Daniel Ortega Confiscates the Central American University

One of his judges issues an order for the confiscation of the UCA and the seizure of its assets, under the accusation of “terrorism”.

By Confidencial

HAVANA TIMES – The family dictatorship of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo, through a Managua judge, issued an official letter accusing the Central American University (UCA) of “terrorism”.  At the same time, it ordered the seizure of all the property of the university belonging to the Society of Jesus.

Sources linked to the Judiciary and the UCA separately confirmed the confiscation order issued by the judge, but they warned that the official letter is not published in the electronic system of the Judiciary.

The UCA authorities were notified on Tuesday August 15, at 05:29 in the afternoon, according to a statement sent this Wednesday afternoon to the university community.

In the official letter, Judge Saavedra notifies the university authorities about “the seizure of real estate, furniture and equipment, money in national or foreign currency from frozen bank accounts, and financial products in national or foreign currency owned by the UCA,” states the document.

All the assets seized from the UCA will become “property of the State of Nicaragua”. To that end, the judge sent official letters to the Public Registry of Real Estate and Commercial Property, the Superintendence of Banks and Other Financial Institutions (SIBOIF), the National Directorate of Registries, the National Police and the Attorney General’s Office to proceed with the confiscation.

“Unfounded accusations”

The UCA is accused of “functioning as a center of terrorism, taking advantage of the conditions created with lies, to raise the levels of violence and destruction, organizing armed and hooded criminal groups that used terrorist methods”.

The judge also accuses the directors of the UCA of having “continuously violated the independence, peace, national sovereignty and self-determination of the Nicaraguan people, inciting the destabilization of the country, harming the supreme interests of the nation and international conventions and treaties on human rights, altering the peace, security and the constitutional order”.

Saavedra adds that the directors of the Jesuit university “betrayed the trust of the Nicaraguan people” and that for this reason “they are and continue to be traitors to the Nicaraguan people.”

For its part, the UCA expressed in a statement that these are “unfounded accusations” and reiterated its commitment to Nicaraguan society “for high-quality higher education and faithful to its founding principles established 63 years ago.”

UCA suspends all their activities

Faced with this new blow from the dictatorship, the university informed the student community that as of this Wednesday, August 16, all academic and administrative activities are suspended, until it is possible to resume them in an ordinary way, “which will be informed through the official communication channels of the university”.

The university’s bank accounts have been blocked for a week and its real estate immobilized. Despite this, the UCA has continued to function as far as possible. In fact, this Tuesday, August 15, the workers were notified that the university would proceed to deliver their pay for the first half of August. However, for now, that is not possible.

Workers bare the onslaught

“Claudia”, a worker in the administrative area, explained that on several occasions she reviewed her bank account activity, thus confirming that the university has not paid her for the corresponding fortnight. She assures, however, that what worries her the most is the lack of information.

“We still don’t know anything, we don’t know if they’re going to pay us, the university hasn’t told us anything,” warns the source. “I feel very worried, since my family depends on the income I have from this job,” she adds.

“Verónica” is an hourly professor at the UCA, in the between semester period that has just ended she was in charge of a tutorial and is preparing to teach two subjects corresponding to the second semester of 2023. The university was supposed to pay her for the tutoring on August 11, two days after the Ortega regime ordered the freezing of the bank accounts. As of August 15 she had not received anything.

“During my time working with the UCA, my contract is for professional services, and a payment had never been delayed. I understand that this time it is related to the freezing of bank accounts,” said the professor.

The university community of the UCA includes more than 5,000 students and 546 teachers, according to data updated until 2021 in the National Council of Universities (CNU).

Waiting to see what happens  

Despite the financial blockade imposed by the regime, in the last week the UCA has been functioning “normally”, stated “Claudia”. But the work environment is “stressful” and full of “uncertainty,” she adds. Therefore, the students are concerned what may happen in the coming days.

“Internally, the situation is tense,” warns “Verónica.” “We don’t know more than what’s in the media because the case is being handled behind closed doors,” she adds.

Meanwhile, in the university administration office, the bills to be paid are piling up with each passing day and in the Academic Registry office, more and more students are trying to obtain their transcripts as a preventive measure, in the case the university is eventually confiscated.

The dictatorship of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo had already canceled 26 Nicaraguan universities in two and a half years, from late 2021 to mid-2023. Of these, eleven had their assets confiscated.

“UCA would not be the first university to be closed, there is a list that precedes us, and that is precisely why we are so afraid,” warns “Verónica”. The regime “will not hesitate to close such an important space, such as the UCA,” she stressed.

University is being suffocated

The previous blow of the dictatorship against the UCA occurred on August 14, when the Alternate Conflict Resolution division of the Nicaraguan Supreme Court removed the university’s legal services accreditation to operate as an alternate conflict mediation center. The university has provided services to the population for 54 years.

Given the abrupt revocation, the UCA reported Monday via an email and its social networks, that the legal firm “will continue to provide legal services to the population at the usual hours.” However, they will no longer carry out mediation processes as an alternative method of conflict resolution.

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