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What could happen in Nicaragua if the Ortega regime declares a state of emergency due to the coronavirus?

Daniel Ortega does not need an excuse to repress citizens because he is already doing it "shamelessly", and "citizens' rights are de facto suspended".

All signs indicate that the Daniel Ortega regime is not in favor of quarantine, the closing of borders or a more extreme measure: declaring a State of emergency. However, it is a latent theme.

La Prensa

With two confirmed cases of covid-19 they assure that they are prepared and vigilant in the face of the pandemic, words that could have fallen on deaf ears for the hundreds of Nicaraguans who the next day who confirmed the first case launched into supermarkets to stock up on food.

The possibility of a state of emergency is a latent scenario, which other countries have already implemented to prevent more people from getting coronavirus.

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The Political Constitution of Nicaragua contemplates in its article 185 that the President of the Republic may decree “for all or part of the national territory and for a determined and extendable time, the suspension of Rights and Guarantees, when the security of the nation demands it. , economic conditions or in the event of a national catastrophe. The Emergency Law will regulate its modalities,” it reads.

The decree must contain the reasons on which the State of emergency is based, the rights and guarantees that are suspended, if it applies to all or part of the national territory and the duration.

This would have to be sent to the National Assembly for ratification within a period not exceeding 45 days. Security specialist Elvira Cuadra explained that a state of emergency would not make much difference in Nicaragua because “in fact, the country has been in a state of emergency since 2018, but without having been officially declared by the National Assembly.”

Political analyst José Pallais agrees with Cuadra in assuring that he does not believe that the government decides on a state of exception. The specialist assures that in the event that if they declare it, “this what it could mean is the tightening of authoritarian measures to control the population, such as the imposition of curfews and more arbitrary actions by different public institutions,” he explained.

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In the midst of the covid-19 pandemic, the Ortega regime continues the siege against political opponents and opponents, the police are still on the streets, implementing surveillance to avoid any type of protest action.

This is why Pallais assures that Daniel Ortega does not need an excuse to repress citizens because he is already doing it “shamelessly”, and “citizens’ rights are de facto suspended”.

For Pallais, the government does not require “legal coverage” to continue with the same state violence, so it is “to think that it will do so to have legal coverage when he despises the legality of the country and does not comply with constitutional provisions, I don’t see him moving in that line (of a state of emergency), ”he said.

Article 10 of the Law establishes that the president, when the respective constitutional rights and guarantees have been suspended, in cases where the security of the nation so demands, may exercise by himself or the authorities he delegates, dictate necessary preventive measures. to ensure public order and the security of the nation, which must be communicated to the population.

Under the reasoning of maintaining control of public order or the security of the nation, it can prevent, if necessary, the performance of acts that contravene the provisions of the decree of suspension of rights and guarantees, decree house arrest of people it considers dangerous or suspected of attacking public order, as well as ordering in writing the search of the domicile or office of any natural or legal person. All these actions have already been denounced by human rights organizations, as repressive acts to silence dissent.

For sociologist Oscar René Vargas, what the regime is looking for is for a coronavirus spike to occur, which generates alarm in the population, with the aim of legitimizing their state of siege, de facto, that is to say, “it will use the coronavirus to legitimize their repression, in the sense that it will limit that nobody mobilizes for any reason, “he said.

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Regardless of whether the economic recession further weakens the regime, the problem is that putting citizens on “red alert” does not change many things for citizens who previously could not demonstrate due to the repression, but would affect their social base. In addition to political violence, he would now add a late response to avoid the peak of the pandemic, he explained.

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With the 2009 pandemic due to Influenza or H1N1, the Ortega regime declared a Health Emergency throughout the national territory for a period of sixty days to develop prevention, control and mitigation actions.

However, before the appearance of covid-19, with more than 200,000 infected and more than 9,000 dead worldwide, the regime continues to contain human trafficking and has been the same population, through social networks, who have urged everyone to stay at home.

This report was originally published in Spanish at La Prensa.

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