Mexican president urges Nicaragua to guarantee rights, free elections

·2-min read

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) -Mexico President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Friday that Nicaragua should not use repression or jail opponents, and that the people of the Central American country should be able to make choices freely in elections.

Lopez Obrador said his country would comment on human rights, whether in Nicaragua, where opponents have been jailed, or in Colombia, where police have been accused of excessive force against protesters.

"Rights should be guaranteed, there should be no repression, not in Nicaragua, not in Colombia, nor in any other country in the world," Lopez Obrador said in response to a question from a reporter at a regular morning news conference.

Mexico, along with Argentina, abstained from a vote criticizing Nicaragua last week at the Organization of American States (OAS), reflecting a mistrust by left-leaning governments of the diplomatic body they see as a tool of Washington to interfere in their affairs.

However, both governments have shown concern about the situation and recalled their ambassadors for consultations.

"A respectful recommendation: if you act in this way, guaranteeing full freedom, those who are used to intervening in other countries' affairs will have no pretext or excuse to interfere," Lopez Obrador said.

The government of Nicaragua's President Daniel Ortega has arrested at least 15 political opponents in recent weeks, including five presidential hopefuls.

The crackdown comes ahead of the presidential vote in which the long-ruling leader will run for a fourth consecutive term. A journalist and at least two others have also been detained.

Lopez Obrador reiterated that governments should be built democratically, regardless of their ideological leaning, also singling out Peru where conservatives are trying to overrule the apparent victory of a left-wing candidate.

The Andean country has yet to formally declare a winner of the run-off presidential elections held on June 11 after Keiko Fujimori made allegations of fraud with little evidence and sought to disqualify votes in favor of Pedro Castillo.

(Reporting by Adriana Barrera and Raul CortesWriting by Stefanie EschenbacherEditing by Frank Jack Daniel)

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