U.S. Independence Message to Nicaragua Warns of Accountability
Ambassador Curtis A. Ward
(14 Sept. 2018) — It is customary for the U.S. Secretary of State in statements marking the independence anniversaries of countries to offer congratulations and best wishes. Each message vaguely references the relations between the United States and the country, and summarizes U.S. Government’s (USG’s) current policy towards each respective government. While these messages are not viewed as detailed statements of policy, they are nuanced, if not specific, and give us a peek into U.S. relations with the government and issues on the USG’s agenda.
In a series of statements on September 14, 2018 marking the Independence Anniversaries of Nicaragua, Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, the Trump Administration’s messages are clear. The messages to El Salvador, Mexico, and Nicaragua, in particular offer some clues as to Trump Administration’s priorities.
For example, the references in the message to El Salvador, in particular “joint efforts to improve security have delivered results that serve as a model for other nations” and “progress in making your nation safer for all Salvadorans” are linked directly to Trump Administration’s current immigration policy. The message to Mexico highlights Trump Administration’s priorities in U.S.-Mexico relations.The reference to “national dialogue in pursuit of a more transparent and inclusive democracy” in the message to Honduras contrasts with, and draws attention to the situation in Nicaragua and gives notice of “accountability for those who have demonstrated a blatant disregard for human rights and fomented violence in support of the Ortega government.” These being neighboring countries, the bilateral messages should also be viewed in a regional context. The message to Nicaragua also bears similarity to statements on Venezuela.
(TWP intends to address Trump Administration’s posture on Nicaragua and regional implications in a later article.)
Without further comments, TWP provides excerpts from U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s statements below:
“The United States stands with the people of Nicaragua as they call for freedom in the face of violent suppression at the hands of the Ortega government. We will continue to work with regional and global partners to promote accountability for those who have demonstrated a blatant disregard for human rights and fomented violence in support of the Ortega government.
We wish the people of Nicaragua a return to peace, freedom, and democracy on this day commemorating your independence.”
“We deeply value our relationship with Mexico as a trusted neighbor, friend, and economic and security partner. Our future—like our history—is connected through shared cultural, linguistic, familial, and academic ties. Working together, we will continue to make strides to disrupt the illicit movement of cash, weapons, and drugs across our border, ensure safe and orderly migration, and bolster North American competitiveness.
The United States wishes the people of Mexico a happy independence day and looks forward to continuing to strengthen our partnership.”
“The people of the United States and El Salvador share a strong commitment to democracy, rule of law, and inclusive economic development. Our joint efforts to improve security have delivered results that serve as a model for other nations. We hope to find common ground in El Salvador’s endeavors to expand economic opportunity, strengthen democratic institutions, and continue progress in making your nation safer for all Salvadorans.
The United States wishes the Salvadoran people a happy Independence Day.”
“The United States remains committed to working together with the Guatemalan people to increase prosperity and improve security and governance in Guatemala. That partnership includes critical efforts to fight corruption and impunity and strengthen the rule of law for the benefit of all Guatemalans. During his visit in June of this year, Vice President Pence reaffirmed to the people of Guatemala that the United States ‘will always be there to stand with you as neighbors and friends.’
Best wishes to all Guatemalans as you celebrate your independence.”
“The rich history of partnership and cooperation between our two nations will continue to contribute to economic prosperity, improved security, and strengthened democratic institutions in the entire region. The United States remains committed to working side-by-side with Honduras to advance these priorities.
As Honduras enters into a national dialogue in pursuit of a more transparent and inclusive democracy, we recognize the broad efforts of government, political parties, and civil society to bring about peaceful reconciliation.
The United States wishes all Hondurans a happy and safe Independence Day.”
© 2018 Curtis A. Ward/The Ward Post
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The following Independence Anniversary Message was issued on Costa Rica after my article was published:
“Cooperation between Costa Rica and the United States is stronger than ever. Our enduring and respectful partnership, deeply rooted in our mutual embrace of democratic principles, has improved security and prosperity in both our countries. This love of democracy is the foundation that supports our fruitful cooperation on a variety of issues, from education to maritime security to the environment. We welcome Costa Rica’s regional leadership in the fight against drug trafficking and in bolstering democracy in the hemisphere.
The United States values our longstanding friendship with Costa Rica, and we join the Costa Rican people in celebrating the anniversary of your independence.”