The situation in Nicaragua – a country where sanctions against its governments down poured over the couple of dictators running the country – remains unchanged. The number of political prisoners now stands at 190 – among those seven presidential candidates who were a visible threat to Ortega’s ambition to perpetuate himself in power. The only two opposition newspapers are gone: “El Nuevo Diario” went broke as it could not stand the governmental manipulation and the daily newspaper “La Prensa” forced all its top journalists to go into exile while its building and premises were virtually taken and turned into a government culture center despite some constitutional provisions which prohibit confiscation. To make things even worse, Ortega is putting forward his most ambitious political plan: to get rid of all opposition political parties in order to create a one-party regime. Indeed, this alone will leave Nicaraguans at the mercy of the Sandinista dictatorship. Should this trend continue like this, the Nicaraguan people’s hopes to build a democratic nation are gone for a while. Ortega looks more defiant. And his peers in Cuba, Venezuela, and Bolivia take pleasure in seeing him take a most radical turn.
Who is standing up for the Nicaraguan people as international sanctions against the Sandinista dictators are not causing any significant reversal of events? In Nicaragua, the rights to freedom of expression and religious freedom are violated. Non-profit organizations have been closed and confiscated. More than six catholic radios are being confiscated by the Sandinista regime. And catholic priests in Nicaragua are being persecuted, jailed, or obligated to flee into exile. The refugee issue is growing and expanding exponentially. Along with that, human rights violations seem to be unstoppable as the whole judicial system in Nicaragua is part of the problem, not part of the solution.
As 2022 is ending, Ortega’s moves point to a radicalization of the regime. People are asking themselves whether this development is linked to a master plan designed in Havana to get every country in the Southern Hemisphere into the band of Putin. Political discussions about the dictatorial trend in Nicaragua inundate the press. But the focus on human rights violations seems to have missed the mark.
Sadly, it seems that everybody is getting used to see the issue of Ukraine as a “normal” development of world events. One hopes that the Nicaraguan situation is not put in the sack of oblivion. For sure, a global amnesia of that kind would be a full-fledged disgrace for all of humanity.
Dr. Haydee Marin, Coordinator of the Latin American Committee of the International Society for Human Rights