Nicaragua's National Assembly Wednesday voted to outlaw another 50 NGOs at the request of the Government of President Daniel Ortega.
Ortega's Sandinista legislative majority was instrumental in bringing up to 187 the number of non-profit organizations outlawed since December 2018. The 50 NGOs legal personality was terminated with the vote of 75 Sandinista lawmakers, zero votes against, and 16 abstentions, out of the 91 legislators that make up the Parliament.
”We are making cancellations of legal personalities on a special date (National Dignity Day). There are 50 associations that do not want to comply with the law, they want to violate the law, Sandinista Deputy Filiberto Rodríguez said.
The Sandinista legislators made their decision based on two lists of 25 NGOs each, submitted by the Ministry of the Interior in the last 24 hours.
The first list included a human rights organization, a women's organization, a political movement linked to former contras” who fought with weapons against the first Sandinista regime (1979-1990), and the Central American Historical Institute (IHCA) of the Jesuit Central American University (UCA).
The second list featured eight NGOs dedicated to socioeconomic development, four feminist movements, three from the youth, another three with environmental purposes, and two peasant groups as well as others dedicated to the promotion of human rights, science, medicine, democracy, and the arts.
One of those affected was Fundación 10, of local television Channel 10, an independent media outlet that has had to close programs critical of the Government and has seen some of its journalists go into exile, citing security reasons.
The NGOs working on gender issues were also cancelled: Asociación Programa Nacional Feminista La Corriente, Asociación Casa de la Mujer Bocana de Paiwas, Asociación para la Promoción de la Mujer de Waslala and Fundación Fondo Centroamericano de Mujeres, as well as the Academia de Ciencias de Nicaragua.
According to the Ministry of the Interior, the NGOs failed to comply with their duties to submit their financial statements or disclose the names of their boards of directors.
Representatives of some of the NGOs canceled in previous months, among them the Permanent Human Rights Commission (CPDH), have denounced that the Nicaraguan authorities refuse to receive documents from the organizations and then accuse them of non-compliance.
In Nicaragua, with the vote of Sandinista deputies and their allies, at least 187 Nicaraguan NGOs have been outlawed since December 2018 - mostly critical - eight months after a popular revolt erupted over controversial social security reforms described as a coup attempt by Ortega.
Among them are the Luisa Mercado Foundation, headed by the Nicaraguan writer exiled in Spain Sergio Ramirez Mercado, and the Association for the Development of Solentiname, founded in 1982 by the late Trappist poet Ernesto Cardenal (1925-2020), which were outlawed last April 20.
The Executive has also canceled the registration of four U.S. and six European NGOs.
Nicaragua has been going through a political and social crisis since April 2018, which has deepened after the controversial Nov. 7 elections in which Ortega was reelected for a fifth term, fourth consecutive, and second together with his wife, Rosario Murillo, as vice president, with his main contenders in prison.
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