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Journalist Carlos Chamorro exiles in Costa Rica for ‘extreme threats’

We must defend the last spaces of freedom of the press, which is the first freedom, and freedom of expression, threatened by the Ortega dictatorship.

Monday, January 20,  marked one month since the closing of the 100% Noticias cable news channel and the imprisonment of owner/director Miguel Mora and news director Lucia Pineda, accused “inciting hatred and terrorism”.

Carlos Chamorro outside the offices of Confidencial.com.ni seized on December 14, 2018. Photo Carlos Herrera / Confidencial

A week earlier the National Police acted against the newsroom of the online news Confidencial and the television programs Esta Semana and Esta Noche and the subsequent occupying of their facilities, which have been confiscated.

Due to the continued escalation of repression against the independent press, Confidencial director, Carlos Chamorro on Sunday night announced his self-imposed exile in Costa Rica following ‘extreme threats’ against him by the Daniel Ortega regime.

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Chamorro, during his Sunday live broadcast, announced his decision to continue reporting from Costa Rica.

“Given these extreme threats I have had to adopt the painful decision of going into exile to protect my physical integrity and my freedom, and above all to continue to exercise independent journalism from Costa Rica, where I am at this moment,” Chamorro said.

On the Confidencial website, Chamorro wrote, “Despite the massive theft of our equipment and the persecution of our journalists, we have not failed to broadcast a single edition of Esta Semana (This Week) on television and have kept up the Confidencial website, along with the weekly print edition, both providing news, analysis, and opinion on the national crisis. This is our assertion of the sacred commitment to freedom of the press and freedom of expression.

“We have resorted to all legal mechanisms available to demand justice. These include the right of petition and information before the Police, where they responded with physical aggression. We reported the theft to the Public Ministry to investigate a criminal act executed by the Police, and filed for a writ contemplated in the Constitution, before the Supreme Court, so that it orders an end to the occupation of our facilities and the return of what was stolen.

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“However, not only has there not been a corrective response from the authorities, or even any attempt to explain or justify this takeover, but on the contrary, the threats attempting to criminalize my professional work have worsened.”

On the Sunday night broadcast, Chamorro thanked Costa Rican authorities and the Government of President Carlos Alvarado for the welcome they have given him and his wife and me, as well as to the tens of thousands of Nicaraguans who have requested refuge there.

According to Costa Rica immigration, as of December, 40,323 Nicaraguans requested refuge in the neighboring country.

“From Costa Rica, I will continue to work as a journalist in Confidencial, Esta Semana and Esta Noche, investigating and denouncing crimes, corruption and impunity, and documenting the terminal crisis of the Ortega dictatorship,” said Chamorro.

The journalist continued with, “I am convinced that better days are coming for Nicaragua, and that it is imperative to keep open all spaces of freedom of expression, to continue building the hope of a new Republic, as my father, Pedro Joaquín Chamorro, dreamed. A democratic republic with social justice, based on profound institutional reforms, which this time will make irreversible the guarantee that a dictatorship will never again be imposed. A democracy without surnames, to root out the seeds of dictatorship, caudillismo, and authoritarianism.”

Chamorro is calling on the conscience of the people of Nicaragua to defend press freedom, as the first of all freedoms, the release of colleagues Miguel Mora and Lucía Pineda, with dual nationality (Nicaraguan and Costa Rican), and the release of all political prisoners.

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“We also demand an end to the persecution against the independent press, against my colleagues at Confidencial, Esta Semana and Esta Noche; and against the media and journalists of 100% Noticias, Channel 12, Channel 10, La Prensa, El Nuevo Diario, Diario Hoy, Radio Corporación, Article 66, Nicaragua Investiga, Boletín Ecológico, Radio Universidad, Radio Darío, the local cable stations and stations of the country’s departments, and more than 50 journalists who are in exile,” wrote Chamorro.

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