Ortega’s FSLN Promotes New Land Grab in Nicaragua


The organized invasion of private properties, both urban areas and rural farms is interpreted by lawyers and those affected as a clear retaliation against private business people for breaking the model of dialogue that the Private Enterprise Council (Cosep) had maintained with the Ortega government for the last decade.

In this area in Managua a large number of land grabbers begin to fence in and take possession of “their” lots using whatever materials they can. Photo: Rosa Membreño, laprensa.com.ni.

HAVANA TIMES – Hundreds of people arrived on Thursday on motorcycles, tuk-tuk taxis and other private vehicles to buy lots of the Montecristo farm, a green area within the city of Managua, which are being illegally sold for 500 Córdoba’s (16 USD), by unknown agents who took over the property, reported La Prensa newspaper.

This action is illegal, but “it is promoted by political operatives from the party in government to win popular support, by promoting another “piñata” land grab,” said lawyer Alberto Novoa, a former Attorney General.

The invasion of private property has taken force during May and June in the different departments of the country and is interpreted, by those affected and legal experts, as a reprisal against private business owners for breaking the model of dialogue that the Higher Council of Private Enterprise (Cosep) had with the government of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo before the student massacres that began in mid-April.

According to Novoa, the solution to this problem depends on the political situation that will result from this socio-political crisis that the country is experiencing since April 18, to the present, after the people rose up in demand for justice and a democratization in Nicaragua, he told La Prensa.

“If the current government survives this crisis, it will maintain the illegal possession of the land grabbers, because the government itself has fostered this situation through its mechanisms (political party secretaries, Citizen Power Councils),” Novoa explained. He added that “the repercussions for the country cannot be assessed at this time because it depends on who remains in the government.”

The invaders of the Montecristo farm arrived from Saturday June 23, and since then there are large lines to get a lot, said a caretaker of the property.

“At night they also shoot off mortars. The owner of the farm has his documents in hand to proceed to recover them legally,” added another caretaker of the property, who did not want to reveal his name for safety.

The invaders openly say that it was the Government that oriented the takeover. “The government offered us these lands at 500 córdobas for a lot,” one of those in line told La Prensa.

Complacent institutions

Some of those affected by the land grabs taking place in many departments of Nicaragua have filed a complaint with their local police, but they say they do nothing. Many times, they do not even want to take the complaint.

A land takeover in the department of Chinandega, Nicaragua.  Photo: 100% Noticias

“We do not expect the institutions (Police, Prosecutor’s Office, Attorney’s Office) to do something to investigate and punish these people who directed and authorized the land seizures, because they represent the same government that ordered them to invade,” Novoa added.

The same thing is occurring with armed robberies on both farms and urban homes. The Police, occupied with the government’s political problems, are rarely available to investigate, leaving a free hand to criminals.

According to the ex-Attorney General, if this crisis is not overcome, the Sandinista party will maintain the possession of the land grabbers and if the opposition to the Government triumphs, it would face a difficult situation to try to evict them and “in fact this legal situation would be transformed into a new piñata (like what occurred in 1990).”

The government of Daniel Ortega will not look for the sponsors of these invasions, because “they take place to obtain political support at a time when he wants to increase his popular strength that he has lost” since the conflict broke out, said Novoa.

In recent weeks and after the cozy government-Cosep relationship ended, the invasions of land in the different departments have spread, ignored by the Police and under the silence of the Army, which in past years were interested in protecting the rule of law in the countryside. Business leaders who have criticized the deadly actions of the Ortega government against non-violent protestors have been key targets for the land invasions.

The land grabbers do not say specifically who directed them to go to a given private property, some claim poverty and others say that supposedly municipal authorities and neighborhood politicians told them they could take lots, without naming anyone, reported La Prensa.