The Nicaraguan regime of former Sandinista guerrilla leader Daniel Ortega has placed right-wing presidential hopeful Noel José Vidaurre Arguello under house arrest for alleged treason.
The 66-year-old Vidaurre Saturday became the seventh candidate to the presidency and 28th political opponent to Ortega to be judicially barred from participating in the November 7 elections.
Several other politicians who have been arrested are being held at the El Chipote prison, a facility considered by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights as a torture center.
Police Chief Francisco Días -Ortega's father-in-law- explained that an investigation had been launched against Vidaurre, of the opposition Citizen Alliance for Freedom party. The political commentator Jaime José Arellano Arana also been detained over the weekend, but they remain at their homes, under police custody.
Vidaurre and Arellano are being investigated for allegedly carrying out acts that undermine Nicaragua's independence, sovereignty and self-determination, in addition to inciting foreign interference in internal affairs and requesting military interventions or foreign financing for acts of terrorism and destabilization.
The Nicaraguan government claims the defendants have demanded, exalted, applauded the imposition of sanctions against the State and its citizens and harmed the supreme interests of the nation.
Nicaraguan authorities have already arrested opponents Cristiana Chamorro, Arturo Cruz, Félix Maradiaga, Juan Sebastián Chamorro, Miguel Mora and Medardo Mairena. All are prosecuted and investigated for alleged treason.
Daniel Ortega has been in power for 14 years and has promoted several reforms so as not to leave office.
The charges against the opposition leaders are grounded on the Law for the Defense of the Rights of the People to Independence, Sovereignty and Self-Determination for Peace, hastily approved by the National Assembly in December last year to allow the authorities to classify traitors to the homeland and disqualify them from running for public office.
Applications for the presidency must be registered within the established deadline between July 28 and August 2. In Nicaragua, whoever is under investigation or arrest, is not eligible for elective positions.
Ortega, 75, has not officially announced that he will seek reelection, but he is expected to lead the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN-left) ticket. Ortega is a former guerrilla leader who ruled between 1979 and 1990, returned to power in 2007 and was re-elected twice in a row amid allegations of opposition fraud. Ortega co-rules Nicaragua with his powerful wife and current Vice President Rosario Murillo.
Last May, the Nicaraguan Police raided the headquarters of the magazine Confidencial and even placed foreign correspondents under arrest. The 75-year-old president is not believed to be willing to leave power.
Meanwhile, Ortega has once again accused the United States of wanting to boycott the Nicaraguan elections. The empire does not want elections in Nicaragua, the empire wants to boycott, re-sow terrorism in our country, but God willing we are going to hold those elections and the people will go out to vote, said Ortega. The president dubbed the November 7 elections as one more step in the battle for our second independence.
The Yankees came and said America for the Americans and began to dominate our countries. And the countries which did not allow to be dominated were either invaded or coups took place, he recalled. Ortega claimed that when Washington candidates do not win an election they do everything possible to destabilize the country, as they have done in Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia and in the past in Brazil.”
More than thirty officials and relatives of Ortega have been sanctioned by Washington for corruption and violation of human rights since 2018, when the country was shaken by strong protests, the repression of which left more than 300 dead. Ortega said those events were a failed US-backed coup, then labeled his opponents as terrorists, and has subsequently ignored international criticism.
With the empire there is no room for negotiation or understanding (...) the Yankee does not understand, he thinks he is the owner of the world ...”.