(Managua) The Nicaraguan government on Monday accused four rivals and presidential candidates of being arrested by authorities as “hijackers” funded by the United States to oust President Daniel Ortega.
The detainees, who were arrested five months before the presidential election, said in a speech that the government “does not represent real opposition in Nicaragua” in a speech entitled “Nicaragua: Defending Sovereignty and the Rule of Law.”
“The only thing this kidnapping group has in common is its loyalty to the US government,” the government said, adding that they had “received millions of dollars from Washington through their respective voluntary organizations” to “overthrow the elected government” from Washington.
Thirteen opponents of the government have been arrested since the beginning of June. In addition to the four presidential candidates, dissidents of the ruling Santinista National Liberation Front (FSLN), members of civil society and entrepreneurs have been detained.
Journalist Christiana Zamoro, daughter of former President Violeta Zamoro (1990-1996), the first protester to be arrested. Being under house arrest, Daniel was Ortega’s main rival.
Former ambassador Arturo Cruz, political scientist Felix Maradia and Christiana’s cousin economist Juan Sebastian Zamoro were also arrested.
Washington and the United Nations have called for his immediate release. The United States has imposed sanctions on four of the president’s relatives.
Bob Menendez, Democrat leader of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Marco Rubio, a Republican, have urged US President Joe Biden to use “all available tools for diplomats to confront the Ordega regime.”
In a letter to Secretary of State Anthony Blingen, they called for increased sanctions against those close to Ordega and for intensifying cooperation with the Organization of American States (OAS) to reject the “anti-democratic nature of the El Nicaraguan government.” Attack ‘.
Former guerrilla Daniel Ortega, who ruled from 1979 to 1990, returned to power with the FSLN in 2007, before being defeated in the election of Violeta Zamoro.
He was re-elected twice in 2011 and 2016 following constitutional reform that allowed new orders to apply. The 75-year-old could run for a fourth term in the November polls.
According to his NGOs, he has been accused of ruling in a dictatorial manner by the opposition and the international community since he brutally suppressed protests against his government in 2018.