The Undersecretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs of the United States, Michael Kozak, told the President of Nicaragua, Daniel Ortega, to “endanger” the health of Nicaraguans by the way they handle the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Ortega’s lack of transparency and continuous concealment of the seriousness of COVID-19, endangers the health and prosperity of Nicaraguans, “Kozak said in a tweet sent by the US embassy in Managua, where he shared a video.
In the video, the US diplomat denounces the “ban on the use of personal protective equipment among public sector health workers” in Nicaragua, the “cover-up of deaths”, the “dismissal of doctors for speaking out”, the “blocking or censoring of information”, as well as “obstacles to preventing the informative work of independent journalists.”
“The people (of Nicaragua) have the right to hold their leaders accountable through a free press, freedom of expression, and free and fair elections,” Kozak added. Nicaragua registers 155 deaths from COVID-19 and 5,434 confirmed cases, according to authorities.
Meanwhile, the independent COVID-19 Citizen Observatory, a network of doctors and volunteers that monitors the pandemic, reports 2,780 deaths from pneumonia and other symptoms related to the new coronavirus, as well as 10,733 suspected cases.
The Ortega government has not specified the number of tests it has carried out and has limited itself to reporting the number of Confirmed cases, deaths and recovered.
Ortega defends himself
Last Monday, Ortega affirmed that “Nicaragua is one of the countries that is best qualified in the list of countries” in the pandemic management, although he did not say by whom.
“Here we have had several cases, hundreds of cases, and we have also had deaths from the pandemic, but we have launched systematic campaigns through the Ministry of Health to take the protection measures, basic, minimal: hand washing, mask, distancing, “he said.
He clarified that his Government cannot “force anyone” to adopt these “elementary measures”, but rather “must be done voluntarily; it is explained, and each one takes it voluntarily.”
The Executive has been criticized from various sectors for promote mass events and agglomerations against the current of the recommendations of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), and for not having suspended face-to-face classes in the middle of the pandemic and barely establishing restrictions.