After mixed signals, Mexico says it will attend Nicaragua inauguration

Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega greets supporters during the opening ceremony of a highway overpass in Managua, Nicaragua March 21, 2019. REUTERS/Oswaldo Rivas

Mexico's government on Monday said it would send a representative to the inauguration of Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega for his fourth consecutive term in office, after indicating a day earlier that it would not.

Ortega, who in November won an election which U.S. President Joe Biden described as a "pantomime" after the Nicaraguan government's crackdown on the opposition and critical media, is due to be sworn in for his next term on Monday afternoon.

Mexico's foreign ministry on Sunday initially said it would send a representative to the ceremony, but later announced that it would not due to an annual meeting of diplomats.

However, on Monday President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said it would be imprudent not to send someone, and that Ramiro Ayala, Mexico's charge d'affaires in Nicaragua, would attend.

"Because we can't set aside our policy of national self-determination and independence," he said, arguing that the previous Mexican administration had been beholden to the interests of "another government" in its diplomatic policy.

Asked what he thought of Ortega's victory in the election, Lopez Obrador answered: "The decisions are theirs," he said, before briefly looking down. "The Nicaraguans'," he added.

Separately, the United States on Monday imposed sanctions on Nicaraguan officials, including the defense minister, in coordination with the European Union.

(Writing by Dave Graham; editing by Grant McCool)


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