Supreme Court Judge, Rafael Solís, Resigns and Takes Refuge in Costa Rica

Rafael Solis confirms that the country is in a “state of terror” amid the consolidation of a “monarchic dictatorship” with “two kings”.

Rafael Solis confirms that the country is in a “state of terror” amid the consolidation of a “monarchic dictatorship” with “two kings”.

Rafael Solis, now former Nicaraguan Supreme Court magistrate and political operator in the judicial system for Daniel Ortega, resigned his position with the Court, as well as his membership in the Frente Sandinista de Liberación Nacional (FSLN).

Former Supreme Court magistrate Rafael Solis confirms that the country is in a “state of terror” amid the consolidation of a “monarchic dictatorship” with “two kings”.

Solis made his startling announcement in a letter on January 8, the day after he entered neighboring Costa Rica. The letter addressed to Ortega, vice -president Rosario Murillo, and the president of the National Assembly, Gustavo Porras, was made public on Thursday,

- payin the bills -

“I present my immediate and irrevocable resignation from this moment on as magistrate of the Supreme Court of Justice, and all political positions including militancy in the FSLN. This resignation is independent of the decision taken by the National Assembly to accept it or not, even though there are only three months left to conclude my term. However, I prefer to do it now, to avoid having applied to me that article of the Constitution that establishes that public officials elected by the National Assembly must continue in office if new appointments aren’t made, including even the Magistrates when their terms expire, which is what I think will happen in April,” wrote Solis.

In a letter, Solis explains that his decision is due to Ortega and Murillo’s handling of the political crisis in the country that, according to the OAS’ Inter-American Commission of Human Rights, has left at least 325 dead, more than 2000 wounded, 550 imprisoned and prosecuted, the dismissal of 300 doctors and other health professionals, and the expulsion of at least 144 students from the UNAN university.

Rafael Solis, who now refers to himself as an “ex-magistrate”, says that since April 18th he considered resigning on three separate occasions, but that “I always had the hope that through a National Dialogue of whatever nature, including more active participants and mediators, the Government presided over by you (Ortega and Murillo) could correct the serious errors committed throughout this period.”

Referring to the mid-May national dialogue sponsored by the Episcopal Conference that resulted in Ortega and his representatives boycotting the negotiations and suspension due to closedmindedness when presented with a democratization agenda proposed by the bishops, Solis wrote, “The year 2018 ended and none of that happened; rather the opposite – the government has been hardening its positions, bringing about an almost total international isolation. I sincerely do not see the slightest possibility that now, in 2019, a true new national dialogue will return to bring peace, justice and reconciliation to our country”.

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The letter is a harsh critique of the way in which Ortega and Murillo have handled the crisis:

“The reality is that, beyond the number of deaths that troubled me so greatly because of the pain of their mothers and other family members, and which may be more or less than the 325 indicated, and that in their great majority were from the sector opposed to the government and under circumstances that in some cases can be considered murders according to the IACHR and the Interdisciplinary Group of International Experts (GIEI); and even beyond the more than 500 prisoners considered political by the opposition and in the great majority by me as well, I always believed that good sense and the sanity would take over and you would proceed to a political negotiation that allowed early elections and some of the other points raised by the opposition.

“However, reality has proven to be the opposite: a State of Terror with the excessive use of para-police forces or even the Police itself with weapons of war, has sown fear in our country. There is no longer any right that is respected, with the inevitable consequences of the installation and consolidation of a dictatorship with characteristics of an absolute monarchy of two kings that have made all the Powers of the State disappear, reducing the Judicial Branch, to which I belong, to its minimal expression.”

Rafael Solis was one of the most eloquent political spokesmen of the FSLN and was one of the executors of the constitutional reforms that allowed Ortega to perpetuate himself in power.

In January 2009, the Court issued a ruling that freed former President Arnoldo Aleman from a 20-year sentence for fraud against the state, in exchange for the latter guaranteeing Ortega control of the National Assembly.

At the end of that year, the Constitutional Court, of which Judge Solís was a member, issued a judicial ruling that guaranteed Ortega the possibility of re-election, despite the fact that the Constitution prohibited continuous re-election. In an interview, Judge Solis said he owed respect to the Constitution, “which does not mean that I’m going to confront the Party,” from which he now resigns.

- paying the bills --

According to, Costa Rica’s immigration service confirmed Solis’ entrance to the neighboring country on January 7, but would not confirm or deny if Solis has made a request for refugee status.

Costa Rica’s immigration service cites a decision by that country’s Constitutional Court that prevents the service from giving out any such information. The immigration service did confirm that Solis, as of today, has not left Costa Rica.

It remains to be seen how the dictatorship of Ortega will react to the resignation.

of one of its loyalists. Solís was one of the most pragmatic voices within the circle of advisers surrounding Ortega. The same Solis, who knows his former partner very well, has no hope of a change in the authoritarian drift of the dictator. This was made clear in his letter.

“Hopefully a miracle will happen and you will reflect, and resume the path of the National Dialogue and the true reconciliation of the country, but the history of Nicaragua has taught us something different and in this case history will be repeated, and if you continue to sow winds you will reap the whirlwind, until it reaches an end that by force will be inevitable,”wrote Solís, who accompanies the letter with a copy of his ID.


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Nicaragua Adopts the Cuban – Venezuelan Model

In early October 2018, Daniel Ortega’s regime installed a state of siege via a Police decree prohibiting civic marches. The OAS Inter-American Commission for Human Rights warned at the time that Ortega instituted a de facto State of Emergency. He had essentially suspended constitutional rights such as the freedom of assembly and mobilization, free speech, and a free press.

The goal of the state of siege was to wipe out the independent civic protest and to suppress and divide the opposition. Further, they aimed to impose a false normality through repression. With this, they hoped to coopt the large business leaders and reestablish the regime’s political and economic alliances.

Nevertheless, looking at the facts, Ortega instead deepened his national and international isolation. In addition, for two consecutive years he aggravated the economic recession and the social crisis. This continued until the negligent management of the Coronavirus health crisis brought him an unexpected political invoice. The mismanaged public health crisis wore down the credibility of his leadership, even among the members of his own party.

The regime now announces the imposition of new punitive laws. There’s a push to allow the use of life sentences for certain crimes. There’s a new law to regulate supposed “foreign agents”, and a “cybercrimes” law, better known as the “Gag law”. With these, the regime is recognizing the failure of the police state. The repression never succeeded in squashing the civic protests. Even without massive demonstrations, the spirit of the resistance remains intact.  Despite the National Coalition’s stumbles and the lack of a united national front, today the resistance is greater and better organized. It now has a presence in all of the country’s municipalities.

In the next two weeks, the regime’s parliamentary steamroller will assure the approval of that combo of punitive laws. These impose severe jail sentences for any and all opposition, a majority who represent over three-fourths of the electorate.

However, in reality, the regime has never needed legal pretexts to repress and imprison. Almost two years ago, the police assaulted the offices of Confidencial and Esta Semana and executed a de facto confiscationThis was done without the backing of any judicial orders. Yet, despite the television censorship, they never silenced us. We continue our truth-based journalism. Meanwhile the independent press – persecuted, harassed and sometimes exiled – now enjoys much more credibility and influence than the official machinery.

The latest Cid-Gallup polls confirm that the majority of the population no longer believes the government’s lies about COVID-19. The express burials and the Ministry of Health statistics on pneumonia fatalities and COVID-19 tests speak for themselves. These facts refute the daily monologues of Vice President Rosario Murillo.  Because of that deception, every day political support for Ortega and the FSLN shrinks still more. His backing among the public employees, both civilian and military, continues eroding.

In reality, the “Gag Law” is aimed at threatening the honest and professional public servants. It is meant to keep them from leaking information to the press and the public regarding acts of political corruption.  Such acts are occurrences that the regime wishes to hide.

The “Cybercrimes Law” also threatens users of social media with jail time. However, the dictatorship will continue losing the battle for the truth in social media. They can’t control the massive exercise of free speech and the use of new information technologies now at the service of citizens.

These punitive laws aren’t a symptom of strength, but rather of the political and moral defeat of a minority regime. Why, then, does Ortega need to impose them against wind and tides?  There are at least three hypotheses to explain this imperious political necessity.  All are based on the regime’s urgency to adapt the Cuban and Venezuelan “model” of repressive authoritarianism to Nicaragua.

First, they intend to make full use of the Constitution and laws as one pillar of their repressive strategy. However, they don’t want these as guardians of rights, but as a means to criminalize democratic liberties and civic protest. Clearly, it’s not a carbon copy, but this strategy definitively reflects the Cuban and Venezuelan “model”. The regime is adapting that model to fit a dynastic family dictatorship with the aim of liquidating the democratic project in Nicaragua.

Expedited by the “Law” he’s mandating, Ortega will now be able to eliminate organizations of civil society. He will also control any eventual adversaries and political competitors, by criminalizing them as “foreign agents”. The Venezuelan experience demonstrates that despite high international political costs, the Cuban “model” can prove effective in giving the regime stability. Through this model, pure and harsh repression can be draped in a “legal” mantle. For Ortega, this translates into an incentive to accumulate political hostages and gain time.

Secondly, the regime intends to take over the agenda of justice and present itself as a punisher of “hate crimes”. The latter would now carry a sentence of life in prison. This, in the end, is merely a defensive act. It responds to the need to assure the Sandinista bases that they’re not the ones under the gaze of justice.

Those accused of true “hate crimes”, crimes against humanity, crimes with no statute of limitations, are in the regime’s inner circle. The finger points to members of the Ortega-Murillo regime who are most directly tied to the repression. However, as in the April killings and the failed official narrative of an attempted “Coup d’Etat”, Ortega will point the finger elsewhere. He’ll try to convince his followers that his own hate crimes can be attributed to the victims.

Thirdly, although the Nicaraguan Constitution proclaims political pluralism, this combo of punitive laws assures there’ll be no competitive elections. With these laws, Ortega has ratified his stance for the November 2021 elections. Given this, it’s illusory to expect some electoral opening from a regime that’s willing to play All or Nothing. Though they risk further international sanctions and a declaration of illegitimacy, they’ll be celebrating the elections with no competition and without transparency.

Will we arrive at the opening of the 2021 electoral campaign without a political reform?  The answer to this interrogative doesn’t depend on Ortega, but on the political opposition.  Ortega has already decided to radicalize his authoritarian model. Meanwhile, the opposition continues to be paralyzed. They’re discussing which electoral box is the safest, in imaginary elections in which they haven’t even been invited to participate.

Meanwhile, the national debate must center itself on determining the most effective strategy. The opposition must work on joining forces, weakening the regime, and altering the balance of power. They must thus force a political reform on the regime, one that results from national and international pressure. First, the reform, with or without Ortega, and later free elections.


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