Nicaragua a contemporary victim of absolute power

25 October 2021

Original: Spanish

Since the grave events of April 2018, when the violent repression of social protests by the government of Daniel Ortega left hundreds of fatalities among the thousands of citizens who demonstrated in the streets and cities of the country to make their voice heard for their rights, the sombre will of authoritarianism emerged in Nicaragua.

It is within this context that in recent months a number of citizens in opposition to the regime made known their aspirations to stand as presidential candidates in the elections on November 7, and ended up in prison. Today there are 37 opponents arrested, including seven who had made known their intention to run as candidate for the presidency.

Today, Ortega and his wife, Rosario Murillo, are registered as candidates for president and vice-president of the country and along with them are five other lists that were accepted by the current electoral bodies that will supervise the elections.

The United Nations, the European Union and the Organization of American States have spoken out and reiterated their concern over these developments, which indicate that elections can hardly be considered free, fair and transparent, faced with complaints of selective persecution in the country. The Nicaraguan Episcopal Conference (CEN), in a recent statement, stressed that a democratic state is characterized by the unrestricted subjection to the law by its authorities and the separation of powers. In Nicaragua, these elementary pillars of the rule of law are currently ignored and are weakened on a daily basis.

Anyone who expresses and promotes a position other than that advocated by the regime is considered an adversary not only of the government, but of the nation, and many have been persecuted for acts against sovereignty and treason against the fatherland. A compliant and government-controlled prosecutor's office is responsible for promoting these processes. The world of art and culture has not emerged unscathed either from this unstoppable wave of persecution.

The human rights violations of thousands of Nicaraguans in April 2018 led the SI to publicly denounce the state violence that eventually resulted in the death of hundreds of innocent civilians, and the SI had called for the facts to be clarified and the responsibilities to be established. The SI's concern for Nicaragua and its commitment to follow up on the serious events of April 2018 was further reflected in its statement on the situation in Nicaragua on April 23, then in the resolution of its Committee for Latin America and the Caribbean in May, and by the declaration of its Council in Geneva in June, all in the same year, 2018. Finally, at its Council meeting in Santo Domingo in January 2019, with the participation of representatives of its member parties from all continents, the Socialist International took the decision to expel the FSLN for serious violations of human rights and democratic values ​​in their country.

Today, two weeks before the elections, the SI once again reiterates its rejection of government interventionism and condemns the repression that the government has been deploying throughout the country, on Nicaraguan society as a whole. The regimes of one party and the restriction of freedoms and fundamental rights of the people are incompatible with democracy and contrary to the principles that inspire the Socialist International.