Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov Visits Nicaragua’s Ortega

AP Photo/Jesus Vargas
Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov attends a press conference at the Foreign Ministry in Caracas, Venezuela, Tuesday, April 18, 2023.

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov met Wednesday with Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega, and the two commiserated about U.S. sanctions.

The United States announced new sanctions Wednesday against three Nicaraguan judges who stripped 222 exiled opponents of their nationality.

Ortega told Lavrov that his government isn’t concerned.

We already have hundreds of officials under sanctions … this doesn’t cause them any concern or fear anymore, Ortega said.

Lavrov responded that “sanctioned people in Russia take it as a recognition of their effectiveness” in defending Russian interests. Lavrov’s remarks were translated from Russian to Spanish by a government-provided translator.

Russian officials and oligarchs were hit by sanctions following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Lavrov repeated Russia’s warnings about Western expansionism and said he expected Nicaragua “to be a strong pillar in the world that is being formed,” adding “multipolarism is a process that cannot be stopped.”

In recent years, Ortega’s government has essentially arrested all domestic political opponents as well as priests and a bishop.

On Feb. 9, Ortega’s government released 222 opposition figures from prison and deported them, saying their Nicaraguan citizenship would be revoked and their property confiscated. Rights groups say that is an example of banishment, a violation of international norms.

Lavrov began his tour of Latin America on Monday with a stop in Brazil, where the administration of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva is seeking to simultaneously develop ties with China, Europe and the U.S. while keeping an open door to Russia. During a visit to Dubai, Lula said that Russia and Ukraine share responsibility for the war.

Lavrov met Tuesday with Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, and was expected to visit Cuba on Thursday.