Sunday, June 20

Félix Maradiaga, Juan Sebastián Chamorro: The Ortega regime intensifies its offensive and detains two other opponents aspiring to the presidency in Nicaragua | International

The opposition Félix Maradiaga speaks with reporters upon arriving at the Prosecutor's Office this Tuesday.
The opposition Félix Maradiaga speaks with reporters upon arriving at the Prosecutor’s Office this Tuesday.CARLOS HERRERA / Reuters

The Nicaraguan authorities have detained two other opposition candidates for the presidency of Nicaragua on Tuesday. Five months after the elections and with the arrests of Cristiana Chamorro, Arturo Cruz, and now Félix Maradiaga and Juan Sebastián Chamorro García, the regime paves the way for a new reelection of Daniel Ortega, in power since 2007. Maradiaga was arrested this Tuesday under the accusation of “inciting foreign interference in internal affairs,” according to the authorities, while Chamorro, political nephew of former Nicaraguan President Violeta Barrios de Chamorro (1990-1997), was detained at his residence , south of Managua, which was also raided by the National Police.

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Maradiaga, an academic and activist, was arrested after appearing at the Prosecutor’s Office, where they confirmed that an investigation had been opened. With Maradiaga and Chamorro García, there are four candidates for the presidency who have been investigated and detained in recent days. Cristiana Chamorro, daughter of former president Violeta Barrios, was the main opposition candidate until last June 2, the Ortega regime issued her house arrest. Chamorro does not belong to any party, but opinion polls indicated that it was the second with the most citizen support, behind the president.

The opponent is accused of money laundering through the foundation that bears her mother’s name. Arturo Cruz, who was the Ortega government’s ambassador to the United States between 2007 and 2009, was accused by the authorities of attacking Nicaraguan society and the rights of the people.

Both Chamorro García and Maradiaga are “being investigated for carrying out acts that undermine independence, sovereignty, and self-determination, inciting foreign interference in internal affairs, requesting military interventions, organizing with financing from foreign powers to carry out acts of terrorism and destabilization ”, according to the police statement.

Also for “proposing and managing economic, commercial and financial operations blockades against the country and its institutions, demanding, exalting and applauding the imposition of sanctions against the State of Nicaragua and its citizens, and harming the supreme interests of the nation”, according to the police report.

These crimes are contemplated in the Law for the Defense of the Rights of the People to Independence, Sovereignty and Self-Determination for Peace, approved by the National Assembly, with a Sandinista majority, last December.

Juan Sebastián Chamorro, who was Vice Minister of Finance and Public Credit and Secretary of Coordination and Strategy in the Government of Enrique Bolaños (2002-2007), and who was also director of the United States Millennium Challenge Account program in Nicaragua, formally registered his candidacy with the opposition Citizens Alliance for Freedom on April 22.

After these arrests, the US State Department has once again charged Ortega, whom it has described as a “dictator.” “The arbitrary detention of presidential candidate Félix Maradiaga – the third opposition leader detained in 10 days – confirms without a doubt that Ortega is a dictator. The international community has no choice but to treat him as such, “the head of US diplomacy for the Americas, Julie Chung, posted on Twitter.

The Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), Luis Almagro, has said that Nicaragua is heading for “the worst possible election” due to the lack of guarantees to hold a free, fair and transparent process.

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