TODAY NICARAGUA – The vice president of Nicaragua and First Lady, Rosario Murillo, assured that those who feel persecuted are for the crimes they have committed, at a time when several opponents of Daniel Ortega’s government were arrested in recent days amid international criticism.
“Do not steal, say the commandments of God’s law. Can any ecclesial representative approve the theft, robbery (…) the resources that they ask for death, that they ask to spread blood in the Nicaraguan communities that love peace, that they ask for and then happily distribute among themselves?” Murillo said.
Although on this occasion President Daniel Ortega’s wife did not say who she was referring to, her comments made when four presidential candidates, Arturo Cruz, Félix Maradiaga, Juan Sebastián Chamorro García and Cristiana Chamorro, are under arrest on charges of “inciting foreign intervention” among others.
In addition, business leader José Aguerri and two representatives of civil society, the former Foreign Minister José Pallais and the activist Violeta Granera, were arrested in the past two weeks.
“Each one of them calls with ridiculous booming voices to continue installing hatred in our Nicaragua,” she added.
“How many of those who say they feel persecuted today. Persecuted? Persecuted for themselves, for their outrages, for their crimes. How many of those puchos (people with little to offer or contribute) can be said to be honest? Honesty is a quality and a gift from God,” said Murillo.
The arrests led to new sanctions by the United States and other countries against Ortega’s administration, including several high-ranking officials and Ortega’s daughter, Camila Ortega Murillo.
The wave of raids and arrests against political opponents of Daniel Ortega began on June 2 with Cristiana Chamorro, daughter of former President Violeta Barrios de Chamorro and the candidate most likely to defeat Daniel Ortega, if he decides to run for a fourth consecutive term.
Ortega, a former guerrilla who ruled from 1979 to 1990, returned to power in 2007 with the Frente Sandinista de Liberación Nacional (FSLN) – Sandinista National Liberation Front – has yet to announce his running for a fourth term.
His opponents expect him to do so, or perhaps is paving the way for a presidency by his vice-president and wife, Rosario Murillo.
Ortega has been accused by the opposition, human rights organizations and the international community of ruling in an authoritarian manner, after the brutal repression of the demonstrations against his management in 2018, which left more than 300 dead and thousands of exiles.
The Organization of American States (OAS) has called for an emergency meeting on Tuesday, June 15, to discuss the Nicaragua situation, with a possible expulsion from the OAS membership.
While Chamorro is under house arrest, Arturo Cruz, Félix Maradiaga and Juan Sebastián Chamorro, are in jail, in preventive detention while the investigation against that includes “treason” continues.
It is speculated that jailing Chamorro would be a political mistake, keeping her under house arrest a softer political move on the part of Ortega.
Nicaragua’s Congress, control by a majority of Ortega allies, lashed out at the new United States sanctions against the government as “interfering, intervening, and unilateral.”
It also condemned “the traitors of the homeland who have promoted economic and commercial blockades and arbitrary sanctions against the Nicaraguan people.”
Cristiana Chamorro is prosecuted for allegedly laundering money from the foundation that she directed and that bears the name of her mother, charges that she describes as “farce” to remove her from the career.
For government supporters, the Chamorro Foundation participated in a campaign against the Executive, with funding from Washington. The same accusations were made against the other detained opponents.
European Union and Central America weigh in
The head of diplomacy of the European Union (EU), Josep Borrell warned about the “deterioration of the political situation” in Nicaragua and condemned the actions against opponents, journalists, human rights defenders and civil society.
The EU called for the immediate and unconditional release of the candidates and considered that their arrest “further undermines the credibility of an electoral process already affected by a reform” that ignored recommendations from electoral observation missions in previous years.
In Cental America the presidents of Guatemala, Alejandro Giammattei and of Costa Rica, Carlos Alvarado, expressed their concern on Thursday about the political crisis in Nicaragua, which could hinder the joint goals of the countries of the Central American Integration System (SICA) to contain migration.
A crisis could unleash “a very large migration, where the first affected would be Costa Rica, as it is the closest country and that has other consequences. For example, the countries are not prepared to receive hundreds of thousands of people fleeing a regime. like the one to be installed,” said the Guatemala President
The President of Costa Rica, Carlos Alvarado, described the persecution of Nicaragua President Daniel Ortega against opponents as reprehensible after the government system controlled by the Sandinista leader arrested four presidential candidates in the last eight days.
Meanwhile, business unions from El Salvador, Costa Rica and Nicaragua joined the demand for freedom for the detained opponents and in particular for the business leader Aguerri.
The Federation of Chambers and Industrial Associations of Central America (Fecaica), of which Aguerri is one of his directors, considered that his arrest “violates the institutionality, freedom, legal security and democracy of Central America.”