integration, towards the Unity of our people.

Translation by Felipe Stuart Cournoyer

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