HAVANA TIMES – Daniel Ortega gave political asylum this past week to convicted money launderer Ricardo Martinelli, multi-millionaire and a former president of Panama. Previously, Ortega did the same for two fugitive ex Salvadoran presidents Mario Funes and Salvador Sanchez, both wanted for embezzlement of many millions.
In fact, without discriminating over ideologies, Ortega has made a business of granting Nicaraguan citizenship to convicted and wanted criminals, most likely for the booty they bring.
Many of these “refugees” received fast-track Nicaraguan nationality at a time when going on 400 Nicaraguans have had their citizenship stripped away for having opposed the policies of the Ortega-Murillo regime and its creation of a family dynasty.
Could Donald Trump be next?
Until recently, Martinelli was leading in the polls as a candidate for the May presidential elections in Panama despite his conviction being on appeal, a recourse that has now been denied by the Supreme Court.
Now, after his hope to overturn the conviction failed, he will have a hard time being on the ballot. Nonetheless, the New York Times reported Saturday that he was planning to run from the Nicaraguan embassy in Panama City.
I immediately wondered if Ortega would also offer asylum to Donald Trump if convicted for his lead role in trying to overturn the 2020 US elections and the insurrection at the capitol building on January 6, 2021?
Like Martinelli, Trump is ahead in the polls to regain the presidency despite scores of indictments levied against him in several states.
Trump could probably also get asylum in Russia or North Korea from his buddies Putin and Kim, but Nicaragua would be a lot closer to home and he may have more of a free reign to invest some of his money and keep playing politics while mounting his never-ending appeals.
As he did with the former Salvadoran presidents, Ortega could also give asylum to Trump’s entire family.
One of the many homes Ortega has confiscated from prestigious Nicaraguans could be given or sold to Trump to mount his family compound of operations.
For now, Martinelli is held up at the Nicaraguan embassy in Panama City. On Friday the Panamanian Foreign Ministry, said the government will not allow him safe conduct to leave for Nicaragua.
Meanwhile, Donald Trump continues to maneuver through a mire of court cases while running his campaign to return to the White House where he could have immunity from prosecution of his crimes or pardon himself if convicted.