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Viesti Nicaragua-symposiumiin 19.11.

Presidentti Tarja Halonen lähetti 19.11. järjestettyyn Nicaragua-symposiumiin viestin, jossa osoittaa tukensa Nicaraguan demokratisoitumisen eteen tehtävälle yhteistyölle.

A heartfelt greeting to all of the participants of today’s Nicaragua Symposium. I am sorry I could not participate in person but I am with you in spirit.

I have been a long-standing friend and supporter of Nicaragua and other Central American countries, together with many like-minded friends.

Initially, we wanted to support the democratization efforts in Nicaragua and Central America. We even saw some similarities to the Nordic countries. They are also small and resilient and we saw their potential for developing into prosperous societies by cooperating closely with each other. That’s why we started to work with the reform-minded Nicaraguans as soon as Somozas were forced out of the country.

Certainly, many of us experienced some guilt and bad conscience for not supporting Chile’s Salvador Allende in the past.  The cooperation we had with Nicaragua was very gratifying and progress was made. This was visible in many sectors of the society and received extensive support in the Nordic countries.

Unfortunately, for various reasons, the democratization process in Nicaragua has not continued. But I want to underline that those initial positive experiences show that Nicaraguan people have both the will and the ability to make positive changes. That is why I consider important to maintaining links with the progressive parts of Nicaraguan society.

Recent developments in Nicaragua are very concerning. I am particularly shocked that many of those esteemed reformers and society builders have now been subjected to political persecution. I know many of them personally.

I especially remember my meetings with Dora María Téllez, who is also an Honorary Doctor of our University’s Faculty of Political Science. She is distinguished academic and a friend. I have personally sought to appeal to Nicaraguan decision-makers, including Daniel Ortega and his wife Rosario Murillo for the immediate and unconditional release of Dora María Téllez and other political prisoners. I have also been in contact with UN High Commissioner of Human Rights Michelle Bachelet and others. I am hoping that this will bear fruit before it is too late.

Let us continue to fight for those that are building and upholding democratic societies and for Nicaragua to return back to the path of democratization and rule of law.

I thank you all. Gracias a todos.

Tarja Halonen