It is a wake-up call for the democratic crisis in Nicaragua. Meeting urgently, the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States (OAS) demanded, Tuesday, June 15, “The release of all political prisoners”. For two weeks, thirteen leaders of the opposition to the regime of President Daniel Ortega have been arrested, including four candidates for the presidential election on 7 November. The repressive escalation is heading towards a ballot without real opponents against the former 76-year-old Sandinista guerrilla who is aiming for a third consecutive term.
The resolution, adopted by 26 of the 34 OAS members, denounces “The deterioration of the political climate and human rights” in this small Central American country, condemning ” abuses “ government, which aim to “Intimidate and threaten the opposition”. Dozens of police surrounded, Sunday, June 13, the house of the heroine of the Sandinista revolution of 1979, Dora Maria Tellez, 65 years old. On the same day, two other former comrades in arms of Mr. Ortega, the former vice-minister of foreign affairs Victor Hugo Tinoco, 68, and the retired General Hugo Torres, 67, were also arrested in Managua, the capital. Since then, these three figures of Sandinista dissent have been under house arrest, like most of the opponents detained since the beginning of June.
The first victim of this new wave of repression was Cristiana Chamorro. The most popular of the potential presidential candidates was arrested on June 2 at her home in Managua. The daughter of former president Violeta Barrios de Chamorro (1990-1997) is accused of money laundering, through her press freedom foundation, which bears her mother’s name. “A legal monstrosity! “, she had reacted, before being placed under house arrest without contact with the outside world.
In the process, three other presidential candidates suffered the same fate: the economist Juan Sebastian Chamorro, cousin of Mr.me Chamorro, policeman Felix Maradiaga and Arturo Cruz, the regime’s former ambassador to Washington (2007-2009). All were running for the Citizens Alliance for Freedom party (CxL, right). The CxL remains the only opposition formation in the running for legislative and presidential elections, following the annulment of the legal status of other parties opposed to the regime.
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