Nicaragua's President Daniel Ortega
Nicaragua's President Daniel Ortega speaks during an event to commemorate the 38th anniversary of the founding of the Nicaraguan Army in Managua. Photo by: Reuters/Oswaldo Rivas

The U.S. State Department slammed Nicaragua for leaving the Organization of American States (OAS), adding this took the Central American country another step away from democracy.

Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega and his wife, Vice President Rosario Murillo, started the process to leave OAS in November 2021, as the international organization, headquartered in Washington, had been criticizing the former over human rights violations.

A spokesperson for the U.S. Department of State, Matthew Miller, addressed Nicaragua's withdrawal Sunday as it took effect, noting this was "another step away from democracy and further isolates Nicaragua from the international community," AP News reported.

Miller took to X, formerly known as Twitter, and posted, "We support Nicaraguans' calls for fundamental freedoms, human rights, and democracy."

In a statement, the spokesperson mentioned the withdrawal showed Ortega and Murillo's "desperation to avoid any effort by the OAS or like-minded partners to hold them accountable for egregious human rights abuses."

He slammed the leaders for abuses, including "unjustly detaining, convicting, and mistreating political prisoners – including Bishop Rolando Alvarez; attacking independent journalists; and forcing hundreds of civil society organizations and educational institutions to close or hand over operations to the state."

"Nicaragua's actions are an affront to the Western Hemisphere's commitment to democracy," Miller affirmed. "Despite Ortega and Murillo's denunciation of the OAS Charter, Nicaragua remains bound by its human rights and governance obligations under remaining treaties and instruments, including the American Convention on Human Rights."

He confirmed the U.S. was working with other OAS partners to keep a check on Ortega and Murillo in order to hold them accountable for their actions.

"We renew our call for the Nicaraguan authorities to uphold their obligations and fulfill the recommendations of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights."

OAS, founded in 1948, consists of 35 countries including Argentina, Venezuela, Cuba, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Panama, Peru, Haiti and Ecuador. In 1989, Canada also became a part of the OAS.

However, Venezuela left the group in 2019.

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