RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Nicaraguan President, Daniel Ortega, described the detained opposition political leaders as “agents of the United States” and “criminals” – including the five presidential hopefuls – and said it was “absurd” that the international community is calling for their release.
“Here we are not judging politicians, here we are judging criminals who have attached the security of the country, the life of the citizens”, said the president in an official act, in which he reappeared in public after more than a month of absence.
Ortega affirmed, without presenting evidence, that the opposition leaders who are in prison are trying “again to organize another April 18, another coup d’état to provoke what they call the change of regime”.
On April 18, 2018, a popular revolt erupted over controversial social security reforms that left hundreds dead and tens of thousands in exile. These were forcibly neutralized by the government that considers it was an attempted coup d’état.
IT IS “ABSURD” THAT THEY ARE ASKING FOR THE RELEASE OF OPPONENTS
“That is what we are pursuing, that is what is being investigated, and that is what will be punished at the right time, as the law mandates,” continued Ortega.
He asked the international community to stop asking for the release of the opponents of the opposition, “Stop with these absurdities that send us to say: let’s set them free, are we going to ask another country, the United States to release the 400 Americans who assaulted the Capitol? And here they are shouting for 20 (detained opponents). Over there, there are 400, so release those 400,” he said.
The Sandinista leader asked the international community “to forget” that this will happen, “that in Nicaragua there is justice,” and that “there is no step backward, there will be no step backward, only forward”.
In his speech, Ortega charged against the United States, which he described as the “Yankee empire” and as “a curse for humanity, a son of the devil, of the caves, of evil, who rages against the peoples of the world.”
ORTEGA SAYS OPPONENTS CONSPIRE TO OVERTHROW HIM
About the detained opponents, he said that they are “agents, willing employees of the Yankee empire”, who “conspire to overthrow the Government of Nicaragua, and that is not new.” He recalled the social outburst of April 2018.
“Who is going to forget how they got together and how they destroyed a policy of understanding, of agreements, which was going well, simply because they listened to the Yankee that they had to provoke a change of regime in Nicaragua and bring democracy to Nicaragua?” Ortega continued, about the consensus agreement that the Executive had with the businessmen.
He assured that the Police and the Attorney General’s Office, led by two close associates of his, “have found a network that conspired and had been conspiring” since 2018, and “the network has names and surnames of non-governmental organizations and associated people.”
Now, he added, they are “shouting the enemies of the revolution and how is it possible that they are detained, imprisoned, prosecuted, and launching campaign against Nicaragua and some countries daring to attack Nicaragua when they have the roof and the floor completely made of glass.”
He criticized that now they are “on their knees asking and begging for sanctions from the Yankee empire” against his government and close associates.
“They think that with sanctions they are going to bring Nicaragua to its knees”, said the President, who recalled that the country “has gone through much more difficult moments, much harder”, such as the war economy experienced during the civil war of the 1980s, when Ortega also governed.
Likewise, he reproached those who were called candidates to the Presidency. According to the Electoral Law, this is not the date for registration, and that they were not even pre-candidates in their political groups.
Since last May 18, the Nicaraguan authorities have canceled the legal organization of two opposition parties. Besides five presidential aspirants, three other politicians, two businesspeople, a journalist, and six leaders of a political movement founded by dissidents of the governmental Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN), they have been arrested, including two historical combatants and former companions of the President’s struggle.
The arrests have taken place less than five months before the elections in which Ortega seeks to be reelected for five more years, and in the face of growing international pressure which has not been able to stop the wave of arrests of dissidents.