As talks sputter between the EU and Central America, President Daniel Ortega made this month’s final negotiation round on the pending association agreement seem even more difficult this week by blasting it as a form of European “neocolonialism” and “economic oppression.”
With hopes already flickering that negotiations will finish before the May 18 summit between the EU and the nations of Latin America and the Caribbean, Ortega added more uncertainty to the situation by railing against the EU and calling “the great European democracy a fiction, a falsehood.”
Ortega, whose popularity and support is fading at home, urged Nicaraguans to unite against Europe and the United States.
“In Europe and in the United States what they want is to impose new forms of oppression upon us, and we Nicaraguans are obliged to unite to defend the interests of Nicaraguans, our workers and our producers,” Ortega said during a May 1 speech to commemorate International Workers’ Day.
Ortega blasted the EU negotiation process as “a lie.”
He said the EU countries “are enormous and developed, and when they sit down with Central American countries it’s not to say let’s negotiate, rather to tell us: ‘Accept what we say or get nothing’,” Ortega said.
“In other words,” the president continued, “This is a new form of occupation, a new form of colonialism, of neocolonialism, a new form of imperial domination.”
Ortega’s administration has become increasingly critical of the EU since European countries started to cut aid to Nicaragua due to concerns about democracy and human rights here.
Since mid-2009, negotiations on the pending association agreement with the EU have been frustrated first by the coup in Honduras and then by disputes over banana tariffs and quotas on textiles and powdered milk.
The eighth round of talks, which was supposed to be the final round, concluded unsuccessfully April 28. El Salvador has requested a ninth – and hopefully final – round of talks this month previous to the summit.
Ortega, meanwhile, said Nicaragua and El Salvador will not participate in the next round of talks – an announcement that apparently came as a surprise to El Salvador.
“Our country will continue participating in the negotiation rounds for the Association Agreement between Central America and the EU,” said El Salvador’s Foreign Minister Hugo Martínez in a press release.