Nicaragua: Continue to crack down on Ortega’s potential challengers | Election News

Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega has faced mounting international criticism after detaining four potential presidential candidates in the past week, prompting United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to call for their release on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, Juan Sebastian Chamorro García was the latest opposition leader to be arrested, a few hours later Felix Maradillaga In custody.

Chamorro Garcia, cousin of another detained presidential candidate Christian Chamorro -Regarded as a favorite who defeated Ortega in the November vote-Arrested on charges of “inciting foreign interference in internal affairs” on Tuesday.

According to a police statement, he was also accused of using “foreign power funds” to plan “perpetration of terrorist acts.”

Since the detention of four opposition political leaders in Nicaragua last week, this has aroused more and more criticism that Ortega has become more and more authoritarian and is trying to get his opponents in the upcoming elections. In a marginal position.

A spokesman for Guterres told reporters on Wednesday that the Secretary-General of the United Nations called on the Nicaraguan authorities to fully respect their international human rights obligations and release political leaders.

“These developments will severely weaken the public’s confidence in the democratic process before the November election,” Stephen Dugaric said.

The Secretary-General of the Organization of American States, Luis Almagro, also urged the release of Chamorro Garcia “and all other political prisoners in #Nicaragua” on Twitter.

He added: “The harassment and oppression of… the dictatorship of Daniel Ortega must stop. Nicaragua deserves freedom and democracy.”

Crackdown on tuesday night

The crackdown began a week ago when Cristiana Chamorro, a journalist who was not affiliated with any political party, was arrested. Under house arrest The allegations of money laundering are widely regarded as fabricated.

Chamorro’s mother, Violeta Barrios de Chamorro, defeated Ortega in the 1990 presidential election.

Then, on Saturday, 67-year-old Arturo Cruz (Arturo Cruz) Order pretrial detention As the prosecutor investigates allegations of “provocation… and conspiracy to endanger the integrity of the country”.

Two months ago, Cruz and the conservative Civil Liberties Union party announced his candidacy for president.

According to the police, the authorities also arrested the well-known businessman Jose Aguerri and human rights activist Violeta Granera (Violeta Granera) on charges related to the crimes against Maladyaga and Chamorro on Tuesday night. · Garcia’s allegations are similar.

The former President of Costa Rica, Laura Chinchilla, said on Twitter: “This is a tropical version of the Night of the Long Knives.”

According to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), Maladillaga is a candidate for a non-parliamentary joint opposition group that supports protests against Ortega, which has led to 328 people since 2018 Died and thousands of people went into exile.

Chamorro Garcia and Aguerri are members of the ACJD alliance and they are negotiating with the government to end the demonstration.

US State Department spokesperson Ned Price said at a press conference: “It is clear that, including the past few days, under the leadership of President Ortega, Nicaragua is becoming an international pariah and is getting farther and farther away from democracy. “

U.S. sanctions

At the same time, on Wednesday, the United States announced sanctions against four Nicaraguan officials who supported Ortega, including the president’s daughter, accusing them of undermining democracy and abusing human rights.

“President Ortega’s actions are hurting Nicaraguans and plunge the country into deeper tyranny,” said Andrea Gach, director of the Office of Foreign Assets Control at the Ministry of Finance.

“The United States will continue to expose officials who continue to ignore the wishes of its citizens.”

Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega (right) and his family participate in the 40th anniversary of the Sandinista Revolution [File: Inti Ocon/AFP]

After Ortega led the rebels to overthrow Anastasio Somoza in 1979, he was in power for ten years.He returned to office in 2007 and won re-election in 2011 and 2016, but his recent reign marked Widespread protest.

At the age of 75, he has been accused by opposition and NGOs of increasing authoritarianism and brutal suppression of demonstrations. It is widely expected that he will participate in the November elections, although he did not say so.

The European Union and the United States maintain sanctions against Ortega and his government.

Ortega’s wife and vice president Rosaria Murillo said on Tuesday that “justice came too late, but it came” because she criticized “this group of thieves, not only thieves, but also terrorists and terrorists. criminal”.

Last month, the Nicaraguan legislature appointed a majority of magistrates allied with the ruling party to join the electoral body that oversees the elections.

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