(CNN Español) — So far, the Nicaraguan National Police has arrested four candidates for the country’s presidency and three leaders opposed to the government of Daniel Ortega, which has led former Costa Rican president Laura Chinchilla to point out that it would be “a night of knives long in tropical version ».
The arrests, ordered based on different accusations of corruption and the alleged violation of the so-called “Law for the Defense of the Rights of the People to Independence, Sovereignty and Self-determination for Peace”, began last week with Cristiana Chamorro, and the Saturday it was Arturo Cruz’s turn. On Tuesday they arrested Juan Sebastián Chamorro, Félix Maradiaga, Violeta Granera and José Adán Aguerri, and on Wednesday José Bernard Pallais Arana.
That law, approved by the ruling majority Parliament in December 2020, prohibits Nicaraguans “who lead or finance a coup, alter the constitutional order, incite foreign interference and promote terrorist acts from running for popularly elected positions.”
Acting Undersecretary of the US State Department’s Office of Western Hemisphere Affairs, Julie Chung, said on her Twitter account that the arrests required “an urgent international response.”
The release of Juan Sebastián Chamorro and all other political prisoners in #Nicaragua and that the harassment and oppression of the dictatorship of the patricidal Daniel Ortega cease. Nicaragua deserves to be free and democratic. https://t.co/xG8b8hb7Yw
– Luis Almagro (@ Almagro_OEA2015) June 9, 2021
While Luis Almagro, Secretary General of the OAS, said from the same social network that “the release of all other political prisoners in Nicaragua is urgent and that the harassment and oppression of the dictatorship of the patriotic Daniel Ortega cease.”
The Nicaraguan Foreign Minister, Denis Moncada, reacted to the requests of the international community to free opponents, assuring in an interview with the state channel Viva Nicaragua that the government “will not admit interference or impositions, or that they force us to break our legal system.” .
The vice president and first lady of Nicaragua, Rosario Murillo, said on Monday in a speech after the first arrests: “In how many countries and in how many organizations have we seen how people who run over the towns, looting, stealing, are taken to Justice”. Daniel Ortega aspires to obtain in the November 7 elections what would be his fourth consecutive term as president of the country.
The presidential candidate for the November 7 elections, Cristiana Chamorro, was the first in this series of arrests in Nicaragua that began last week, her press team reported to CNN.
Chamorro, daughter of former Nicaraguan President Violeta Barrios and opponent of the current Ortega government, was placed under house arrest and her home was raided by the police for five hours, said her brother Carlos Fernando Chamorro on his Twitter account.
According to a statement from the Public Ministry, Chamorro is accused of “abusive management, ideological falsehood in real competition with the crime of laundering money, property and assets to the detriment of the State of Nicaragua” during his administration against the dissolved Fundación Violeta Barrios . The candidate denies these accusations. Cristiana Chamorro decided to dissolve the foundation later, considering that it could not adapt to a new law that imposes strong controls on non-governmental entities with foreign financing.
The presidential candidate for the Citizen Alliance Arturo Cruz Sequeira was arrested on Saturday in Managua also as part of an investigation into alleged acts that threaten national sovereignty.
On Monday, in addition, agents from the Investigation Unit of the National Police went to Cruz’s home to carry out a search. CNN has contacted police authorities for details of the raid, but has received no response so far.
The Prosecutor’s Office requested 90 days of detention for Cruz.
Juan Sebastian Chamorro
Presidential candidate Juan Sebastián Chamorro, Cristiana Chamorro’s cousin, was arrested on Tuesday, according to a police statement.
According to the statement on the arrest, Chamorro is within the terms of the Law for the Defense of the Rights of the People to Independence, Sovereignty and Self-determination for Peace ”: «Carry out acts that undermine independence, sovereignty, and self-determination, incite foreign interference in internal affairs, request military interventions, organize with financing from foreign powers to carry out acts of terrorism and destabilization, propose and manage economic and commercial blockades and of financial operations against the country and its institutions, to demand, exalt and applaud the imposition of sanctions against the State of Nicaragua and its citizens, and injure the supreme interests of the nation ”.
It is unknown how Chamorro declares himself before the accusations, who was summoned to the Prosecutor’s Office this Wednesday, before the accusations. CNN is trying to reach its legal team.
Chamorro, candidate for Alianza Ciudadana, had recorded a video before his arrest, in case he was “captured”, in which he rejects accusations of treason.
“Let’s not let a criminal dictatorship take away our rights,” says Chamorro. “I am prepared spiritually and physically for what is to come,” he adds.
Félix Alejandro Maradiaga Blandón, a pre-candidate for the Nicaraguan presidency by National Unity, was detained at noon on Tuesday, police confirmed.
“I trust in the will of this people to find freedom and justice when one has clean hands and conscience, as all political prisoners have, and family members who resist from the outside,” Madariaga said in statements before entering the Public Ministry , where he had been summoned for an interview.
The candidate said when he left the Public Ministry that he had been interrogated for three hours. After that he was arrested.
He was also accused of “carrying out acts that undermine independence, sovereignty, and self-determination, inciting foreign interference in internal affairs”, in other alleged crimes, such as Juan Sebastián Chamorro.
Jose Adán Aguerri
José Adán Aguerri, a well-known businessman in Nicaragua and former president of the Superior Council of Private Enterprise (Cosep), was arrested Tuesday night, according to a police statement.
According to the police statement, the arrest, similar to that of Marardiaga and Juan Sebastián Chamorro, was made for allegedly “carrying out acts that undermine independence, sovereignty and self-determination, inciting foreign interference in internal affairs, requesting military interventions”, among other alleged crimes.
CNN has not been able to reach Aguerri’s legal team for an answer.
Opposition leader Violeta Granera was also detained on Tuesday by the Nicaraguan National Police.
José Bernard Pallais Arana
The Nicaraguan National Police reported Wednesday that it arrested José Bernard Pallais Arana, a leader of the opposition National Coalition, while issuing an arrest warrant against Mario Arana, a leader of the also opposition Citizen Alliance.
The charges are based on the “Law for the Defense of the Rights of the People to Independence, Sovereignty and Self-determination for Peace”
With information from Mario Medrano, Gerardo Lemos, Stefano Pozzebon, Abel Alvarado, Marlon Sorto and Kiarinna Parisi.