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Argentina, Mexico recall ambassadors to Nicaragua amid continued crackdown on opposition

Posted: Wednesday, June 23, 2021. 3:49 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: Regional heavyweights Argentina and Mexico are to bring in their ambassadors to Nicaragua to talk about its series of high-profile political arrests which they are worrying about, the BBC reports, after yet another candidate for the country’s presidency was detained.

Journalist Miguel Mora is held under Nicaragua’s controversial “treason” law, the fifth presidential hopeful to be arrested in the past three weeks and five months before elections in which incumbent President Daniel Ortega is expected to run for a fourth consecutive term.

Police said that they had arrested Mr Mora, a former director of opposition TV channel 100% Noticias, for “inciting foreign interference in internal affairs and requesting military intervention”.

He joins Félix Maradiaga, 44, academic and political activist; Juan Sebastián Chamorro, 52, economist; Cristiana Chamorro, 67, daughter of ex-President Violeta Chamorro; Arturo Cruz, 67, former ambassador and a dozen senior opposition figures. They include former comrades-in-arms of Ortega from his days as a Sandinista rebel, who later turned into critics of the president.

A joint statement from the countries says recent actions taken by Nicaragua’s government “have put the integrity and freedom of various opposition figures (including presidential candidates), activists and Nicaraguan businessmen at risk,” adding that both countries would continue to “promote the full respect” of human rights and civil and political freedoms

There has been internal and external condemnation of the crackdown, with a majority resolution from the Organization of American States demanding that all the presidential hopefuls and political prisoners be released.

Ortega entered Nicaraguan politics as a key player in the fall of dictator Anastasio Somoza, whose family had ruled the country since 1936, seizing power as a member of the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN).

His first presidential term in the 1980s ended in defeat at the polls in 1990 by the mother of one of the current detainees, Violeta Chamorro. He took a new mantle of a Christian socialist and returned to prominence with election wins in 2006, 2011 and 2016. 

But he has faced increasing opposition despite cracking down in 2018 after mass anti-government protests with hundreds killed and thousands injured. Then as now, many were arrested.


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