RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Nicaraguan journalist Miguel Mora became the fifth opposition presidential hopeful to be jailed in Nicaragua less than five months before the elections. The country’s president, Sandinista Daniel Ortega, in power since 2007, seeks new re-election.
Mora, who was imprisoned in the context of anti-government demonstrations, was arrested around midnight Sunday by the National Police, led by Francisco Díaz, a close associate and father-in-law of President Ortega, citing a law passed last December that classifies them as “traitors to the homeland” and disqualifies them from holding public office.
Founder, owner, and former director of the television channel 100 % Noticias shut down by the Ortega government in the context of the socio-political crisis that the country has been experiencing since April 2018, had announced his intentions to aspire to the presidency for the opposition Democratic Restoration Party (PRD), which was stripped of its legal personality a month ago by the Supreme Electoral Council, made up of Ortega’s supporters.
SECOND TIME IMPRISONED
The communicator, who launched his presidential pre-candidacy last March 6, was imprisoned for six months (between December 2018 and June 2019) accused of “fomenting and inciting hatred and violence” and “provocation, proposition, and conspiracy to commit terrorist acts” in the framework of the popular revolt, qualified as a coup attempt by the Government.
During his launching, Mora announced that he would break diplomatic relations with Cuba and Venezuela, open a permanent embassy in Israel, and dismiss his eventual government, the Sandinistas, except for those “who have not stained their hands with blood”.
The channel 100 % Noticias, which is now transmitted through social networks, denounced that the “Police broke windows to enter Miguel Mora’s house, who was taken away handcuffed, they put him in a patrol car and raided the house”.
Mora is the fifth presidential aspirant for the opposition arrested by the Nicaraguan Police.
THE OTHER FOUR CANDIDATES
The first one arrested, last June 2, was also journalist Cristiana Chamorro, daughter of Nicaraguan hero Pedro Joaquín Chamorro Cardenal and former president Violeta Barrios de Chamorro (1990-1997), and the opposition figure most likely to win next November’s presidential elections.
Chamorro, 67 years old, under house arrest, is accused of abusive management and ideological falsehood, both in real concurrence with money laundering, goods, and assets.
The second was Arturo Cruz, who was ambassador to the United States for the Ortega government between 2007 and 2009, and the first to be charged under the “Law for the defense of the rights of the people to independence, sovereignty, and self-determination for peace”, urgently approved last December 21 during an extraordinary session.
This controversial law, which disqualifies the candidacies of those Nicaraguans who applaud the imposition of sanctions against the State and its citizens, who will also be considered “traitors to the homeland”, is also being applied to the other two detained opposition presidential aspirants: the academic Felix Maradiaga and the economist Juan Sebastian Chamorro.
The presidential pre-candidates have been detained amid a wave of arrests that includes two former deputy foreign ministers, two historic dissident Sandinista ex-guerrillas, a former business leader, a banker, four activists, and two former NGO collaborators.
ARGENTINA AND MEXICO RECALL THEIR AMBASSADORS
Following these arrests, which have been condemned by the international community, Argentina and Mexico called on Monday their ambassadors to Nicaragua for consultations due to “the worrying political-legal actions” of the Ortega government, although without condemning their actions.
Argentina and Mexico expressed “their concern”. Still, they refused to support a resolution approved on June 15 by 26 countries of the Organization of American States (OAS) to condemn the persecution of opponents, with the argument of “non-intervention in internal affairs”.
Ortega, about to turn 76 years old, who returned to power in 2007 and governs since 2017 with his wife and vice president Rosario Murillo, aspires for the eighth time to the presidency.
The Sandinista leader, branded as a “dictator” by the US, is in his second stage as president of Nicaragua, after coordinating a Government Junta from 1979 to 1985 and presiding over the country for the first time from 1985 to 1990.