Ortega Backer in Spain Accused of Threatening other Nicaraguans

Nicaraguan immigrants and exiles living in Spain have accused Jose Rolando Castillo Vanegas of the crime of “Intimidation”. Courtesy photo

Jose Rolando Castillo Vanegas was cited to appear before the Madrid Investigative Court on February 2nd. He faces accusations of “Intimidation”.

By Ana Lucia Cruz (Confidencial)

HAVANA TIMES – The menacing words in a video posted by Jose Rolando Castillo Vanegas have brought him before a Spanish judge. The community of Nicaraguans exiled in Spain know him as a “fanatical supporter of Daniel Ortega’s regime.” On February 2nd, he was called to appear before a Madrid Court, accused of the crime of “intimidation”.

In a video that lasts under a minute, Jose Rolando Castillo Vargas appears fully armed. He assures that he’s “ready” to “beat the mother-loving crap out of these shithead coup supporters”.

The threatening video appeared in February 2020, on the social networks of the organization S.O.S. Nicaragua-Madrid. The group consists of Nicaraguan exiles and immigrants in Madrid who oppose the Ortega government. Their representatives investigated the identity of the man appearing in the video. They then presented the corresponding complaint to the Spanish authorities.

Meyling Duarte, a representative of S.O.S. Nicaragua-Madrid, filed the formal complaint nearly a year ago, on February 22, 2020. However, the preliminary hearing against Castillo wasn’t held until February 2, 2021. A Madrid court “admitted the accusation”, according to Duarte. Next, they’ll be sent a new court appointment, with details of the presiding judge and prosecutor for the case.

Justice can be slow but they want to set an example

Meyling Duarte is a Nicaraguan who has been in Spain since 2015. She asserted that Castillo’s words have caused the Nicaraguan exiles and migrants who oppose Ortega to feel “directly threatened”.

Duarte filed the denunciation against the FSLN sympathizer in her personal capacity as a representative of S.O.S. Nicaragua-Madrid. It was done this way, she explained, to shield other members of the group. Many of the exiled Nicaraguans continue to fear for their family members who remain in Nicaragua.

Duarte further explained that they’ll have the support of a public defendant during the trial against Castillo. They put in their request for such a lawyer on February 2nd. She’s clear that “I can’t pay for a private attorney”.

The S.O.S. member has represented the self-organized Nicaraguans residing in Madrid since April 2018. She has become the face of the group. Upon seeing this threatening video, she felt “afraid”. That feeling only increased when she learned more. “This man is a former member of the Nicaraguan Army, and he posts photos of himself with arms” on social media.

“It generates a lot of fear and makes us feel unsafe. Not only myself, but all those who accompany me in the demonstrations and activities we promote as an organization,” she added.

They trust the Spanish justice system

The members of S.O.S. Nicaragua-Madrid confirmed their trust in Spain’s justice system. They hope that the threatening video from Jose Rolando Castillo is “sufficient proof” of the danger they feel they’re in.

Duarte went on to offer more details about Castillo. According to her, he’s posted threats on the page “Sandinistas in Spain”. The threats on this page, she indicated, have been systematic. She hopes that other exile and migrant organizations that feel similarly threatened “approach us”. “Among all of us, we can make this a reference for all the fanatics who think they’re clever. So they can see that in Spain and other countries in the world, justice does exist. It’s not like Nicaragua, where the regime does whatever it wants.”

If Castillo is found guilty, and they don’t reach a settlement through mediation, he could face a jail sentence. A guilty verdict could net him 2 – 4 years in prison, Duarte explained, according to the explanation from the defense team.

“We’re not going to make any kind of deal. This isn’t the first time that we as an organization, and myself as Meyling Duarte, have felt directly threatened. This time we want justice. We want them to lock up the people who want to harm us,” she demanded.

Read more from Nicaragua here on Havana Times.