Saturday, September 10, 2022

Taiwan Warns that China Seeks 'naval outpost' in Nicaragua to Threaten US; Nicaragua: Dictatorship and Collaboration with Extra-Hemispheric U.S. Rivals

Hu Shanmin/Xinhua via AP
China seeks 'naval outpost' in Nicaragua to threaten US, Taiwan warns:
China aspires to open a “naval outpost” in Nicaragua as part of a plan to dominate the Indo-Pacific, Taiwan has warned.
“The Chinese are talking with them about also potentially setting up a naval outpost,” Taiwanese Vice Foreign Minister Alexander Yui told reporters this week. “So they have a very large plan.”
Nicaragua severed diplomatic relations with Taiwan last year in favor of new ties with Chinese General Secretary Xi Jinping’s regime, which claims sovereignty over the island democracy despite never having ruled in Taipei. Xi has deployed a mix of pressure and inducements to convince Taiwan's dwindling number of allies to establish a connection with Beijing, an initiative that China has used both to isolate Taipei and gain advantages in relation to the United States.
“It’s part of their expansionist agenda — take over Taiwan, and break from the first island chain into the rest of the Pacific, take over the Pacific,” Yui said. “They are expanding. They want to become the predominant power in the world and also export their way of thought, their way of living, to the rest of the world.”
China’s vaunted overseas infrastructure investment program, the Belt and Road Initiative, has been denounced by U.S. officials for years as a “predatory” lending scheme designed to allow Beijing to buy an empire . Nicaragua’s authoritarian leader, Daniel Ortega, seized the Taiwanese Embassy in Managua and transferred it to China in December, then signed a memorandum of understanding to join the BRI in January.
“The Chinese could do it and call it the beginning of the Nicaragua Canal if we ticked them off enough about Taiwan,” U.S. Army War College research professor Evan Ellis, who worked as a member of the State Department’s policy planning staff during then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s tenure, told the Washington Examiner. “It would symbolically be a big deal, because the Chinese know they could get military access if they asked, and the Russians could operate out of it, too.” --->READ MORE HERE
Photo: ALFREDO ZUNIGA/AFP/Getty Images
Nicaragua: Dictatorship and Collaboration with Extra-Hemispheric U.S. Rivals:
On June 9, 2022, Nicaragua’s Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) government renewed the authorization of Russian military forces to operate in the country. In doing so, it reminded the United States and the hemisphere that the dictatorial regime of Daniel Ortega not only continues to abrogate the rights of its own people for democratic choice, free expression, and other fundamental human rights, but also serves as an entry point for the projection of threats into the region by extra-hemispheric rivals of the United States, such as Russia, Iran, and the People’s Republic of China (PRC).
Closure of Democratic Spaces
In the four years since the nationwide protests against the Sandinista regime began in April 2018, the authoritarian regime of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo has doubled down on consolidating its power, arguably determined never again to allow political organizations or public organization and expression that could lead to comparable mass challenges to its power.
The Ortegas’ repression of the initial protests involved hundreds of arrests and caused at least 300 deaths and 2,000 injuries. In the years that followed, they passed a series of laws effectively criminalizing expression of dissent. The defining moment in their consolidation of authoritarian rule was the rigging of the nation’s November 2021 national elections, giving the dictatorial couple a new term in power by disqualifying virtually all of the other opposition parties and jailing 40 leading opposition figures, including the seven opposition presidential candidates.
The leaders of Nicaragua’s former political opposition movements have been, almost to a person, either arrested or forced into exile. Only a handful of parties, defined by their collaboration with the Ortegas and the FSLN including the Liberal Constitutionalist Party (PLC), remain legal.
Following the November 2021 elections, in the wake of expanded sanctions by the United States and the European Union, the Ortegas and the FSLN have continued to move against virtually all public or private institutions that could speak out against them or otherwise mobilize public opposition against the Sandinistas. The Ortega regime has shut down more than 550 NGOs, disbanding 93 groups in June 2022 alone. --->READ MORE HERE
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