Thursday 9 February 2023

Already 29 opponents detained in Nicaragua as Ortega clears the way to the elections

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TODAY NICARAGUA – One of the most prominent political analysts in Nicaragua, José Antonio Peraza, was among the guests on Sunday of the program Esta Semana hosted by Carlos Fernando Chamorro, who is also part of a group of experts that promotes electoral reforms to clean up the controlled system by Daniel Ortega.

Daniel Ortega arriving at the Plaza de la Revolución, in Managua, on July 19. STRINGER / Reuters

During the broadcast on YouTube — where the program has been broadcast exclusively since the Chamorro newsroom was attacked and confiscated —, Peraza warned that under the Ortega regime “there are no conditions for a free and competitive election,” in reference to the presidential elections scheduled for November.

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One day after the interview, the political scientist was arrested on the grounds that he had committed “acts that undermine independence, sovereignty and self-determination”, in another example of the regime’s intolerance towards critical voices.

The day before his detention, Peraza explained that with several candidates in jail none of the “enabling conditions” exist to hold free elections in Nicaragua.

“We condemn the kidnapping of the political scientist Peraza. This Sunday he argued and demonstrated that in Nicaragua there are no conditions for a free and competitive election and today he is in prison for telling the truth,” Chamorro denounced.

Peraza, a member of the Electoral Reform Promotion Group (GPRE), warned that some political groups are “normalizing” the electoral process in Nicaragua. This, despite the fact that the country is heading to “the worst electoral scenario that we could have imagined,” with seven presidential hopefuls in jail, and two in exile, political parties without legal status, economically asphyxiated, and without the capacity to complete their campaign preparations.

With Peraza, 29 people have already been imprisoned by the regime since it began its new offensive against the opposition. Those arrested include seven presidential candidates, including Cristiana Chamorro, daughter of former President Violeta Barrios de Chamorro and the favorite to face Ortega according to polls.

Businessmen, lawyers, activists and three former guerrillas, Ortega’s comrades in arms during the fight against the Somoza dynasty, have also been arrested, including Dora María Téllez, considered a national heroine and one of the most critical voices against the Government.

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This past weekend, Nicaraguans went to the voting centers to verify themselves in the electoral roll. A process that “has never been massive,” Peraza estimated, but which showed some irregularities that could hinder the voting process.

“There was a reduction in voting centers, around 1,220 approximately. If we estimate that for each voting center there are a little more than 1,000 people registered or eligible to vote, we can estimate that more or less one and a half million people have been moved from their polling place. That is serious because it means more than 20% of the population registered to vote,” he noted.

The change of polling places could cause, “a lot of people have a hard time finding their polling place,” Peraza said.

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) condemned Peraza’s arrest on Tuesday and urged the Nicaraguan State to “immediately release those arbitrarily detained.”

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The inter-American body, based in Washington, urged the “State of Nicaragua to immediately release the arbitrarily detained persons and reestablish the guarantees for the full enjoyment of civil and political rights for Nicaraguans,” according to a message posted on its account. from Twitter.

Ortega clears the way to the elections

Almost three months before the elections, Ortega, 75, has not yet officially announced whether he will seek reelection in November, although his associates assume that he will be the candidate for the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN).

However, almost everyone who could have challenged him at the polls on November 7 has been arrested.

Most of those detained in the crackdown that began in late May are held incommunicado, in undisclosed locations and without access to lawyers or family visits.

Article originally appeared on Today Nicaragua and is republished here with permission.

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Q24N is an aggregator of news for Latin America. Reports from Mexico to the tip of Chile and Caribbean are sourced for our readers to find all their Latin America news in one place.

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