Nicaragua holds third presidential hope as criticism grows | Human Rights News

Another potential challenger for Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega has been arrested, prompting criticism from the American diplomat.

Nicaraguan authorities have arrested a third potential presidential candidate amid a deep crackdown by President Daniel Ortega in preparation for this year’s elections.

Felix Maradiaga, 44, was detained Tuesday after appearing at the public prosecutor’s office where prosecutors are investigating him for alleged acts against sovereignty, terrorism and support. international sanctions against the government.

Maradiaga is the leader of the White and White Alliance, a group that was born after widespread protests against Ortega’s rule in 2018. He said the government’s crackdown on the UN Security Council that same year.

Last week, two other opposition politicians who were scheduled to run against Ortega were arrested.

Christian Chamorro he was placed under house arrest on charges of government money laundering, meanwhile Arturo Cruz he was held in pretrial detention so prosecutors could investigate allegations of “provocation … and conspiracy to harm national integrity.”

A man walks past a mural depicting Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega, who is increasingly called a dictator, in Managua, Nicaragua on March 30 [File: Stringer/Reuters]

Police said Maradiaga “is being investigated for having committed acts that undermine independence, sovereignty and self-determination, inciting foreign interference in internal affairs, and demanding military intervention.”

He is also accused of using “funding from foreign powers to carry out acts of terrorism and destabilization,” police added.

These make probably the accusations against Maradiaga the most serious of those brought against Ortega’s challengers.

The accusations are in line with a law passed by the legislature, dominated by Ortega’s allies, in December that lawmakers said they would defend Nicaragua’s “sovereignty” from hostile foreign influence.

But critics have said it is destined preventing opposition politicians by election.

Sponsored by the left-wing Ortega, it prohibits “those who demand, celebrate and applaud the imposition of sanctions against the Nicaraguan state.”

Ortega, a former rebel fighter who ruled from 1979 to 1990, returned to power in 2007 and won two successive re-elections.

But he has been accused by the opposition, NGOs and the US of authoritarian government and the brutal suppression of protests.

Both the European Union and the US have applied sanctions against Ortega and his government.

“The arbitrary arrest of presidential candidate Felix Maradiaga … should resolve any remaining doubts about Ortega’s credentials as dictator,” he said. he said Julia Chung, the highest American diplomat for Latin America.

“The international community has no choice but to treat it as such.”

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