While several countries in the world demand the release of the opposition candidate Cristiana Chamorro, under house arrest since June 2, the Government of President Ortega carried out an identical act with the candidate Arturo Cruz, although launching a controversial sovereignty law. With it, the country’s justice accuses the professor and politician of being suspected of an attack “against Nicaraguan society.”
In Nicaragua it is not being easy to aspire to the presidency, he runs into crime. Just 72 hours after the siege of Cristiana Chamorro, the Nicaraguan Justice captured Arturo Cruz, another opponent and candidate, at the Augusto C. Sandino International Airport in Managua, just as he was returning from the United States.
Taca flight 339, from Washington with a stopover in San Salvador, landed in the capital at 09:00 in the morning with Cruz on board. But when he touched Nicaraguan soil, no more was heard from him. His team, in charge of their social networks, announced that they had lost contact with Cruz after the landing.
“We hereby inform the public that Dr. Arturo Cruz – 67 years old – had planned to return to Nicaragua today from the United States. The plane landed at the airport at 09:00 (…) Four hours ago he is being held incommunicado and nothing is known about his whereabouts, “wrote his team.
By this means, we inform the public that Dr. Arturo Cruz planned to return to Nicaragua today from the United States.
– Arturo Cruz (@arturo_cruzs) June 5, 2021
Minutes later, his press officers read what they most feared. And the fact is that the Public Ministry of the country reported that the Police had detained Cruz, investigated for “having strong indications of an attack against Nicaraguan society.”
Press release 008-2021 details that the recently created law number 1055 will be applied to Cruz, entitled “Law for the defense of the rights of the people to independence, sovereignty and self-determination for peace.”
This law was created in December 2020 when President Daniel Ortega processed it urgently and made the deputies return from their Christmas holidays to approve it in an extraordinary session. The law eliminates any aspiring to public office whom justice considers “coup plotters”, a term that the ruling party usually uses to attack opponents, and leaves open the possibility of criminal sanctions.
“They will be traitors to the country, so they will not be able to run for popularly elected positions, this without prejudice to the corresponding criminal actions established in the Penal Code of the Republic of Nicaragua, for acts of treason, crimes that compromise peace and crimes against the Constitution “, says an article of the Law.
This Law also penalizes those who “carry out sanctions by foreign governments”, call for protests, finance or incite what the Executive considers a “coup d’état”. The Nicaraguan Code of Criminal Procedure, which invokes this controversial law, imposes penalties of up to 15 to 20 years for “terrorism or terrorist financing”, as well as 10 to 15 years for “treason” and even 2 to 6 years for those who compromise peace.
The candidate for the Citizens Alliance for Freedom (CXL) today became the first citizen arrested by the Law for the defense of the rights of the people to independence, sovereignty and self-determination for peace, which was approved along with another package of controversies Laws such as that of foreign agents that forced the closure of several NGOs or that of Cybercrimes, accused by civil society organizations of limiting freedom of expression.
Paulo Abrao: “The Democratic Charter is being demoralized”
“In less than a week, Ortega arrests two presidential candidates after having already disqualified two other opposition party polls. It is not necessary to wait for ‘elections’ to know that there is no democracy in Nicaragua. The Democratic Charter is being demoralized,” declares Paulo Abrao, Brazilian expert in DD. H H. and former secretary of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR).
For his part, José Miguel Vivanco, executive director of Human Rights Watch, said that “the Nicaraguan regime has just detained presidential candidate Arturo Cruz. Ortega is ready to steal the elections,” while asking “what does the Biden Administration expect? to take concrete measures to stop the consolidation of another Latin American dictatorship. “
The Nicaraguan Center for Human Rights (CENIDH) regretted the arrest of Arturo Cruz and indicated that it is part of a “perverse” strategy of the Government. The body affirms that the Sandinista party in command “intends to inhibit those it considers political enemies (…) it is noted that these are not criminal investigations, they are political persecution.”
Who is Arturo Cruz?
Arturo Cruz has a Ph.D. in History from the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom, a Master’s in International Relations from Johns Hopkins University, and also a BA in Political Science from the American University.
For more than 25 years he has been a professor at the Central American Institute of Business Administration (INCAE) and was part of the group of advisers from the Western Hemisphere to the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund. In his political career, he stands out for having been Nicaraguan Ambassador to Washington during the first years of the Ortega administration, something that has brought criticism to his presidential nomination.
This Friday, June 4, he announced his solidarity with the house arrest imposed on Chamorro and his inhibition as a candidate in the elections. Cruz warned that it would not be part of an “electoral farce.”
“If the dance of inhibitions continues and we are left without other candidates, the logical thing is that this server does not participate in that process. My commitment is to a competitive process and if that possibility disappears, we must seriously consider participating in that spurious exercise”, posted on his blog.
Other presidential candidates have denounced that the police prevent them from leaving their home and register anyone who tries to see them in person. “I sympathize with all of them and I will not passively accept that they begin to inhibit these compatriots,” Cruz declared before his arrival and arrest in Nicaragua.
On Wednesday, the police raided Cristiana Chamorro’s house and until now she has been held incommunicado. A court prohibited him from participating in the elections because he was under a money laundering investigation process by an NGO that he led and supported independent journalists. In this case, more than 20 journalists have been summoned and are under investigation.
Spain, Costa Rica, the United Nations, the United States, the European Union and other regional organizations demanded the “immediate release” of Chamorro. With Cruz, there are already two presidential candidates who are detained, although he faces the aforementioned Law, with the country’s Police investigating him “for having strong indications that he has attacked Nicaraguan society and the rights of the people”, as well as determined to carry out “all the pertinent investigative procedures”.
President Daniel Ortega, 75, aspires to be reelected for the fourth time, after winning his second term as president since 2007. His wife Rosario Murillo is also vice president of the country after having reformed the Political Constitution, which prevented direct family members from occupying positions of power.