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Rep. Serrano: "U.S. is Completely Neutral in Nicaraguan Elections"
[The Nicaragua Network urges you to ask your U.S. representative to join
Rep. Serrano in demanding that the U.S. remain neutral in Sunday's elections
Congressman Jose E. Serrano
Representing the Sixteenth District of New York
PRESS RELEASE - Nov 1, 2006
CONTACT: Philip Schmidt
TELEPHONE: (202) 225-4361
Serrano: "U.S. is Completely Neutral in Nicaraguan Elections"
URGES ALL U.S. OFFICIALS TO MAINTAIN IMPARTIALITY
Washington, DC - November 1st , 2006 - Congressman Jose E. Serrano urged all
U.S. officials to maintain a completely neutral stance regarding the outcome
of upcoming Nicaraguan elections. Recent commentary by executive branch and
State Department officials has given a skewed view of the official U.S.
position of impartiality.
"It is simply unacceptable for American officials to pretend our government
will take punitive measures if Daniel Ortega is elected president in
Nicaragua," Serrano said. "Our position should be clear: we support free
fair elections and will work with the winner as we would any other elected
head of state in the world. Perhaps some in the executive branch and
elsewhere have forgotten that the U.S. does not have the right to intervene
in other nations' affairs. They would better serve our nation's interests
in democracy and rule of law by avoiding partisan commentary about other
nation's elections and candidates. To do otherwise is unseemly and
"The history of the United States' role in Nicaragua - particularly with
regard to Daniel Ortega - is such that any statements made by public
officials must be weighed very carefully," Serrano added. "It seems that
some U.S. officials have forgotten that history and forgotten the proper
role of our government. I urge them to withdraw their statements, and cease
support for any particular outcome in this contest. The free exercise of
democracy should be their only goal in the Nicaraguan elections.
"I am particularly troubled by the statements of Embassy spokesperson
Kristin Stewart. She publicly linked Ortega with terrorist groups and said
that the U.S. would revise its policy toward the Nicaraguan government
should he win. I believe her words were unfortunate and wrong, and merit a
withdrawal. Electioneering is not the proper role of an Embassy or its
Stewart told the Nicaraguan newspaper La Prensa that "If a foreign
government has a relationship with terrorist organizations, like the
Sandinistas did in the past; U.S. law permits us to apply sanctions. [...]
Again, it will be necessary to revise our policies if Ortega wins."
"I also view as inappropriate the thinly-veiled economic threats that
Secretary Gutierrez made in recent days," Serrano added. "Our trade with
Nicaragua will be unharmed by the election of either candidate, contrary to
what he asserted. The Secretary should not try to influence foreign
elections with his statements."
Gutierrez said: "It is not a secret that when [Ortega's] party was in power
many years ago, the relationship with the United States suffered a great
deal, and trade between both countries dropped significantly. [...] These
elections are very important and we want the Nicaraguan people remember the
important economic relationship between both countries and that this is not
a moment to put this at risk."
"I pledge that I will do everything in my power to make sure that the
government of the United States will respect the wishes of the Nicaraguan
people regardless of who wins their presidential election," Serrano
concluded. "Our nation desires nothing more than a flourishing democracy in
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