With Argentina abstaining, the Permanent Council of the Organisation of American States (OAS) approved a resolution on Wednesday stating that Nicaragua "is not complying with the commitments" of the Inter-American Democratic Charter.
The resolution was adopted with 25 of the 34 active OAS members voting in favour during an extraordinary session, while eight countries abstained: Argentina, Belize, Bolivia, Honduras, Mexico, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Saint Lucia.
The only dissenting vote came from Nicaragua, whose representative, Michael René Campbell, strongly denounced "another interventionist event by the OAS."
The text, sponsored by Antigua and Barbuda, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guyana and the United States, urges President Daniel Ortega’s regime to "urgently” release "all political prisoners and accept a high-level good offices mission" to "re-establish" compliance with the charter.
It also calls for “comprehensive electoral reforms, as requested in previous OAS resolutions and in accordance with Nicaragua's human rights obligations."
In another point, it calls for "the repeal of all laws that restrict political participation and limit human rights in a manner contrary to Nicaragua's international human rights obligations."
The recent OAS General Assembly rejected the legitimacy of the 7 November elections in Nicaragua, declaring that democratic institutions in that country were "seriously undermined" by the Ortega government.
As a result, Ortega, who won a fourth consecutive term in office with seven of his potential rivals imprisoned on charges of conspiracy and other alleged crimes, called on November 19 for his country to leave the multilateral body.
Wednesday's resolution, however, recalls that the process to exit the OAS takes two years, during which time Nicaragua's obligations to the OAS and its instruments remain in force.
Diplomatic sources told the Noticias Argentinas news agency that Argentina urged an "immediate collective evaluation" of the situation in Nicaragua at the OAS Permanent Council meeting.
"We have supported the current draft resolution, with the conviction, hope and political will to continue working in favour of dialogue and the peaceful resolution of our differences, for the true benefit of our peoples," said Deputy Foreign Minister Pablo Tettamanti.
An official statement from the Foreign Ministry in Buenos Aires said that "Argentina reiterates its commitment to the defence of human rights" while calling for dialogue,
"Argentina firmly believes that the best way to overcome our differences has been and will continue to be dialogue. Never sanctions or blockades, which in our hemisphere have only led to negative results", Tettamanti emphasised.
On Friday, Nicaragua inked a deal switching diplomatic allegiance from Taiwan to China – a political coup for Beijing as it seeks to isolate the democratic island it has vowed to one day seize.