Last week, the regime of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo They have continued with their roadmap to keep out of the electoral race all those who can compete for them at the polls on November 7. Thus, on Monday the Nicaraguan Prosecutor’s Office announced the expansion of the charges against the presidential candidate, Christian Chamorro, and days later formalized the accusation against three other candidates – Felix Maradiaga, Juan Sebastián Chamorro and Arturo Cruz – for the crime of ‘conspiracy’, framed within the ‘Sovereignty Law’ created to the measure of the regime, as well as other five political leaders. If found guilty, they could face up to 15 years in prison. On Friday, the Nicaraguan Prosecutor’s Office announced that said accusation also extended to the former guerrilla, Ortega’s former comrade in arms, Dora Maria Tellez, and the leader of Unamos (FSLN split) Ana Margarita Vigil. “The regime is the true conspirator against Nicaragua,” the Félix Maradiaga’s wife, Berta Valle, who does not hide his indignation at everything that is happening in his country. “I know that my husband, like the other people who are being accused, have not committed any crime other than using their rights to demand justice, democracy and freedom. The Daniel Ortega regime is accusing them because they want to remain in power, and continue to establish this dictatorship in the country, “he declared from Miami, where he went into exile with his daughter, when the 2018 protests broke out.
These latest accusations show that neither the pressure of the international community nor the sanctions have served to make Ortega see reason.
Victoria Cárdenas, wife of Juan Sebastián Chamorro (also accused of ‘conspiracy’), and I have been raising our voices to demand respect for their human rights, and in that sense we have seen that the regime has ignored the mechanisms that Some governments have used, such as sanctions, to get attention. With these latest accusations they send the message that they are willing to take any kind of consequence to stay in power. In this sense, I continue to insist and call on the international community to try to get closer to the Nicaraguan government and make it understood that it is necessary to make a transition towards democracy, towards respect for human rights, because otherwise the only thing What they are going to achieve is to deepen this crisis. In the end the consequences will be devastating. We have seen before how the Sandinista regime has destroyed the country through its policies. Not only because they are depriving freedom of those who have raised their voices against the violation of human rights, but also seeing other types of actions, such as not respecting private property, proceeding arbitrarily in the use of the judicial system, and also not They only attack opponents, also against people from private companies, and the attack against the Catholic Church is increasingly explicit … It is regrettable to see how the regime responds when the international community tries to insist that there must be a change in course of this direction that the country is currently leading.
Added to the arrests was the outlawing of three political parties, the PRD, the PC and the Citizens for Freedom platform. Ortega is running for his fourth consecutive reelection without competition …
That is why we say that all these actions – depriving opponents of their freedom, accusing them of unfounded crimes and using laws that are illegitimate – make the November elections completely illegitimate. How are you going to go to an election when there are seven missing candidates? As relatives of imprisoned candidates, we believe that these elections should be considered unconstitutional, illegitimate and that they should not be recognized. What they are being planned for is to consolidate the dictatorship in Nicaragua, making a mockery of the electoral process.
Her husband was arrested on June 8, when he was leaving to testify before the Prosecutor’s Office. Have you been able to speak to him since then? Has anyone been able to visit you?
He was accompanied by a lawyer, who told us that he was violently pulled from the vehicle and beaten. Roger Reyes was the last person to see him, and today he is also ‘kidnapped’ and disappeared by the Daniel Ortega regime. Felix today (for Saturday) turns 81 days since he was arrested. Since then I have not heard from him, or how he is, or where he is … No one from his family, not even his lawyer, we have been able to speak with him. The rest of the people are in the same conditions, held incommunicado, as we denounced this Friday before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR).
Neither the lawyers?
As of today, none of the lawyers have had access to their court files. We don’t even know clearly why they are being judged. The defense attorneys have had to do their own investigations in the courts to find out what is the judicial condition under which the detainees are. Hence, we say that these are illegal and irregular processes, because they violate all the processes established in our Constitution. And if we talk about international law, this type of disappearance is considered torture.
Some detainees have been incarcerated in the Chipote prison. Is your husband there?
We do not know. The relatives assume, by a common practice in Nicaragua, that they could be in the prisons of judicial aid, because there they take the people who are being investigated. However, we are not certain about that. It may be elsewhere. The uncertainty is so great … The lawyer has filed numerous appeals before the Public Prosecutor’s Office, the Police, before the Judicial Assistance … requesting an appeal for personal exhibition, and they have responded that there is no place, or in some cases they have not responded. For this reason, many family members are already demanding proof of life. It is our right to see them and have access to their lawyer, but it has not happened in the more than 80 days that Felix has been detained. We no longer even contemplate that the Red Cross or the Church, which on other occasions has been a mediator, can access because the regime is completely closed. This for us is torture.
Amnesty International has just published a report with a list of ten names (Daysi Tamara Dávila, Miguel Mendoza, José Pallais, Suyen Barahona, Víctor Hugo Tinoco, Félix Maradiaga, Ana Margarita Vijil, Violeta Granera, Jorge Hugo Torres and Dora María Téllez) of the detained opposition leaders, to whom which he considers victims of ‘enforced disappearances’.
This new accusation extends her husband’s prison, initially for 90 days, until the day of the trial …
Exactly. It must be said that this accusation has also been made in a secret hearing where Felix’s accredited lawyer was not notified. We don’t even know if my husband was present at that hearing. The only information comes to us through a statement from the Public Ministry. Now we have to wait for the initial hearing, which could be in early September.
Do you think the regime is willing to sentence your husband and the other opponents to 15 years in prison?
If we see how the regime has acted in other situations, such as during the 2018 protests, in which Medardo Mairena, leader of the Campesino Movement, was sentenced to more than 200 years in prison (later he was amnesty, but he was arrested in June for being presidential candidate), we can conclude that they will be tried and sentenced.
Is there any way to stop the regime of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo?
The only thing I can say is that it makes me very sad to see how this dictatorial thought closes all possibility of working within the legal framework, of international conventions, of what would be normal within a free, just and democratic society. I would like to say that they are going to change their position, but knowing where they come from, how the Sandinista Front was formed, which historically is a warlike group that only knows violence, I think this work is going to be difficult. In the end it will depend on the will of the regime, which is deepening the crisis in Nicaragua. And that the only thing it is going to bring is more death, more desolation, more economic crisis … I insist that the international community must be more belligerent in this role of making the regime understand that there must be a change of course in Nicaragua.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism