“We are tired of so much pressure, of being demanded to do things we don’t want to do and of the attitudes the government has taken against the Nicaraguan people,” says the former judge.
HAVANA TIMES – Liseth Santamaria Duarte, who was serving as a Local Criminal Judge in the southeastern Nicaraguan city of Nueva Guinea, after almost 4 years of working in the same position in El Rama, resigned from her position and went into exile in the United States, as she revealed to Nicaragua Actual in an exclusive interview.
Santamaria spoke with journalist Gerall Chávez in the United States and told him that there were many motives and reasons that made her decide to present her resignation and leave the country, one of them was the pressure to which she was subjected to in her job as a judge.
“There were many motives and reasons that prompted me to leave to my country. Many reasons and one of them for which I decided to resign from the position and leave my country, was because I felt a lot of pressure at work,” states the former judge.
Santamaria explains that she was no longer practicing adherence to the laws in her work, but instead had to do it in accordance with the instructions she received from the presiding judge of the Court of Appeals, whose name she omits for fear of reprisals against her family.
Takes advantage of vacation to leave the country
The former local judge of Nueva Guinea relates that before leaving the country she left her letter of resignation and a general power of attorney to her mother so that she could deliver it to the Judicial Complex after she left Nicaragua with her children.
“During last December’s vacations, I took advantage of the opportunity to leave, because I thought that if I left before or after it would be very dangerous for me, because if they found out they would not let me pass through the border,” she narrates.
She added that in the Judicial Complex they received her resignation, but she later learned from a colleague that she did not receive her severance payment. But rather what they did was to remove her from her position so as not to give her severance pay for the 16 years of work in the Judiciary.
She won’t return to Nicaragua for fear of reprisals
Santamaria relates that she is afraid to return to Nicaragua, for fear of reprisals against her family and herself, for refusing to continue being a puppet and continue to do the bidding of the Ortega regime.
“I got tired of it. I felt bad many times for not doing my job. I felt like a puppet when working, because I had to do what my boss ordered me to do and if I return to Nicaragua I could be accused of treason, they could imprison me, so I am afraid to return to Nicaragua and that they will hurt my children and family,” she says.
She adds that when she made the decision to leave for the United States she thought about her children, who although they are adults, a 26-year-old woman and a 19-year-old man, she took them with her because she knew that if she left them in Nicaragua, they would run the risk of being imprisoned.
“They ran the risk of being persecuted to question them, to put them in prison as revenge against me for having resigned and for having left Nicaragua. I knew that by being here with me, my family and I would be safe,” said the former judge.
Judges forced to proselytize
According to Santamaria, it is against the law for Judicial Branch officials to participate in political campaigns in favor of Daniel Ortega’s regime; work they are forced to do by the dictatorship.
“A judge cannot go around the streets doing house-to-house visits, talking to people about the party, talk with government officials, because a judge has nothing whatsoever to do with that, he or she must be neutral. So, a judge cannot be against the law,” she affirmed.
However, she stated that they were forced to go out to the streets and also must frequently “contribute” from their salary to cover expenses they incurred of anything, so that if they refused, they would get “a dirty look.”
Nicaragua is without justice
Santamaria asserted that in Nicaragua justice is not implemented at all, because the judges of the Judiciary always end up doing what the government tells them to do, without any adherence to the laws of the country.
She also revealed that a few days ago, a judge from Acoyapa, surnamed Halleslevens, also made the decision she took. She resigned and sought refuge in the United States because if she stayed in Nicaragua, she would run the risk of many things happening to her and her family. She added that she thinks that many of her co-workers in the Judiciary want to do the same, but perhaps out of fear they do not do it.
“We are tired of so much pressure, of being demanded to do something that we don’t want to do. We are tired of the attitudes that the government has taken against the Nicaraguan people,” said the former Nueva Guinea judge in disgust.