Nicaragua’s Brain Drain Worries Writer Gioconda Belli

HAVANA TIMES – Nicaraguan poet and author Gioconda Belli has expressed her concern for the flight of human capital in Nicaragua, reports 100% Noticias. The flight comes amid a wave of arrests of opposition political leaders and of professionals critical of Daniel Ortega’s government. Among them are seven aspiring candidates to the presidency. 

“For every person like Octavio Enriquez who leaves, the country loses its most precious treasure – its human capital,” indicated Belli. Her novel, El Pais de las Mujeres [“The country of women” available in Spanish only] won the 2010 “The other edge” [“La otra orilla”] Prize for Latin American literature.

Belli’s remarks referred to Nicaraguan journalist Octavio Enriquez, who has received several major international journalism awards. Enriquez had announced the evening before that he left the country to safeguard his physical integrity.

Enriquez explained in an article published in the digital website Confidencial, where he works, that he decided to leave Nicaragua after civilians who identified themselves as police came to his house and told his family they were summoning him to appear for a second time before the Public Prosecutor.

That summons, which he never received officially, would have been connected him to the charges launched against the Violeta Barrios de Chamorro Foundation. The Foundation has been accused of abusive management and ideological falsehood, both in conjunction with the accusation of money laundering.  

“This quiet ‘they left’ that’s heard every day is a tragedy of immense proportions,” Belli lamented. She herself spoke from the United States.

The cascade of arrests of opposition political leaders in Nicaragua has caused hundreds of dissidents and professionals to opt to leave or to remain outside of the country, as they themselves have admitted.

Opposition leaders, writers, journalists, doctors, lawyers, ex-contra, former guerrilla leaders, youth, workers and farmer have gone into exile or delayed returning to Nicaragua for reasons of security. This transpires amid a hostile political atmosphere that could result in their being locked up, as different sources have confirmed.

Sergio Ramirez, writer, novelist and formerly vice president of Nicaragua, went to the United States after appearing last June before the Public Prosecutor’s to testify in conjunction with charges of money laundering on the part of an NGO he previously headed. He says he left for health reasons and is “pondering” whether or not to return to the country.

Nicaragua has been going through a political and social crisis since April 2018. This crisis has worsened as the electoral farce planned for November 7 draws near. Daniel Ortega has essentially already won his fifth term as president, four of them consecutive, since he totally eliminated any serious competition, either by imprisoning aspiring candidates or annulling the legal status of their parties.  Ortega is running for a second time with his wife, Rosario Murillo, as vice president.

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