Nicaragua's regime has arrested 79-year-old former diplomat Edgar Parrales. The former priest was one of the few critical voices still active within the Central American country, where dozens of opposition leaders have been either placed under arrest or gone into exile.
Parrales, a former Nicaraguan ambassador to the Organization of American States, was taken from his Managua home Monday by a group of unidentified people, his wife, Carmen Dolores Córdova, told reporters. Parrales was about to enter his home when two men in plainclothes appeared, forced him into a vehicle and took him away, Córdova waas quoted by the Associated Press as saying.
”My husband was kidnapped because (his captors) did not present an arrest warrant or identify themselves,” she added. Parrales's wife is the daughter of the late lawyer Rafael Córdova Rivas, who along with Ortega was part of the first Government Junta during the Sandinista revolution (1979-1990).
Parrales had been critical of Ortega's decision to withdraw Nicaragua from the OAS, which he described as nonsense. Parrales was one of four priests who in 1983 were sanctioned by the Vatican for holding public office in the Sandinista regime. The other three, all now deceased, were the poet Ernesto Cardenal, Minister of Culture; his brother Fernando Cardenal, Minister of Education, and Foreign Minister Miguel D ’Escoto. In 1989, Parrales left the priesthood to marry Córdova.
After Violeta Chamorro's electoral victory over Ortega (1990), Parrales distanced himself from the Sandinista Front and became close to dissent. Although he is not part of any partisan organization, he is one of the few political analysts who has not been exiled from Nicaragua and continued to express highly critical views of the government.
The arrest took place hours after Parrales had analyzed Nicaragua's decision regarding the OAS on TV.
Nicaraguan police authorities have neither confirmed nor denied having arrested Parrales.
Nicaragua had announced last Friday it would leave the OAS after the recent elections, which extended Ortega's mandate by five years, were not free, fair or transparent and do not have democratic legitimacy, according to most international observers.
With Parrales' arrest, the number of opponents detained in Nicaragua is said to be 42 since May. But according to the Mechanism for the Recognition of Political Prisoners, whose data is supported by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), at least 159 Nicaraguans remain behind bars as “political prisoners” in the Central American country.
More than 100,000 Nicaraguans have fled their country in the last three years, as a result of the socio-political crisis in Nicaragua, according to the Nicaraguan Center for Human Rights (Cenidh), an amount that has doubled in 2021, according to the organization of Nicaraguan Exiles in the World (NEEM).