Nicaraguan Government Shuts Two More Private Universities

The Martin Luther King Evangelical University (UENIC), based in Matagalpa. Photo from social networks.

A count of universities shuttered in Nicaragua in recent years yields at least 20, many with campuses in multiple cities.

By Confidencial

HAVANA TIMES – On Friday, the Nicaraguan Interior Ministry canceled the legal operating status and confiscated the property of two more universities: the Universidad Evangelica Martin Luther King (UENIC) and the Universidad de Occidente (UDO). Among other things, the universities are accused of failing to comply with the “minimum standards” of quality and of offering academic courses that haven’t been authorized by the country’s Rector of Higher Education.

As with the previous cancellations (see partial list below) and those of other NGOs, there is neither a review process, nor an improvement plan, nor any form of appeal against the closure decisions, which are announced unilaterally, often without warning.

With the cancellation and confiscation of these two universities, the number of Non-Governmental Organizations the Nicaraguan government has closed since 2018 now totals 3,719. Another unspecified number of organizations have “voluntarily dissolved,” in order to avoid having their assets confiscated. In the case of the UENIC, the Interior Ministry formalized their decision by publishing it in the Nicaraguan government’s official Gazette on July 28.

Students to be “relocated”

In both closure decrees, the Interior Ministry requests that the Executive Boards of both universities “in an orderly and expedited way” submit the information regarding the students, professors, careers, course syllabuses, and their database of registrations and grades so that the students can be relocated to approved universities. It should be noted that this takes place at the mid-year break for most Nicaraguan students, leaving many of them up in the air halfway through the year.

Accompanying these decisions, it was immediately announced that the Attorney General’s office would carry out the “transfer of the assets, property and furniture of these universities” to the Nicaraguan State.

Despite the flurry of decrees and publications, critics assert that the cancellation and confiscation of both the “Martin Luther King” and the “University of the West” is part of the persecution the Ortega-Murillo regime has maintained against organizations of civil society.

A list of private universities that have been shuttered includes:

Most recently – Universidad Adventista de Nicaragua (UNADENIC); Universidad del Norte de Nicaragua (UNN) and Universidad Metropolitana (UNIMET).

Other universities the Ortega regime has closed, mostly in the last two years:

Universidad Politécnica de Nicaragua (Upoli), Universidad Católica del Trópico Seco (Ucatse), Universidad Popular de Nicaragua (Uponic), Universidad Nicaragüense de Estudios Humanísticos (Uneh), Universidad Paulo Freire (UPF), Universidad Hispanoamericana (Uhispam), Mobile University Latin American Campus (Fumlac), Florida International University, Wake Forest University, Universidad Thomas More (UTM), Universidad Centroamericana de Ciencias Empresariales (Ucem). Universidad Particular en Ciencias del Mercado, Universidad Juan Pablo II, Universidad Cristiana Autónoma de Nicaragua (UCAN). Universidad Internacional de la Integración de América Latina (UNIVAL).

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