MANAGUA, Nicaragua — The authorities of Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega arrested five opposition leaders during a prime weekend spherical up, in what appears to be like to be frequent detentions of any individual that may well well maybe disaster his rule.
“It’s no longer excellent doable candidates any more, it’s political leaders,” extinct general and Sandinista dissident Hugo Torres instructed The Related Press sooner than he himself used to be arrested Sunday. “Right here’s no longer a transition to dictatorship, it’s a dictatorship in every blueprint.”
On Sunday, police moreover arrested prominent ex-Sandinista dissident Dora María Téllez, one other opposition chief, Ana Margarita Vijil, and Suyen Barahona, chief of the political circulation Unamos.
Tellez’s arrest is a prime step: she used to be a leading Sandinista militant who led an assault on the National Palace in 1978, taking hostage the congress of dictator Anastasio Somoza in change for the launch of Sandinista prisoners.
Following Somoza’s overthrow, Tellez served as effectively being minister in the first Sandinista authorities which ruled from 1979 to 1990. Like many extinct guerrillas, she later break up with Ortega.
On Saturday, police arrested Tamara Dávila, who used to be active in Unamos, which used to be fashioned by extinct Sandinistas angered by Ortega’s autocratic ways, nepotism and perpetual re-elections.
Police acknowledged they arrested Dávila on charges associated to a just currently enacted law that classifies as treason any relief for sanctions against officers in the Ortega regime; the U.S. has slapped sanctions on dozens of officers.
Davila is moreover a central figure in the opposition coalition Blue and White National Team spirit, which used to be fashioned following Ortega’s repression of mass protests in 2018.
Beneath a law passed in December, Ortega’s authorities has the power to unilaterally explain electorate “terrorists” or coup-mongers, classify them as “traitors to the dwelling of origin” and ban them from running as candidates.
The law punishes those “who lead or finance a coup … lend a hand a long way off places interference, set aside a group aside a question to to for military intervention … propose or belief financial blockades, applaud and champion the imposition of sanctions against Nicaragua or its electorate.”
Those accused “will be traitors to the dwelling of origin, and for that motive may well well maybe also no longer saunter for public dwelling of job.” Treason is punishable by penal complex phrases of as a lot as 15 years.
Ortega has already arrested four doable opposition candidates who may well well maybe need challenged his converse for a fourth consecutive term, and now many Nicaragua opposition leaders fright it’s a long way better a subject of time except police reach for them, too.
Torres acknowledged he has viewed drones flying spherical his home in fresh days, of the kind old at Tellez’s condominium.
“This interview may well well maybe also be the last one I give,” Torres acknowledged. “I’m right here, waiting for them to reach lend a hand for me.”
Hours later, police barged into Torres’ home and arrested him.
Nicaragua’s National Police arrested the four opposition pre-candidates earlier this month.
On June 8, they arrested pre-candidate Félix Maradiaga, a pre-candidate for the opposition coalition Blue and White National Team spirit, and Sebastián Chamorro, a extinct director of the opposition coalition Civic Alliance.
The previous week authorities detained Cristiana Chamorro, a cousin of Juan Sebastián Chamorro, and Arturo Cruz Sequeira, a extinct ambassador to the United States.
Ortega initially led Nicaragua from 1979 to 1990 following the Sandinista revolution that ousted Somoza. He returned to the presidency in 2007 after three failed election attempts, and he gained reelection in 2011. He then sidestepped term limits to salvage himself reelected in 2016, and packed courts and authorities agencies with allies. The Sandinista social gathering controls the courts and the legislature, and has stifled universities and the Roman Catholic church.
Torres acknowledged Ortega has now instituted a more suffocating dictatorship than Somoza, who confronted opposition from the within the church, intellectual circles and universities.
“I think Ortega has outdone Somoza,” acknowledged Torres. “He has subordinated the total power to himself as Somoza by no technique may well well maybe. He has a a lot bigger repressive equipment than Somoza ever had.”
Julie Chung, the U.S. Impart Division’s acting assistant secretary for Western Hemisphere affairs, acknowledged by Twitter that Ortega’s “campaign of fright continues with more arbitrary arrests this weekend. OAS individuals must ship a clear signal this week: sufficient repression. The predicament can no longer stand by and wait to scrutinize who is next.”