Nicaragua: Daniel Ortega justifies the arrests of candidates and alleges they are ‘criminal coup plotters’

Daniel Ortega Nicaragua President

The Nicaraguan president compared the arrests of opponents and presidential candidates with those of the Americans who stormed the Capitol on January 6 to show their support for former President Donald Trump.

The president of Nicaragua, Daniel Ortega, on Wednesday justified the arrests of presidential candidates for the country’s elections and argued that they are not “judging politicians or candidates” but “criminals who try again to organize a coup.”

“That they do not come with the story that they are candidates, if there are no candidates registered here (…) they did not even have a unique candidate,” he said at the time that he stressed that the United States has detained more than 400 people in relation to the assault on the Capitol January 6. “There are more than 400 there and here they are screaming for 20,” according to La Prensa.

He also mentioned that in the investigations being carried out by the Prosecutor’s Office “a network has been found that conspired and had been conspiring against social security (…) to commit the most brutal crimes that have been committed in Nicaragua” in reference to the 2018 protests.

In a public speech with his wife and vice president, Rosario Murillo, he also lashed out at the United States, the European Union and the Organization of American States (OAS) for their calls on Nicaragua to release the detainees.

“And some countries daring to attack Nicaragua (…) and ask for more sanctions. There they are on their knees asking for sanctions against the Yankee empire. They think that with sanctions they will subdue Nicaragua. Nicaragua has gone through more difficult times, much harder,” he said.

Daniel Ortega Nicaragua Dictator

For her part, the president of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), Antonia Urrejola, on Wednesday urged the international community to take actions “to put an end to the persecution and detentions” in Nicaragua.

During a meeting before the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States (OAS), Urrejola presented a report on the situation in the Latin American country in which he indicated “serious concern about the serious escalation of repression in Nicaragua that occurred in recent weeks”.

The president of the IACHR specifically referred to the arrest and criminalization of 5 presidential candidates ahead of the November elections and of at least 20 opposition figures, human rights defenders and independent journalists.

“According to the information received, some of these arrests have occurred under the disproportionate use of force by police officers and in most cases, homes were searched without a court order,” he said.

In this sense, he denounced “that the lack of information does not allow knowing the criminal offenses that are being used in the investigation processes” and that “the rights of detainees are not being guaranteed.

He also explained that the arrest “under a procedural figure of preventive detention without prosecution for up to 90 days” is outside the law. Regarding this matter, this Wednesday it was learned that the wife of former Nicaraguan President Arnoldo Alemán, María Fernanda Flores, the politician Miguel Mora, and the journalist Miguel Mendoza have been detained since Monday under this figure.

On the other hand, Urrejola indicated that “the IACHR has documented a prolonged violation of the rule of law” since 2018 in Nicaragua and “has denounced the extension of the de facto state of exception”, which “has intensified.”

Finally, he pointed out that “the Human Rights crisis in Nicaragua has left “ at least 328 victims; more than 2 thousand people injured; more than 100,000 people who have migrated to other countries; more than 1,600 arrested, of which 124 are considered political prisoners”.

In recent days, Mexico, Argentina and Costa Rica called their ambassadors in Nicaragua for consultations to assess the situation. In the case of Mexico, this Wednesday the Permanent Commission of the Congress of the Union expressed “its deep concern” about the political situation in Nicaragua.

In addition to the arrests, journalists such as Carlos Fernando Chamorro and former guerrilla Luis Carrión have reported that they left the country to avoid arrest.