Nicaragua’s largest and most important print newspaper, La Prensa, announced on Thursday (12) that it would cease circulation due to a “paper abduction”, which was carried out by the regime of Daniel Ortega. The company was unable to remove the imported equipment from customs, where it has been held for more than six months.
The publication claims to be a victim of political persecution because of its critical stance towards the dictatorship. In addition to not being able to access the newspaper, the daily La Prensa saw journalists threatened and imprisoned, and its advertisers were forced to stop funding it.
The newspaper said it appealed to the courts for the right to receive the raw material, but never received a response. From tomorrow, the vehicle will only have its digital version.
Founded in 1926, La Prensa aligned itself with the Sandinista movement against the regime of Anastasio Somoza in 1979. One of its most important figures was Pedro Joaquín Chamorro, its president, assassinated in 1978 by the Somozi repression. He was the husband of Violeta Chamorro, who would take the head of the country in 1990, and the father of journalist Carlos Fernando Chamorro and pre-candidate Cristiana Chamorro, pursued by the regime and banned from standing in the November elections.
The withdrawal of the newspaper from circulation is yet another attack by the regime on freedom of expression. Other advances have been made against the media, especially after the 2018 protests, during which Ortega stepped up repression in the country. The dictatorship has already arrested businessmen from the 100% Notícias channel, the offices of the digital newspaper El Confidencial have been invaded and robbed. Dozens of journalists live in exile.
With the end of the print version of La Prensa, there are no longer any editions of major newspapers in circulation in the country. Another important vehicle under political and economic pressure is El Nuevo Diario, which closed in 2019.
The situation in this Central American country is complicated by Ortega’s authoritarian escalation a few months before the November 7 elections. Besides advances against the press, the dictator also ordered the arrest of more than 30 opposition leaders, on charges of treason against the country and money laundering. Among these leaders are seven pre-candidates for the presidency.
Ortega has been in power since 2006, after his first presidential term between 1985 and 1990. During his tenure, he managed to be re-elected indefinitely and seeks to eliminate candidates to remain at the head of the regime.