Q24N (VOA) The participation of the Colombian ambassador in Managua, León Fredy Muñoz, in a demonstration for the 44th anniversary of the Sandinista Revolution sparked criticism from opponents and politicians on social networks.
Muñoz participated on Friday in an act in the city of León, north of Managua, on the eve of the anniversary, but critics learned of his participation on Monday, when the images were broadcast on national TV.
“Nicaragua is a happy, beautiful, kind people and above all a people convinced of its revolution, the truth is that I am pleasantly surprised,” Muñoz told official media while wearing a red and black scarf, the distinctive colors of the Sandinista Front, in the act.
Former presidential candidate Félix Maradiaga called Muñoz’s position “inadmissible” and said that it is incorrect for an ambassador to participate in a Sandinista act since he goes against neutrality and respect for sovereignty.
“Ambassadors must represent their country impartially and preserve bilateral relations,” Maradiaga said.
Several former presidential hopefuls questioned the role of the diplomat and called him “shameful”, including Juan Sebastián Chamorro, who was arrested for political reasons in 2021, and later released and exiled to the US.
“What a shame for an ambassador talking about revolutions. No, Mr. Muñoz, what you support is a dynastic project that will fail. The brotherly Colombian people deserve a better representative,” Chamorro said on Twitter.
Florida Senator Marco Rubio also spoke out on Twitter calling the diplomat’s position “inconceivable.”
“It is inconceivable that the ambassador of the Petro government applauds a bloody Marxist revolution. It is a serious insult to all Nicaraguans and exiles who still suffer the repercussions of the Sandinistas,” he said.
Es inconcebible que el embajador del gobierno Petro aplauda una revolución Marxista y sangrienta.
Es un grave insulto a todos los nicaragüenses y exiliados que aún sufren las repercusiones de los sandinistas. https://t.co/rg8Cn0uqUw
— Senator Marco Rubio (@SenMarcoRubio) July 10, 2023
The Colombian ambassador defended himself against criticism by saying that it is his obligation to participate in meetings and activities “important for the Sandinista government.” “I must make a strategic presence to take care of Colombia’s national interests in Nicaragua.
Ante las gestiones propias de la Embajada y los relacionamientos propios del protocolo entre gobiernos, es mi obligación como Embajador, participar en reuniones y/o actividades importantes para el Gobierno. pic.twitter.com/w9vmYiF6IT
— León Fredy Muñoz (@LeonFredyM) July 11, 2023
According to local Colombian media, the Colombian Foreign Ministry had called Muñoz for consultations about his presence in official activity.
Colombian President Gustavo Petro during his campaign distanced himself from the Nicaraguan government, betting on a new environmentalist left in the region. Petro joined the international condemnation of Ortega after the exile to the US of 222 Nicaraguan political prisoners at the beginning of last February.
The Colombian embassy in Managua did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Voice of America.