Nicaraguan Opposition Questions Thaksin’s Passport

thaksin_nicaragua

The Nicaraguan opposition party warns its president that issuing a diplomatic passport to Thai fugitive former PM, Thaksin Shinawatra, may be against the country’s laws. Meanwhile, the vice president of Nicaragua denies any prior knowledge of the issue.

The Nicaraguan opposition party warned the Nicaraguan government, after it authorized a diplomatic passport for fugitive former Thai PM Thaksin Shinawatra, that his position did not warrant this accreditation, even if there are plans to appoint him to be an investment consultant to the country.

A report in the Nicaraguan press revealed that Vice President Jaime Morales, who is responsible for overseas investor relations, does not have a close relationship with Thaksin. However, Thaksin has been appointed as a special ambassador of Nicaragua.

President Daniel Ortega

President Daniel Ortega

The report said that the Nicaraguan government, led by President Daniel Ortega, remains quiet about this issue, fearful that it could be lead to a conflict between the two countries.

Thailand does not have an extradition agreement with Nicaragua, but the Thai government is going to try to negotiate an extradition with Nicaragua.

Thaksin was reported to have been using his diplomatic passport to fly to Nicaragua from the United Arab Emirates early Saturday morning. However, there is no confirmation from the Nicaragua immigration bureau that Thaksin entered the country. The Thai police also came out to say yesterday that there were no departure records of Thaksin from the UAE

Thai Asian News Network (TOC News)

April 22. 2009

Nicaraguan party queries Thaksin move

Nicaragua came up in the Thai press in late February when it was named as a country prepared to offer shelter to fugitive former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra

But Nicaragua has not only given Thaksin special citizenship, the central American state has also granted him a passport.

daniel-ortega-y-thaksin-shiA picture of Thaksin shaking hands with a man believed to be Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega during a visit to the capital Managua was published by a local newspaper, and later released to international media outlets.

Sunisa Lertpakawat’s second book, ‘Thaksin Are You OK?’, launched earlier this month, published the pictures of Thaksin with Ortega, and the ousted Thai PM with his Nicaraguan passport. Sunisa claimed she witnessed the incident herself in February while researching the book.

Late last year, small countries in the Atlantic and Africa were said to have offered the ex-PM safe-haven and similar roles. Thaksin claimed he had honorary citizenship or advisory positions for trade promotion.

Nicaragua was of interest to Thais as Thaksin was reported to have used his Nicaraguan passport to travel.

The Foreign Ministry revoked Thaksin’s regular passport last week after he urged the red shirts to rise up against Abhisit government and the Asean summit venue in Pattaya was overrun.

nicaragua_passport1While Thais were not sure initially whether Thaksin received another passport, the Nicaraguan government said it had granted the fugitive ex-PM a diplomatic passport.

Thaksin was to be accredited as an ambassador with a “special mission” to help bring in investment.

On Sunday, United Arab Emirates’ Arabian Business reported thatThaksin had left the UAE for Nicaragua.

Thailand does not have an extradition agreement with Nicaragua, but the Thai government wants to try to negotiate an extradition treaty with the country.

At the same time, Nicaraguan media reported opposition MPs questioning what the country would get from Ortega’s decision to support Thaksin. Some feared his move could be illegal.

Thai papers and news agencies reported that the Nicaraguan opposition party warned Ortega’s government, after it granted Thaksin a diplomatic passport, that his position did not warrant such accreditation, even if there were plans to appoint him as an investment consultant for the country.

A report in the Nicaraguan press said Vice President Jaime Morales, who is responsible for overseas investor relations, did not have a close relationship with Thai ex-premier. However, Thaksin’s appointment as a special ambassador for the country looked to have been recommended by one or more of Ortega’s advisors, the media reported.

The report said the Nicaraguan government remained quiet about the issue, fearful that it could be lead to a conflict between the two countries.

Thais are also interested why Ortega opted to support Thaksin. Some Thai and Nicaraguan media reported that Ortega met Thaksin when he was Thai PM. The relationship allegedly started because Ortega said his country was interested in investment in telecommunication and energy.

When Ortega led Nicaragua in the 80s, the government seized property from the wealthy during the 1979 Sandinista revolution. He also led the country through civil war with anti-American and Marxism ideologies. But during his election campaign in 2006, he said he would support foreign investment as he wanted to fight poverty in his land.

By Kornchanok Raksaseri
The Nation
Published on April 23, 2009

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