The cascade of arrests against several opposition political leaders in Nicaragua has caused hundreds of dissidents and professionals to choose to leave or stay out of the country, less than four months before the general elections, in which President Daniel Ortega, in power since 2007, will seek a new reelection.
Opposition leaders, writers, journalists, doctors, lawyers, former contras, former commanders, youth, workers and peasants have been exiled or delayed their return to Nicaragua for security reasons, in the midst of a hostile political environment that could lead them to confinement, as confirmed by various means.
The writer, novelist and former vice president of Nicaragua Sergio Ramírez, who was cited last month in a case that the Public Ministry opened against an NGO for alleged money laundering, to which he appeared and later traveled to the United States for health reasons, He has said that he “ponders” whether or not he returns to the country.
As part of the electoral process, the Nicaraguan authorities have arrested opposition presidential candidates Cristiana Chamorro, Arturo Cruz, Félix Maradiaga, Juan Sebastián Chamorro, Miguel Mora and Medardo Mairena, among other leaders opposed to Ortega, who are being investigated for alleged treason to the homeland.
Rosario Murillo and Daniel Ortega, in Managua. AFP photo
“There are many people who leave (of Nicaragua) to protect their physical integrity, especially the territorial (leaders) who are much more exposed to repression, “Olama Hurtado, spokeswoman for the opposition Blue and White National Unit, told Efe.
On the eve, the opposition Civic Alliance for Justice and Democracy announced that at least 26 of its leaders have left Nicaragua, the majority bound for the United States.
The exiles were joined by the president of the Nicaraguan Democratic Force and former leader of the Contra, Louis fley, who was one of the 11 candidates for the Presidency of the opposition, of which six are in prison or home, two have denounced “police siege” and another two, pre-candidates of the Citizens for Freedom (CxL) party, who have under profile.
From exile, Fley said that for security reasons decided to withdraw his presidential aspirations of elections that he said he distrusted and in which he presumes that CxL will collaborate with the Sandinistas to give them legitimacy.
The recent surge of exiles or Nicaraguans who delayed their return trips includes the former commander of the Sandinista revolution and now a dissident Luis Carrión and former Minister of Education Humberto Belli, brother of the writer Gioconda Belli.
Also to the journalist Carlos Fernando Chamorro, winner of the 38 Ortega y Gasset Journalism Awards, who announced his exile after the search and search of his home by the National Police.
At least six other journalists, dozens of young people or leaders of opposition organizations, and dozens of other lawyers, teachers, doctors and farmers have also left the country in recent months, according to their unions.
Those who leave
According to the Nicaraguan Exiles in the World Movement (NEEM), dozens of people leave Nicaragua every day with the argument that they are fleeing from police persecution and from the Councils of Citizen Power (CPC), a civil structure of the ruling Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) organized in each neighborhood and that, according to the opponents, they monitor and denounce Ortega’s detractors.
According to the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) more than 108,000 Nicaraguans “They have been forced to leave their country” since April 2018, when a popular revolt broke out against the Ortega government.
For the National Unity, the exodus will only stop with an electoral process in “absolute freedom”, with “free, observed, transparent” elections, with “civil and political guarantees”, the “Stop the repression, persecution and militarization in the country”, and electoral reforms that guarantee elections with international standards.
The arrests and exodus of opposition leaders take place ahead of the general elections on November 7 in which Ortega, a former Sandinista guerrilla who returned to power in 2007 After presiding over the country between 1979 and 1990 and who has governed since 2017 with his wife, Vice President Rosario Murillo, he will seek re-election for five more years.