Nicaragua: opposition presidential candidate under house arrest
Cristiana Chamorro has been detained and held incommunicado at her home since June 3rd under house arrest. She is the candidate for the opposition in the next presidential elections to be held in November and who has the best chance of winning the polls, removing Daniel Ortega from office after fourteen years of ruling.
Frankfurt am Main / Managua, June 4th, 2021. – The International Society for Human Rights (ISHR) denounces that the 67-year-old journalist and presidential candidate Cristiana Chamorro has been detained in her house in Managua since last Wednesday, when policemen entered her house with a judicial warrant. The Nicaraguan Prosecution accuses her of money laundering and other “financial irregularities”. The human rights organization demands the release of Cristiana Chamorro and her daughter, the restitution of their property, and the presumption of their innocence, in accordance with the most elementary principles of law.
According to information collected by the ISHR, Cristiana Chamorro is being held in her house with her daughter Cristiana María Lacayo, the police took away their phones and laptops and both remain incommunicado and under strict severe police surveillance.
Chamorro is the daughter of the former president Violeta Barrios de Chamorro who defeated Daniel Ortega in 1990, removing him from office after ten years of revolution and finishing a war between sandinistas and rebels that surrendered their weapons. Violeta also abolished compulsory military service and reduced the National Army numbers from 100.000 to 12.000. It appears to be that the Nicaraguan dictator fears that history repeats itself and is attempting to block all possibilities of losing to Chamorro next November 7th. “President Ortega wants to stay in power by any means necessary and is trying to eliminate potential opponents in the run-up to the election. We observe with concern that the regime repeatedly takes repressive and brutal action against opposition members and their families, restricts human rights and attempts to suppress any criticism of the authoritarian policies of the incumbent. We demand free and fair elections in Nicaragua and the release of Cristiana Chamorro”, states the ISHR.
The ISHR reports the exacerbated persecution suffered by the opposition and specifically Cristiana Chamorro during the last months. On June 2nd, the Nicaraguan authorities requested the disqualification of Chamorro to pursue any political aspirations. All these occurrences make it plausible to assume that Daniel Ortega is moving the state apparatus on his behalf to ensure his reelection for another five years, extending his dictatorship to at least two decades.
Cristiana Chamorro is the director of the Violeta Barrios de Chamorro Foundation, created by her mother in 1997 to promote freedom of expression in Nicaragua. The foundation had to close in February due to pressure created by a law that controls foreign funds to NGOs in the country. Her presidential plans include changes in the armed forces of the country, the disarmament of paramilitary groups and elimination of counterriot forces. She also pursues a national agreement to combat poverty and protect human rights.