Nicaraguan Groups Remind Petro of His Criticism of Ortega

Gustavo Petro at the celebration. Photo: EFE

After the “electoral farce” of 2021, the now president-elect of Colombia said: “Ortega has transformed a dream of freedom into a banana dictatorship.”

By Confidencial / EFE

HAVANA TIMES – A conglomerate of more than 20 Nicaraguan opposition organizations, both inside the country and in exile, congratulated the president-elect of Colombia, Gustavo Petro, and called on him “to continue with his critical position towards the dictatorship” of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo.

Last November, after Ortega and Murillo re-elected themselves as president and vice-president of Nicaragua with their rivals in prison or in exile, Petro, 62, stated, “that is not a democracy.”

In a press release, the organizations listed a series of critical statements by Petro on the Nicaraguan situation: “When a candidate, who at the same time is President… puts his opponents in prison and persecutes his opponents and injures them, well, that is not a democracy. I would not recognize them (the elections in Nicaragua),” said the then Colombian presidential candidate on November 10, 2021.

Days later, on November 23 of that same year, Petro commented: “Daniel Ortega has imprisoned hundreds of political leaders. Ortega has transformed a dream of freedom into a banana dictatorship,” according to the statement.

According to the organizations, Petro’s criticism predated the “electoral farce” in Nicaragua in 2021. On July 26, 2018 – one of the most difficult months of the repression against the civilian population–, Gustavo Petro assured: “In Venezuela as in Nicaragua there is the use of rhetoric…to cover up an oligarchy that steals the State, a minority that governs for itself and violates the rights of the majority.”

The opposition organizations, including the Civic Alliance for Justice and Democracy, groups of former prisoners, exiles, victims of armed attacks, said they have confidence that Petro, “from his position as president of Colombia, will continue his efforts favoring democracy and human rights in Nicaragua.”

They also urged him “to continue his support for the immediate release of the more than 180 political prisoners as well as the restoration of democracy in Nicaragua.”

Ortega congratulates him

“With all respect and much affection for your people, we salute your electoral victory today, June 19,” wrote Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega in a message to Petro. In the past Ortega has described Colombia as a “narco-state.”

“May we in our Caribbean America continue strengthening a history as our people expect and deserve,” said Ortega in his letter to Colombia’s president-elect, which was also signed by his wife, Vice President Rosario Murillo.

After getting 50.45% of the votes, against 47.30% of his rival, Rodolfo Hernandez, Petro became the first leftist candidate to win a presidential election in Colombia.

Nicaragua aquí en Havana Times