July 26, 2021

Pedro Sánchez demands that Daniel Ortega “play fair” and release the detained opponents | International

The head of the Spanish Government, Pedro Sánchez, together with the President of Costa Rica, Carlos Alvarado, this Friday in San José.STRINGER / Reuters

The head of the Spanish Government, Pedro Sánchez, has taken advantage of his visit to Costa Rica to comment on the crisis in Nicaragua. Sánchez has asked this Friday the president of that country, Daniel Ortega, to release the opponents detained in recent weeks, including four candidates for the presidency, in what has been a new repressive wave that clears the way to the third reelection of the ex-Sandinista guerrilla. Sánchez has spoken out about the elections, scheduled for November, and has told Ortega to “play fair” and guarantee a free and transparent electoral process.

Political crisis in Nicaragua

“I would like to address myself personally and directly to President Ortega: that he play fair, that he release the opponents and that he concur, in fair play and in good fight, in that electoral process,” Sánchez said after concluding a meeting with the president of Costa Rica, Carlos Alvarado, during his official visit. “We see with great concern what is happening in Nicaragua, which, by the way, is not new, we have been dragging it down for a few years,” added the head of the Spanish Government. Sánchez has affirmed that Spain and the European Union share the same position on the Nicaraguan crisis and has said that the bloc’s commitment is “firm in the defense of rights, freedoms and democratic values.”

President Alvarado has also shown his concern over Ortega’s repression against political dissent and has called for the release of the detainees. “The only viable and acceptable route there is is the release of the political prisoners, the candidates and the candidate. That is the only acceptable route from the point of view of the international community and it is even in the best interest of the Nicaraguan people, ”Alvarado said.

Costa Rica has not yet sent a new ambassador to Managua due to the country’s political crisis. The diplomat Xinia Vargas is still waiting for the order to be able to begin her work as a representative before the Ortega regime. “The fact that four candidates for the presidency are imprisoned in the face of that electoral process generates a circumstance that, clearly, is contrary to the democratic vision and that is why we have decided to put the arrival of the ambassador on hold,” he justified this afternoon. the Costa Rican president.

Ortega has unleashed a new wave of repression in Nicaragua, the main target of which has been the main candidates for an opposition candidacy for the November elections. Four prominent opposition figures were arrested Tuesday, accused of “inciting foreign interference in internal affairs,” including two presidential hopefuls, a prominent activist and the former president of the country’s main business chamber. The arrests have generated strong international rejection, including the United States, which has classified the Ortega government as a “dictatorship”.

The first arrest was that of the presidential candidate Félix Maradiaga, an academic and activist arrested after appearing at the Prosecutor’s Office, where they confirmed that they had opened an investigation. Hours later, the residence of the former Vice Minister of Finance, Juan Sebastián Chamorro García, nephew of former President Violeta Barrios de Chamorro and who had also made public his intentions to face Ortega in the elections scheduled for November, was raided. At night the activist Violeta Granera and José Adán Aguerri, former president of the Superior Council of Private Enterprise (COSEP), were detained at their homes.

With the arrest of Maradiaga and Chamorro García, there are four candidates for the presidency who have been investigated and detained in recent days. Cristiana Chamorro, daughter of former president Violeta Barrios de Chamorro, was the main opposition candidate until last June 2, the Ortega regime issued her house arrest. She is singled out for money laundering through the foundation that bears her mother’s name. Due to these arrests, the US Treasury Department announced on Wednesday new sanctions against the Ortega regime, which affect his daughter, Camila Ortega Murillo, and include Leonardo Ovidio Reyes, president of the Central Bank; Deputy Edwin Castro Rivera, loyal political operator of the regime in the National Assembly; and Julio Rodríguez Balladares, general of the Nicaraguan Army.

The Treasury Department has justified its sanctions by stating that these individuals support “a regime that has undermined democracy, abused human rights, enacted repressive laws with serious economic consequences, and tried to silence independent media.” .

Subscribe here to newsletter from EL PAÍS América and receive all the informative keys of the current situation of the region