Although the Daniel Ortega regime has not officially declared the closure of borders or blocked the entry of foreigners, the Government rejected a repatriation flight for Nicaraguans from the Cayman Islands that would have arrived on, Saturday, April 18, in Managua.
The Government on Friday claimed that from now on it has closed its borders due to the pandemic.
On April 15, Cayman Airways reported that it would make flights to Managua on April 18 to repatriate Nicaraguans who are on the island and are looking for a way out of there amid the pandemic.
However, on Friday, the regime backed down.
“The Government of the Cayman Islands informed Cayman Airways that the Nicaraguan Government closed its borders indefinitely as of today (April 17), and as a result, repatriation flights scheduled to depart from Grand Cayman to Managua this Saturday, April 18, 2020, have been canceled,” the airline reported on its website.
The airline had scheduled two flights, one leaving the island at 8:30 am and at Aeropuerto Internacional Augusto C. Sandino airport, in Managua at 9:05 am, and the second leaving at 1:50 pm and arriving at 2:25 pm.
“Cayman Airways reservation agents are in the process of contacting affected passengers regarding the cancellation of repatriation flights from Managua. Passengers will receive a refund back to their original form of payment for their tickets,” said the airline.
Several days ago it had been known that there were Nicaraguans from the Caribbean Coast working in the Cayman Islands and that they were looking for a flight to return to Nicaragua. When they had finally found a flight, the Ortega government rejected their entry.
Through social networks, a group of 50 Nicaraguans stranded in the Cayman Islands asked the Government to help them return to Nicaragua because they did not have jobs in that country due to the impact of the pandemic.
CANCELLED NICARAGUA REPATRIATION FLIGHTS FAQ:
Q. Will the Cayman Gov’t provide support for stranded Nicaraguans in Cayman?
A. Yes. Work permit holders may call 244-8000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Residents may Call 946-0024 or email email@example.com. https://t.co/pjRYieeBLL
— Cayman Airways (@CaymanAirways) April 17, 2020
But, is the border closed?
For now, the Daniel Ortega regime has not officially announced the official closure of borders, the only country in Central America that has not publicly restricted the entry of foreigners.
What has happened is that, as of several days ago, all airlines have ceased their flights to and from Nicaragua, taking into account that most of the airports in Latin America are closed, due to confinement as a consequence of the pandemic.
Ortega’s decision is contrary to the measures that the other countries of Central America have adopted, that although they have closed their borders, they allow the entry of their citizens and legal residents, subject to quarantine measures to reduce the risk of contagion.
To the south, Costa Rica, for example, which closed its borders to foreigners on March 19, made it clear by decree that it would only allow Costa Ricans and foreigners with residence to enter, who must remain in isolation for 14 days in their homes.
Panama did so days earlier, on March 16. The Panamanian Health Ministry said that all nationals or foreigners with residence who arrived after that date would have to serve a 14-day quarantine.
Meanwhile, to the north, El Salvador, although the Government of Nayib Bukele ruled out the possibility of repatriation flights being organized as a State, he explained that if Salvadorans and foreigners residing in the country arrive, they will enter and be subject to a month’s quarantine.
Guatemala, which closed its borders on March 16, said that during the quarantine, only Guatemalans or members of the diplomatic corps will be allowed to enter by land, who will be subjected to a period of quarantine.
Honduras also decreed on March 16 the closure of its borders, but during that period the entry of Honduran citizens will be allowed.
In Nicaragua, the embassies of the European Union and other countries urged their citizens to return to their respective countries due to the fragility of the Nicaraguan health system.
Measure is illegal
According to Avil Ramírez, lawyer and former Minister of Defense in the Enrique Bolaños government (2002 – 2007), the measure taken by the Daniel Ortega regime is completely illegal and arbitrary, since it violates the country’s Political Constitution that in its article in article 28 says: “Nicaraguans have the right to freely enter and leave the country”.
The director of borders, Edgar Acevedo, recently stated that “the Directorate of Immigration and Foreigners does not have any restriction for any national to enter the territory”.
“So it is not understood why, 24 hours after Mr. Ortega appeared saying that everything was normal in the country, and without knowing any disposition that orders the contrary, the flight into which the Nicaraguan people who had been stranded on the Island of Grand Cayman were prevented from entering the national territory. It is yet another arbitrariness of the regime,” he said.
Faced with such a situation, Ramírez explained that the only thing left for the Nicaraguans stranded in that territory is to wait for a humanitarian act on the part of the regime.
“We are clear that through the legal instruments that protect them (the Nicaraguan), nothing can be done, we must wait before the arbitrariness committed by the same State that should protect their rights and rather what it has done is violate them”, he concluded.