On Tuesday (8), the authoritarian regime that controls Nicaragua arrested the pre-candidate for President Felix Maradiaga – the third opposition leader to be detained by the authorities in less than a week.
The next presidential election is slated for Nov. 7, but the vote is expected to only serve to confirm another term for dictator Daniel Ortega, who has increased the persecution of opponents.
Maradiaga, 44, was arrested after testifying before the public prosecutor. His campaign claimed that the car he was in was pulled over shortly after leaving the interrogation site.
Authorities say he is under investigation for a series of crimes against the regime, including terrorism. “He is under investigation for carrying out actions undermining independence, sovereignty and self-determination, for inciting foreign interference in internal affairs and for calling for military intervention “the police said in a statement.
Shortly before his arrest, the opponent told reporters that the charges against him were politically motivated. “What we have done is fight with the Nicaraguan people, and that is what we will continue to do,” said the center-left politician.
He is a pre-candidate for president of the Blue and White National Union, a group formed out of protests against the regime that erupted in 2018. For his statements against Ortega – he even testified against the dictator in a UN Security Council meeting – Maradiaga saw his prison decree three years ago and had to flee the country to avoid being arrested. Upon his return in 2019, he was received by police at the airport, but was not detained.
The crimes for which the opponent is currently under investigation are part of a new sovereignty law passed by the regime in December last year – and which critics say has as its main objective to ‘attack the opposition.
On Saturday (5), former ambassador Arturo Cruz, 67, also pre-candidate for the opposition in the November elections, was arrested at the airport in the capital, Managua, on his return from the United States.
Like Maradiaga, he was also included in the new law, accused of undermining “Nicaraguan society and the rights of the people”, according to the public prosecutor. A judge later ordered that he be detained for the next three months while the investigation continued.
Cruz, who served as Nicaraguan Ambassador to the United States between 2007 and 2009, presented his candidacy for election by the Right-Wing Citizen Alliance for Freedom (CLX) two months ago.
Before her arrest, the regime had already placed under house arrest last Wednesday (2) journalist Cristiana Chamorro – who is the daughter of former president Violeta Barrios de Chamorro and is named as the main name of the opposition in the election. .
Vice-president of one of the largest newspapers in the country of Central America, La Prensa, Chamorro is accused of mismanagement, misrepresentation and laundering of money, property and assets. The arrest warrant was issued by a judge in Managua, following a request from the public prosecutor.
The daughter of former President Violeta Barrios de Chamorro (1990-1997) began to be investigated after the Interior Ministry accused her of irregularities in the administration of the foundation which named after his mother (FVBCH) – the organization is dedicated to free speech.
In 1990, Violeta Barrios defeated Daniel Ortega at the polls when he sought re-election after his first term (1985-1990).
The opponent, who is not affiliated with any party, holds 21% of the voting intentions, behind only Ortega (30%), according to a poll by the Cid Gallup Institute published last week.
The dictator returned to power after winning the 2007 presidential election and, bit by bit, was eroding democracy in the country. He put an end to much of the independent press, arrested opponents and, in 2014, put an end to a re-election limit, paving the way for the eternalization of power.