Nicaragua has entered into an agreement that will see Russia sending troops to the Central American communist country for “law enforcement” and humanitarian aid. Dictator Daniel Ortega issued a decree last Thursday that also gives permission to Russia to establish a permanent military presence for an “exchange of experiences and training.”
A statement from the Russian Foreign Ministry described the deployment as “routine,” although other western nations could easily see the agreement as a move by Ortega to use Russian power to solidify his control over the Nicaraguan government.
Russian spokesperson Maria Zakharova said the agreement provides for a twice per year “temporary admission” of Russian forces to “develop cooperation in various areas.” She added that Russia will assist with emergency responses as well as fighting “organized crime and drug trafficking.” The Ortega decree also provided that the Russian military would assist with “rescue and search missions” in emergency situations.
Ortega has regularly used brutal measures typical of dictators to maintain his grip on power. In the last month, he violently arrested his primary opponent Yubrank Suazo before the latest sham national election. Ortega typically accuses any local political opponents of being foreign agents working for the United States.
Ortega has been a highly visible supporter of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s regime throughout his own political career. He was the first world leader to publicly support the Russian invasion of neighboring Ukraine that began in late February. It now appears that Ortega wants to see the same level of brutality used by Russia against civilians in Ukraine used against his own people.
Even though the Russian foreign ministry described Ortega’s decree as only temporary and “routine,” the state-controlled media has been more enthusiastic. Russian state news television host Olga Skabeyeva said last week in response to the announcement that the Kremlin should immediately send troops along with missiles and weapons systems that could directly threaten targets inside the United States.
Skabeyeva said that if the U.S. is placing missile systems in Ukraine that can threaten Moscow, “it’s time for Russia to roll out something powerful closer to the American city on a hill.” She described the agreement to send troops into Nicaragua as a “most unpleasant cherry atop the democratic cake” for America.