May 16, 2022 8:40 am

With the worst human rights violators.

The governments of Argentina and Mexico deserve the scandal in which they find themselves after defying the boycott of Western democracies and attend the new inauguration of the Nicaraguan dictator Daniel Ortega, on January 10. Turns out they shared the ceremony with one of the world’s most wanted terror suspects. Argentina and Mexico participated in Ortega’s inaugural ceremony with a high-ranking Iranian official wanted by Interpol as one of the masterminds of the 1994 attack on Argentina’s AMIA Jewish community center that left 85 dead and more than 300 wounded.

Mohsen Rezai, Iran’s vice president for economic affairs and former commander of the Corps of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, was one of Ortega’s guests of honor at the ceremony, along with Venezuelan dictator Nicolás Maduro, Cuban dictator Miguel Díaz-Canel, the outgoing president of Honduras, and officials from China and Russia. The United States, Canada, the European Union (EU) and most Western democracies did not send representatives to the ceremony, as a way of protesting the November 7 electoral farce in Nicaragua.

US and EU They also imposed new sanctions on the Nicaraguan dictatorship on the same day that Ortega took office for a fourth consecutive term. Ortega arrested the seven main opposition candidates before last year’s elections and then declared himself the winner. He is also responsible for the murder of at least 317 opposition demonstrators during the 2018 street protests, according to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. Despite the boycott of Western democracies, Argentina and Mexico sent the heads of their respective embassies in Nicaragua to the ceremony, in fact recognizing the illegitimate Ortega regime. Hours later, after the Argentine opposition denounced Rezai’s presence at the event, the government of President Fernández issued a statement condemning the Iranian official’s attendance, noting that Argentina has an outstanding arrest warrant against Rezai for the terrorist attack on 1994. But the Argentine Israelite Mutual Association, AMIA, demands that the Fernández government “explain why the Argentine ambassador (in Nicaragua) did not withdraw from the ceremony.”

Opposition Congressman Waldo Wolff told me that he plans to file a criminal complaint against the Argentine foreign minister for “breach of his duties as a public official” by not demanding Rezai’s immediate arrest. “The Argentine government’s obligation was to denounce and seek Rezai’s arrest,” Wolff told me. “Issuing a statement of conviction is not enough.”

In Mexico, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said hours before Ortega’s inauguration that, in the absence of a Mexican ambassador to Nicaragua, he would send the chargé d’affaires of the Mexican embassy to the ceremony. “The least they could have done was leave the room in protest,” José Miguel Vivanco, director of the Americas department at Human Rights Watch, told me, referring to the Argentine and Mexican diplomats.

Dina Siegel Vann, director of the Latin American division of the American Jewish Committee, AJC, told me: “It is shameful that not only Argentina, but also Mexico, which claims to be a champion of human rights, have in fact supported with their presence an individual wanted by Argentina and Interpol for acts of terrorism.” A senior Israeli Foreign Ministry official, Tammy Rahamimoff-Honig, tweeted that it is “outrageous” that Rezai “travels the world with impunity.”

Nobody should be surprised by the presence of the worst dictatorships in the world in the inauguration of Ortega, because the tyrants support each other. But the democratically elected governments of Argentina and Mexico deserve special condemnation for having abandoned the world defense of democracy. Both governments cannot be taken seriously when they say that Rezai’s presence at the ceremony took them by surprise. If Fernández and López Obrador rub shoulders with the worst human rights violators, it was obvious that sooner or later they would be stained. They deserve strong condemnation from all defenders of democracy, human rights and dignity.


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