TODAY NICARAGUA – The Nicaraguan government assures that the imprisoned political opponents detained on charges of “inciting foreign intervention” are “usurpers” financed by the United States to overthrow President Daniel Ortega.
For the Sandinista government, the opponents, detained in successive police raids five months before the presidential elections, do not represent “the true opposition of Nicaragua” because they have not registered or been selected as candidates by any political party.
“The only thing that this group of opposition usurpers has in common is their loyalty to the government of the United States,” said the government through a text entitled “Nicaragua: In defense of sovereignty and the rule of law.”
According to the document, the opponents, directly or “through their respective NGOs, have received millions of dollars in money from the American people through USAID” and other agencies, to “overthrow the elected government of President Commander Daniel Ortega Saavedra”.
The government’s indictment comes amid harsh criticism from the international community and U.S. sanctions for the arrest of 13 opponents, including four presidential hopefuls, prominent members of the Sandinista dissidence, and leaders of private business and civil society.
The police raid began on June 2 with the arrest of Cristiana Chamorro, daughter of former President Violeta Barrios de Chamorro.
Former diplomat, Arturo Cruz; political scientist Félix Maradiaga and economist Juan Sebastián Chamorro, Cristiana’s cousin, were arrested days later.
The arrests continued with Dora María Téllez, Violeta Granera, José Pallais, José Adán Aguerri and Mario Arana and others.
The international community has demanded their immediate release.
However, Ortega’s government asked that there be “no interference” in the investigation against these people, accused “of crimes of money laundering, fraud, treason or seditious conspiracy.”
They ask for more sanctions
Bob Menéndez, chairman of the United States Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Marco Rubio, the highest-ranking member of the Upper House Western Hemisphere Subcommittee, urged President Joe Biden to use “all the tools diplomats available to confront the Ortega regime. ”
In a letter to the Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, they demanded to increase the economic sanctions against officials close to Ortega and to redouble the joint work with the Organization of American States (OAS) to coordinate a multilateral rejection of the “undemocratic attack” of the Nicaraguan government.
Meanwhile, Mexico’s Ministry of Foreign Relations spoke for the first time on the arrests and noted that “it has followed with concern the recent actions taken by the Nicaraguan government.
In addition, it mentioned that since his policy of non-intervention and self-determination of the peoples, it has expressed to Nicaraguan authorities their concern “for the integrity and freedom of the detainees.”
The OAS Permanent Council met this Tuesday virtually and “unequivocally” condemned the arrest of opponents of Daniel Ortega’s government and called for their “immediate release,” according to a resolution approved on Tuesday.
The decision, flatly rejected by the Managua delegate, was adopted by 26 of the 34 active members of the regional bloc during an extraordinary (virtual) session of the Permanent Council of the OAS, its executive body.
In addition to Nicaragua, Bolivia and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines voted against, while Argentina, Belize, Dominica, Honduras, and Mexico abstained.
— OEA (@OEA_oficial) June 15, 2021
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 -and remains after three successive reelections. His opponents estimate that he will seek a fourth term in the November 7 elections, since he has yet to make his candidacy official.
He has been accused by the opposition and the international community of ruling in an authoritarian manner, following the brutal repression of demonstrations against his management in 2018, which left more than 300 dead and thousands of exiles, according to human rights organizations.
The Sandinista government assured that it will hold “free, fair and transparent” general elections and demanded “the non-interference of any foreign government” in the process.
It also demanded that the unilateral sanctions imposed be “eliminated”, since it considers that “the only legal sanctions are those dictated by the United Nations Security Council.”