Wednesday 22 March 2023

Spain offers nationality to political prisoners expelled from Nicaragua

The United States said this Friday that it is in contact with Spain to make it easier for political prisoners expelled from Nicaragua to apply for Spanish nationality if they wish.

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Q24N (EFE) The government of Spain has offered nationality to the Nicaraguan political prisoners expelled by the government of Daniel Ortega, a gesture from Spain highly valued by former Nicaraguan presidential candidate Juan Sebastián Chamorro on behalf of those affected.

Former Nicaraguan presidential candidate Juan Sebastián Chamorro, one of the Nicaraguan political prisoners expelled from his country, on February 10, 2022. EFE/Octavio Guzmán

The offer was announced by Spain’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, José Manuel Albares, in statements to Servimedia and later confirmed to EFE by ministerial sources.

The offer of Spanish nationality is extended to the political prisoners who are still being held in Nicaraguan prisons, whom the Ortega government will strip of their nationality for being accused of “treason against the homeland.”

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Juan Sebastián Chamorro, released and expelled to the US, thanked on behalf of the 222 deported prisoners the offer of nationality made by Spain.

“I am sure that many of the political prisoners are going to see this as an option,” he said at a virtual press conference from Washington, in which he thanked Spain for having worked hard in recent years for the democratization of Nicaragua.

Although they received a humanitarian permit that will allow them to live and work in the United States for two years, Nicaraguans are stateless after the Ortega government announced that it was stripping them of their nationality “for traitors to the homeland.”

Chamorro, accompanied by fellow former presidential candidate Félix Maradiaga, also expelled on Thursday, thanked all the civil organizations and governments that have shown support in the months they have spent in prison (twenty in the case of both).

“A generous offering that fills hope”

“The gratitude to Spain is particular because it took up the issue of political prisoners and democratization many years before and has shown that commitment to Nicaragua and Nicaraguans,” Chamorro said.

“It is a generous offer that fills them with hope,” he commented, and although they have only been out of prison for a few hours, they are already analyzing it.

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“There are a couple who have relatives in Spain and I am sure that it is an extremely important humanitarian action and I am extremely glad that the initiative has been taken that shows the importance of the international concert of countries working for political and human rights,” he said. he.

Supporters of Nicaraguan political prisoners chant at Washington Dulles International Airport, in Chantilly, Va., on Feb. 9, 2023.

US speaking with Spain

The United States said this Friday that it is in contact with Spain to make it easier for political prisoners expelled from Nicaragua to apply for Spanish nationality if they wish.

“We have been in communication with Spain. There is the possibility that some will explore offers from other countries,” Emily Mendrala, deputy assistant secretary of state for Latin America, told EFE.

Mendrala explained that the 222 prisoners who arrived in Washington on Thursday are already beneficiaries of a humanitarian program to remain in the United States for two years, but their future will depend “on the situation and preference of each one.”

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The U.S. State Department will facilitate travel so that exacerbated prisoners can reunite with their families in different parts of the United States.

It also offers legal assistance so that those released, who were stripped of their Nicaraguan nationality, can “choose the options that make the most sense for them,” including the opportunity to go to Spain.

Read more: Ortega banishes 222 political prisoners from Nicaragua

The Nicaraguan authorities expelled to the United States this Thursday a group of 222 political prisoners (several Europeans), including five priests, whom they disqualified for life from holding public or popularly elected office and stripped of their nationality, declaring them stateless.

Seven of them tried to run against Ortega in the 2021 presidential elections and were detained and placed either under house arrest or imprisoned, and on Thursday banished from Nicaragua “as traitors to the country.”

Most international observers declared the 2021 vote a sham.

One of Ortega’s critics, Catholic Church Bishop Rolando Alvarez, included in the political prisoner release but refused to board the plane to Washington, was sentenced on Friday to more than 26 years in prison by a Nicaraguan court.

Alvarez was convicted on charges of undermining national integrity and spreading false news, and during Friday’s court hearing it was also announced that he would be fined and stripped of his Nicaraguan citizenship.

In a post on Twitter, renowned novelist and essayist Sergio Ramirez who decades ago served as Ortega’s vice president, described it as a “beautiful gesture,” adding that those released “will have a homeland as long as Nicaragua does not recover its freedom and democracy.”



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