Europe

Spain recalls ambassador to Nicaragua amid deepening political crisis

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MADRID, Aug 11 (Reuters) - Spain has recalled its ambassador to Nicaragua after the Nicaraguan government accused Madrid of meddling in domestic politics, the Spanish foreign ministry said on Wednesday, further isolating the Central American country.

The decision comes a day after Nicaragua recalled its ambassadors to Mexico, Argentina, Colombia and Costa Rica in response to similar moves by those countries.

Nicaraguan security forces have arrested scores of prominent business and political figures opposed to President Daniel Ortega in recent months, including seven opposition candidates for president. He has cracked down violently on protests against his government. read more

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Spain, alongside other European nations and the United States, has repeatedly called on Ortega to end the violence and respect human rights.

In a strongly worded statement published on Tuesday, the Nicaraguan foreign ministry accused Spain of interfering in its internal affairs and said the Iberian country was far from a perfect democracy.

It labelled Spain's use of paramilitary forces linked to former socialist politicians during the campaign against Basque separatist group ETA in the 1980s as "state terrorism" and suggested the Spanish government was responsible for extrajudicial killings of prisoners.

"We challenge and defy the Kingdom of Spain to take full and true responsibility for its ferocious and brutal colonial and neo-colonial history," the statement read.

Spain said it categorically rejected the contents of the Nicaraguan statement and urged the government to comply with international human rights commitments.

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Reporting by Belén Carreño and Nathan Allen; editing by Jonathan Oatis

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