Ortega nationalizes two senior former officials of former President Juan Orlando Hernández

Daniel Ortega’s regime opened the doors of Nicaragua to two members of the circle of the former president of Honduras, Juan Orlando Hernández, investigated for corruption: the former secretary of the Presidency, Ebal Jair Díaz Lupian, and the former private secretary Ricardo Leonel Cardona. Also their respective wives and children.

The General Directorate of Migration and Immigration, under the direct control of the Nicaraguan Executive, gave Nicaraguan nationality to both Cardona and Díaz, according to the certifications published this Friday, June 17, in the official newspaper La Gaceta.

The requests of the former Honduran officials were approved by the deputy director of the DGME, regimental commander Pablo José Morales Luna, less than a month after Hernández was extradited to the United States to answer for drug trafficking crimes.

To benefit Díaz—the former president’s right hand—the main argument of the DGME is that he is “Central American and has residence” in Nicaragua. His wife, Jahel Rivera Pantoja, and their daughter, Salma Díaz Rivera, also benefited.

In the case of Cardona, the Nicaraguan authorities argued that he had a permanent residence card and that he resides in the country. They also benefited his wife, Claudia Mercedes Matute, and his son, Ricardo Cardona Matute.

However, when reviewing the documentation published in La Gaceta, in both cases the dependency of the Ministry of the Interior concealed the information that would allow determining whether or not they complied with the requirements established in the Migration Law.

The DGME did not specify how many years they had resided in Nicaragua. According to Nicaraguan legislation, in the case of Central Americans, a minimum of two years of residence is established, however, Hernández left power in Honduras at the end of last January, which would mean that at most they have six months.

Díaz is a former evangelical pastor, 49 years old, with two nationalities, according to the newspaper El Heraldo: Mexican and Honduran. Now because of Ortega he is also Nicaraguan. He served as executive secretary of the Council of Ministers between 2014 and 2017.

“One of the biggest acts of corruption attributed to him is the construction of container houses in the Lomas del Diamante sector, south of the capital, to serve those affected by hurricanes Eta and Iota,” said El Heraldo.

La Prensa de Honduras indicated that in the case of Cardona he was denounced last April by the National Anticorruption Commission for his role as former minister of the former Secretary of Development and Social Inclusion (Sedis). The damage to the State was more than seven million dollars.

The case of the former Honduran officials joins that of other fugitives for corruption in Central America, such as the former presidents of El Salvador, Mauricio Funes and Salvador Sánchez Cerén, whom Ortega also protected by giving them their nationality.

The Ortega regime uses the DGME as a political weapon, in favor of the allies of the dictatorship and against opponents and citizens in general. In a recent series, published by CONFIDENTIAL, It was denounced how the decisions made by the authorities have changed the lives of those who went into exile forced by state arbitrariness.

In addition to taking passports from citizens, after denying them the renewal of their documents, the Immigration authorities were singled out for the exile of musicians critical of Ortega. According to lawyer María Asunción Moreno, an academic and member of the Civic Alliance’s Board of Directors, the Migration Directorate does not have autonomy.

“The Directorate obeys the orders of the Ministry of the Interior, but, since Ortega came to power, we have seen progress in the concentration of power in El Carmen (the president’s residence) that is evident in micromanagement. The Ortega Murillo are the directors of Immigration and Immigration, “said Moreno in the report published last May.

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