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Repression continues to multiply refugee requests from Nicaraguans in Costa Rica

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01 April 2023 - At The Banks - BCCR

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QCOSTARICA – More and more journalists, social leaders, even presidential candidates and average Nicaraguans, are arriving in Costa Rica fleeing the repression of the regime of Daniel Ortega and his wife, Rosario Murillo.

Peñas Blancas border crossing

The situation has led thousands of Nicaraguas looking to Costa Rica, to move away from the path taken by Ortega, who is being called nothing less than a dictator and taking all necessary to ensure his victory in the November 7, 2021, elections, to be elected to a fourth consecutive term.

Data from Costa Rica’s immigration service, the Dirección General de Migración y Extranjería (DGME), confirms the trend.

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In June, the number of monthly requests went from1,300 to 4,378, while in July, more than 5,379 Nicaraguans requested assistance.

A complicated neighbor

“Complicated” is the best word to describe the political climate in Nicaragua, tense since the protests since 2018, becoming even more muddied with the nearing of the presidential elections.

On August 2, Ortega made his candidacy official, one of 7 presidential candidates and parties.

But before Ortega made his candidacy official, to pave the way for him, the Sandinista regime prepared several laws to persecute the opposition and reduce his electoral options.

In the last three months, there have been several waves of arrests. These include politicians, student leaders, activists and opposition businessmen.

In a generic way, the Sandinista Prosecutor’s Office has denounced dozens of people for “treason against the fatherland,” thus generating judicial processes and irregular detention.

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In the past 11 days alone one of the parties, the CxL that would have been the greatest challenge, has been dismantled. The party president, fearing arrest or deportation, taking refuge in Costa Rica after the vice-presidential candidate was ordered under house arrest. She has since been released, all on the complaints of party members loyal to Ortega.

As to the other presidential candidates and parties, they are token representation by Ortega to give the appearance of a democratic election.

The lastest, this Saturday morning, the country’s last standing major print newspaper, La Prensa, is under police guard following a raid by the Ortega police Friday afternoon, alleging the newspaper has committed “customs fraud”.

Read more: Nicaragua police raid the newspaper ‘La Prensa’ by accusing it of “customs fraud”

Nicaragua isolated

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As a result of this wave of arrests and persecution against opponents, the United States, Canada and the European Union have established different sanctions against different members of the Ortega regime.

Supporting the Ortega regime

Among them are ministers, legislators, presidential advisers, senior leaders of the National Police, and even the daughter of the presidential couple, Camila Ortega Murillo.

The sanctions include the freezing of assets in both countries, the prohibition of carrying out any transactions with citizens inside or outside the US and Canada, and immigration restrictions.

In addition, different countries have issued condemnations for the actions of Ortega, who in protest, called his ambassadors in Mexico, Colombia, Argentina, and Costa Rica, “for consultations”.

In this regard, President Carlos Alvarado declared that it was considered “a retirement of the ambassador”. Therefore, relations, that were never that warm for many years, are frozen between governments and are limited to dealing with matters between states.



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