Victoria Cardenas and Bertha Valle, wives of former presidential candidates Juan Sebastian Chamorro and Felix Maradiaga, recounted how they were both arrested.
HAVANA TIMES – 60 Minutes on the US television network CBS highlighted the incarceration of the political prisoners of the Daniel Ortega regime. In the program segment aired on Sunday, June 19, Victoria Cardenas and Bertha Valle, wives of former presidential candidates Juan Sebastian Chamorro and Felix Maradiaga, recounted how both were abducted a year ago by the Police.
Juan Sebastian Chamorro, a Georgetown-educated economist, is part of a prominent political family in Nicaragua, indicates CBS.
One year after Chamorro’s imprisonment, Victoria Cardenas told CBS how the agents entered the house to arrest her husband, one of the dictator’s main opponents at the polls.
When the agents entered the house to kidnap the businessman, Chamorro “was on the floor with his hands up saying: “I’m here. Please don’t do anything to my wife. We are unarmed.” “They burst in. And they took him violently,” Victoria Cárdenas told the CBS journalist.
Since Juan Sebastian Chamorro was arrested in June 2021, his wife has not seen or spoken to him since. She had to flee the country for her own safety as well.
Cardenas said the detention of Chamorro without cause is a clear Human Rights violation. “It is not only my family that is suffering, but there are also more than 140 families that have innocent political prisoners and are experiencing this terrible situation.”
He was already under de-facto house arrest
For her part, Bertha Valle, a former television host in Nicaragua and wife of political prisoner Felix Maradiaga, said during her intervention on the program that her husband already was under house arrest before they took him away to the infamous El Chipote jail.
“They watched him constantly, they put patrol cars in front of the house. The police told him he could not leave the house and from December 2020 to February 2021 he was under house arrest,” explained Valle.
After a year of illegal detention, Bertha Valle believes that her husband is still alive. Since he was detained, she has not been able to see or hear him, because she is in exile and the dictatorship has rarely allowed political prisoners a visit.
“That’s what I want to believe, you know? I’m hoping he’s okay, but I don’t know. And that’s why we’re asking for proof of life. And that is why we are making all this effort to go out and inform the international community. Because there is nothing we can do in Nicaragua,” Valle explained.
Sanctions will not be enough
Jose Miguel Vivanco, a well-known human rights lawyer, told 60 Minutes that US sanctions will not be enough to convince Daniel Ortega to change course as he counts on continued military and financial support from Russia.
“Ortega has decided to stay in power for the rest of his life,” Vivanco told CBS.
Vivanco described the April 2018 protests as a “turning point” in which thousands of Nicaraguans took to the streets to raise their voices against the massacres of students at the hands of the police.
“The demonstrations were confronted with brutal force by Ortega. And he was able to get away with all those crimes, all those atrocities committed by his security forces,” noted Vivanco.
However, he says Ortega also realized that if he lost power he could be jailed for what Nicaraguan journalists called a “massacre” of protesters when some 350+ were slaughtered.