Tuesday, Apr 23, 2024

Why did Central America shift UN votes on Russia-Ukraine war?

Why did Central America shift UN votes on Russia-Ukraine war?

Nicaragua, Honduras and El Salvador’s vote changes this year reflect relations with world superpowers, analysts say.

Central American countries have shifted their voting records on United Nations resolutions related to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine during the past months, underscoring their complex relationships with global superpowers and each other, according to analysts.

Nicaragua was one of only five countries to vote against a UN resolution last week calling for non-recognition and a reversal of Russia’s “attempted illegal annexation” of four regions in Ukraine. Russia, Belarus, Syria and North Korea also voted against the resolution.

The October 12 resolution passed in the UN General Assembly with 143 votes in favour. Honduras was among 35 abstentions and El Salvador was one of eight countries not present for the vote.

The three Central American countries voted differently on a March 2 resolution demanding Russia immediately withdraw all military forces from Ukraine. Honduras voted in favour of that resolution and El Salvador and Nicaragua both abstained.

“The surprising thing is not now, but rather Nicaragua’s choice in March,” said Carlos Cascante, a professor of international relations at the National University in Costa Rica.

Political timing

Since President Daniel Ortega took office in 2007, Nicaragua has developed a close relationship with Russia, though ties are primarily political. The United States is Nicaragua’s top trading partner by far, followed by other Central American countries and Mexico.

Nicaragua has consistently been outspoken in its support for Russia and its voting record at the UN usually reflects that. Analysts were unsure why Nicaragua broke from its pattern and abstained in March.

One hypothesis is that Nicaragua aligned its March vote with China’s abstention before returning to its alignment with Russia, said Cascante. Nicaragua cut diplomatic ties with Taiwan and re-established relations with China in December.

Meanwhile, Nicaragua’s June authorisation of the deployment of military personnel from Russia and other countries made international headlines, but it was essentially a required periodic renewal of a longstanding policy.

“Russia has had different kinds of military presence in Nicaragua, especially military advisers and intelligence advisers,” Cascante told Al Jazeera.

Still, the timing was also notable as news of the renewal hit global headlines during the Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles, Cascante noted. The US had not invited Nicaragua, Venezuela or Cuba.

“What is happening is that the international context [of the Russia-Ukraine war] and the internal situation in Nicaragua reframed how the renewal of the agreement was perceived,” said Carlos Murillo, a professor of international relations at the University of Costa Rica.

Ortega’s perpetual concern is US intervention, so Nicaragua’s interest is to project support from a powerful ally for dissuasive effect, he said. “Historically, Nicaragua has been very skilful at managing its diplomatic actions, although it may not always be apparent,” Murillo told Al Jazeera.

‘Thumbing nose at US’

Honduras and El Salvador have close trade relationships with Nicaragua, as well as a longstanding border dispute. Both countries abstained this year on Organization of the American States resolutions condemning Nicaragua on civil and political rights issues.

Following its abstention at the UN General Assembly last week, Honduran officials from the administration of President Xiomara Castro, who took office in January, stated the abstention should be understood as a position of neutrality with regard to wars. Earlier this year, however, Honduras took a clear side against Russia in UN votes.

“Central American countries, especially Honduras, understand that [these votes] are an element with which they can pressure the United States to get things out of them,” said Cascante.

“Internally in Honduras … it benefits [Castro] to maintain a position of saying, ‘I am not a puppet of the United States like [former President] Juan Orlando Hernandez was,” he said.

Meanwhile, Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele has a strained relationship with the administration of US President Joe Biden and El Salvador’s votes at the UN on the Russia-Ukraine war may reflect that.

“There’s some thumbing the nose at the US that we’ve certainly seen coming out of the Bukele administration,” said Christine Wade, a professor of Central American politics at Washington College in Maryland.

“There isn’t significant Russian investment in El Salvador but there is a lot of Chinese investment in El Salvador, so one question becomes whether this is signalling to China, as well as to the United States,” she told Al Jazeera.

El Salvador abstained in March but was a no-show on the vote last week. Countries that do not want to register any stance either fail to attend or withdraw before a vote.

“Not voting or an absence is understood as a manifestation of a country having commitments on both sides,” said Murillo. “It is to avoid being questioned.”


Related Articles

Apple warns against drying iPhones with rice
In a recent High Court hearing, the U.S. argued that Julian Assange endangered lives by releasing classified information.
Global Law Enforcement Dismantles Lockbit Ransomware Operation
Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny has died at the Arctic prison colony
The President of Argentina Javier Mile does not fly private, he flies commercial, with the citizens he represents. And they LOVE him for it.
Bitcoin Reaches $50,000 for First Time in Over Two Years
Belo Horizonte: Brazil's Rising Carnival Hotspot for 2024
In El Salvador, the 'Trump of Latin America' stuns the world with a speech slamming woke policing after winning a landslide election
Tucker’s interview with Putin is over 50M views on X within the first 5 hours.
Finnish Airline, Finnair, is voluntarily weighing passengers to better estimate flight cargo weight
President Nayib Bukele has proudly announced El Salvador's remarkable achievement of becoming the safest nation in the Western Hemisphere.
Former Chilean President Sebastian Piñera Dies in Helicopter Crash
This farmer seems to understand science a bit more than the event organizer, Klaus Schwab.
Facebook turns 20: From Mark Zuckerberg's dormitory to a $1trn company
The Coolest Dictator in the World" on the Path to Victory in El Salvador
Macron, France and fake news
Indian-Origin Man 'King' Arrested For Smuggling $16 Million Drugs Into US
Can someone teach Americans that not every person with slanted eyes is Chinese?
Europe's Farmers Feeding the People, Protesting Against Politicians Who Do Nothing for Their Country and Serve Only Themselves at Taxpayers' Expense
Paris Restaurant That Inspired 'Ratatouille' Loses $1.6 Million Worth Of Wine
Brazilian Police Investigate Bolsonaro's Son for Alleged Illegal Spying
Police in Brazil Raid Residence of Bolsonaro Associate Over Allegations of Illegal Spying
Border Dispute Escalates as Texas Governor Vows Increased Razor Wire
OpenAI Enhances ChatGPT-4 Model, Potentially Addressing AI "Laziness" Issue
The NSA finally acknowledges spying on Americans by acquiring sensitive data
Report Reveals Toxic Telegram Group Generating X-Rated AI-Generated Fake Images of Taylor Swift
US Border Patrol States 'No Plans' to Remove Razor Wire Installed in Texas
Bitcoin Experiences Approximately 20% Decline in Value
Klaus Schwab recently appointed himself as the Earth's "trustee of the future."
DeSantis Drops Out, Endorses Trump.
Nikki Haley said former President Trump is "just not at the same level" of mental fitness as he was while president in 2016.
Residents of a southern Mexican town set the government palace on fire in response to the police killing of a young man
Samsung Launches AI-Driven Galaxy S24, Ushering in New Smartphone Era
Judge Questions SEC's Regulatory Overreach in Coinbase Lawsuit
The Ecuador prosecutor who was investigating the television studio attack, has been assassinated.
Is artificial intelligence the solution to cyber security threats?
Vivek Ramaswamy suspends his US election campaign and endorses Trump.
Viral Satire: A Staged Satirical Clip Mistaken as Real Footage from the 2024 World Economic Forum in Davos
The AI Revolution in the Workforce: CEOs at Davos Predict Major Job Cuts in 2024
Ecuador Reports 178 Hostages in Prison Gang Standoff
The Startling Cuban Espionage Case That Has Rattled the US Government
Two Armed Men in Ecuador, Dressed as Batman and The Joker Storm the Streets.
Armed Gang Raids Ecuadorian TV Station Following State of Emergency Declaration
Anti-Democratic Canada: Journalist Arrested for Questioning Canadian Finance Minister on Support of Terrorist Group
Ecuador's 'Most-Wanted' Criminal Vanishes from Prison
Mexican Cartel Supplied Wi-Fi to Locals Under Threat of Fatal Consequences for Non-Compliance
Border Surge Leads to Over 11,000 Migrants Waiting in Northern Mexico
Outsider Candidates Triumph in Latin American Elections
As Argentina Goes to the Polls, Will the Proposal to Replace the Peso with the Dollar Secure Votes?
Fatal Shark Attack Claims Life of Boston Woman Paddleboarding Near Bahamas Resort, According to Police