Nicaragua excluded from inauguration of new Brazil leader

Brasília (AFP) –


Brazil is excluding representatives of Nicaragua from the January 1 inauguration of new president Jair Bolsonaro because of "violations" against its own citizens, the country's incoming foreign minister said Sunday.

"The inauguration of President Bolsonaro will mark the start of a government with a firm and clear stance defending freedom," Ernesto Araujo tweeted.

"Because of this and given the violations of (Daniel) Ortega's regime against the freedom of Nicaragua's people, no representative of that regime will be received in the event on the 1st (of January),"

Bolsonaro, a far-right politician aligned with the worldview of US President Donald Trump, has already said the leftwing leaders of Cuba and Venezuela are not invited to his inauguration.

He has has said he will do everything "within democracy" to counter the Cuban and Venezuelan governments.

Araujo, a mid-ranking foreign ministry employee tapped to head a diplomatic network that is among the top 10 in the world, has enthusiastically embraced Bolsonaro's positions.

They include encouraging foreign investment while taking a cautious position toward China, its biggest trading partner, which Bolsonaro has repeatedly said is trying to "buy Brazil."

Political oppression and violence have surged in Nicaragua since April this year as leftwing President Daniel Ortega has tried to extinguish protests against his rule.

At least 320 people have been killed, according to rights groups.

Ortega has ordered police raids on the offices of an opposition newspaper and rights groups, and on Wednesday he expelled expert mission from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.

The United States in November imposed sanctions on Ortega and his wife, Vice President Rosario Murillo, as well as his national security advisor.

Ortega first came to power in 1979 as a leader of the leftist Sandinista rebels that toppled the US-backed Somoza family dictatorship. After leaving office in 1990 he returned to power in 2007.