RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The Nicaraguan Police informed this Sunday that it had arrested former Sandinista guerrillas Dora María Téllez and Hugo Torres, and opposition members Ana Margarita Vigil and Suyen Barahona on charges of “inciting foreign interference in internal affairs” and “calling for military interventions” against the government presided over by Sandinista Daniel Ortega.
The arrests of Téllez, Vigil, Barahona, and Torres, who are part of the Unión Democrática Renovadora (Unamos), formerly known as Movimiento Renovador Sandinista (MRS), bring to twelve the number of dissidents arrested by the National Police in recent days, including four opposition presidential hopefuls.
In a statement, the National Police indicated that the leaders are being investigated “for carrying out acts that undermine independence, sovereignty, and self-determination, inciting foreign interference in internal affairs, and calling for military interventions”.
Also, for “organizing with financing from foreign powers to carry out acts of terrorism and destabilization, proposing and managing economic, commercial and financial blockades against the country and its institutions”.
According to the police, they are also accused of “exalting and applauding the imposition of sanctions against the State of Nicaragua and its citizens, and harming the supreme interests of the nation”.
EX-GUERRILLAS WERE COMRADES IN STRUGGLE WITH ORTEGA
On the other hand, Unamos denounced that Tellez and Vigil were arrested during a police raid, without a warrant and with the use of drones, at the home of the former Sandinista guerrilla located in the municipality of Ticuantepe, neighboring Managua, which was raided by a group of anti-riot police.
Meanwhile, Barahona and Torres, who are president and vice-president of Unamos, respectively, were detained at their homes in Managua, which were also raided by police.
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“These actions against the leaders of Unamos are part of the repressive escalation of Orteguismo against the entire democratic opposition”, denounced that movement, which belongs to the opposition National Blue and White Unity.
For its part, the National Unity demanded “respect for the physical integrity” of the four arrested this Sunday, and also of Tamara Dávila, arrested last night, as well as of “all political prisoners, kidnapped by the regime”.
Téllez and Torres, former comrades in arms of President Ortega, participated on August 22, 1978, in the Sandinista commando that stormed the National Palace and took hostage the legislators sympathetic to the then-president and dictator Anastasio Somoza Debayle, overthrown almost 42 years ago.
Téllez was Minister of Health during the first Sandinista government (1979-1990) and distanced herself from the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) in 1995 when a group of dissidents, among them writer and former vice-president Sergio Ramírez Mercado, now retired from politics, founded the MRS.
Meanwhile, Torres, a retired Army brigadier general, was head of military intelligence.
While Vigil is the daughter of the late Miguel Ernesto Vigil, who was Minister of Housing and Human Settlements during the first Sandinista Administration, and Dávila is the daughter of the late retired Sandinista Colonel Irvin Dávila.
OPPOSITION IN “PERMANENT EMERGENCY”
This Sunday, the National Unity declared itself in “permanent emergency” given the wave of arrests of opponents in Nicaragua.
The Nicaraguan Police, led by Francisco Díaz, Ortega’s in-law and close associate, is holding four opposition presidential aspirants under arrest: Cristiana Chamorro, Arturo Cruz, Félix Maradiaga and Juan Sebastián Chamorro García.
Also the former head of the Superior Council of Private Enterprise (Cosep) José Adán Aguerri, the former vice-chancellor José Pallais and the opposition leaders of the National Unity Violeta Granera and Tamara Dávila.
In addition, two other former collaborators of an NGO have been detained in the last two weeks under accusations of various crimes.
With the new arrests, eleven of the twelve opposition members detained in recent days, including three of the four presidential aspirants for the opposition, are being investigated for “inciting foreign interference in internal affairs” and “calling for military interventions” against the Ortega government, among other crimes.
The arrests occur five months before Nicaragua’s elections, to be held on November 7, in which Ortega seeks new reelection.