His mother has already defeated Sandinismo in elections, and his father paid with his life to oppose the Somoza dictatorship in Nicaragua. At 67 years old, Christian Chamorro challenges the continuity of President Daniel Ortega, amid accusations that have it under house arrest.
“Ortega did not have the courage to inhibit me through his Supreme Electoral Council, he did not want to pay that political cost, that is why he put together this whole farce of investigation for money laundering,” Chamorro told AFP days before his arrest, this Wednesday .
An open judicial process would prevent him from participating in the presidential elections on November 7. His arrest sparked international condemnation.
The Prosecutor’s Office accused Chamorro of money, property and asset laundering through the Violeta Barrios de Chamorro Foundation (FVBCH), the same name as his mother, who came to the presidency in 1990 after defeating Ortega, who had held power since 1979, leading the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN).
“Such a stick, such a splinter. That is the first thing that comes to the mind of any Nicaraguan, due to Cristiana’s legacy of struggle in relation to her parents, Pedro Joaquín Chamorro and Violeta Barrios de Chamorro,” his brother-in-law and former presidential candidate in 2011, Edmundo Jarquín.
Police stand guard in front of Cristiana Chamorro’s home in Managua after her arrest on Wednesday. Photo: AFP
“When I said Yes to Nicaragua, I was aware that we are facing a dictatorship capable of anything and it continues to show it,” said Cristiana, who took up a phrase coined by her father, the journalist Pedro Joaquín Chamorro: “Nicaragua will once again be a republic.” .
A staunch opponent of the Somoza dynastic dictatorship (1936-1979), Pedro Chamorro was assassinated shot on a Managua street in 1978.
Cristiana is the third of four children of the former president. One of them is Carlos Fernando Chamorro, owner of a media critical of Ortega.
She became a widow after the death in a plane crash in 2015 of her husband Antonio Lacayo, Violeta’s right hand in the government.
Jarquín considers that the memory of Ortega’s defeat against Cristiana’s mother in 1990 “makes them persecute her now. It is like a ghost for him.”
The former president of Nicaragua Violeta Barrios de Chamorro, in an image from 2007. Photo: AFP
Cristiana, with a stylized figure and great physical resemblance to her mother, dresses in white just like Violeta, who guided the country through the path of reconciliation after a tumultuous period of civil war.
“She is delicate, thank God she is at peace, she does not suffer,” she says of her 91-year-old mother.
The candidacy of Cristiana Chamorro did not amuse the current vice president, first lady and government spokesperson, Rosario Murillo.
“They believe they are anointed by whom? Not even their life trajectory defends them (…) they sell homelands, they are and not only the character or character, but a family history that has nothing of heroic heritage,” he told beginning of the year.
“I don’t think it has a personal root, because when (Murillo) was my father’s secretary in the La Prensa department, she was always treated with respect, the doors of our house were opened to her and she was always treated with cordiality”, considered Chamorro for his part.
“I think it is a political issue. She has access to the most respected opinion polls and knows the results, she knows that she and her husband lose to my candidacy and that the opposition would overwhelmingly win in free and honest elections,” he added .
Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega and his wife and Vice President Rosario Murillo, in a 2018 image. Photo: The New York Times
Accused of corruption
The accusation against Cristiana started on May 20 from the Ministry of the Interior, and became a judicial order of search and arrest.
“Ortega and his wife have become a monstrous family dictatorship, they do not have the right to run for any candidacy because the Constitution allows only one re-election, but Ortega made electoral fraud and tricks to achieve an absolute majority,” said Chamorro.
Cristiana announced in January her intention to be an independent candidate from the opposition, to compete with a possible new candidacy of Ortega, 75 years old and who, according to the opposition, would attempt a fourth successive term.
According to a recent survey, Chamorro is the candidate with the greatest citizen support after the current president.
Against the media
The government accuses independent journalists and media outlets of supporting the 2018 opposition protests, which began as demands over some government measures and culminated in calls for Ortega’s resignation.
The protests resulted in 328 dead and thousands of exiles and they earned Ortega sanctions from the United States.
According to supporters of the government, through the Chamorro foundation, promoter of freedom of expression, money was received from Washington to destabilize Sandinismo.
“What is being done, from the prosecution as the spearhead, is to destroy the propaganda apparatus of US imperialism,” said on Wednesday the communicator and government supporter William Grigsby, in his program Sin Fronteras on Radio La Primerísima.