Nicaragua places former first lady under house arrest | World news
MANAGUA, Nicaragua (AP) – Nicaraguan police announced Monday evening that they had placed former First Lady María Fernanda Flores Lanzas, wife of former President Arnoldo Aleman, under house arrest for alleged crimes against the state.
There was no mention of Aleman or his whereabouts. The police statement said she would remain under surveillance while the allegations against her are investigated.
Even before his arrest, writer and former Nicaraguan vice-president Sergio Ramírez said on Monday that there was “no possibility” of holding free elections in Nicaragua on November 7 and that the opposition forces who would participate in them. would only “legitimize” the re-election of President Daniel Ortega.
In an interview with the Associated Press in the United States where he was receiving medical treatment, the author of “Divine Punishment” said that Ortega, 75, had imposed a system of “terror” that prevents people from coming down. freely in the street. and that he will not tolerate any opposition election campaign.
“There is no possibility (of free elections) and the political force that goes all the way will do a lot of damage in Nicaragua, it will give democratic credibility to a process that is corrupted beforehand,” Ramírez said, winner of the Miguel Prix de Cervantes in 2017.
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“Elections where the majority of candidates who can oppose Ortega are in prison cannot be elections,” he said, referring to the arrests of five pre-candidates, among the nearly 20 arrests of opposition figures in recent weeks.
The government also excluded an opposition party that was to be the vehicle of the National Coalition, a broad opposition to run against Ortega in the elections.
“The parties that go all the way, that accept electoral defeat and the seats allocated to them in the National Assembly, are those that will give the strength to Daniel Ortega to claim legitimacy in the elections,” Ramírez said. “This is a very serious step.”
The crackdown has raised fear across the country.
“A lot of people are leaving the country en masse, as has not happened since 2018 and there is a lot of fear among the people,” Ramírez said. “Nobody knows if they will be next (detained by the police), nobody knows which house will be searched.”
After his loss to Violeta Chamorro in 1990, Ortega would never consider relinquishing power again, he said. This means not allowing a candidate like her daughter, Cristiana Chamorro, who could potentially unite the opposition and who has been under house arrest for three weeks.
On Monday evening, journalist Carlos Fernando Chamorro, brother of Cristiana Chamorro, said via Twitter that the police had raided his home. He demanded that they respect the welfare of his sister-in-law and other people with her.
“They will not be able to silence journalism,” he wrote. In May, police raided the offices of its online media Confidencial. The government seized the former offices of the outlet in December 2018.
There was no immediate comment from the authorities.
“The idea of always (having) power is what guides this repressive process, power in all circumstances,” Ramírez said. Like others, Ramírez sees the government’s political prisoners as leverage to be used in any negotiation that may emerge, although he does not expect Ortega to consider this possibility until his re-election.
The 78-year-old writer was vice-president of Nicaragua during Ortega’s first government from 1985 to 1990. But in the mid-1990s he distanced himself from Ortega, founding with other intellectuals and former guerrillas. , the Sandinista Renovation Movement, or MRS by its Spanish Initials. It has since become the political movement, Unamos, or Unite. Ramírez retired from politics in 1996, but continues to be an important voice in the country.
His comments came the same day Mexico and Argentina recalled their ambassadors to Nicaragua for consultations, a day after Ortega’s government arrested another presidential candidate.
Mexico and Argentina broke with others in the region last week by failing to vote for an Organization of American States resolution condemning more than a dozen recent arrests in Nicaragua of key figures of the opposition.
The two countries want to consult their ambassadors on “the worrying politico-legal measures taken by the Nicaraguan government in recent days which have endangered the well-being and freedom of various opposition figures (including pre-presidential candidates). ), activists and Nicaraguan. businessmen, ”their foreign ministries said in a joint statement. They want to promote a dialogue with the Ortega government.
Late Sunday, Nicaraguan police arrested journalist Miguel Mora for alleged crimes against the state, similar to charges announced against others arrested over the past month. Mora had already been arrested in December 2018 and detained for almost six months before being released.
Mora ran 100% Noticias until 2020. Police raided the home he shares with his wife, fellow journalist Verónica Chávez.
Mora is the fifth potential presidential candidate arrested since the end of May. Ortega is running for a fourth consecutive presidential term. Other arrests concerned opposition leaders, prominent businessmen and former government officials.
Mora had registered as a pre-candidate for the Democratic Renewal Party.
The government accused most of those arrested of accepting foreign funding and of working for the overthrow of the government. Ortega called an April 2018 popular uprising that led to months of street protests as an attempted coup with foreign backing.
Ramírez said the leader with revolutionary ideals that could still attract some loyalty from leftists abroad is gone. “It no longer exists, what exists in Nicaragua is a dictatorship like any other dictatorship, beyond any ideological color,” he declared.
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