Ortega Dictatorship Takes Over the Nicaraguan Red Cross

The Nicaraguan Red Cross has been an autonomous association serving for 89 years.

The National Assembly closes the Nicaraguan Red Cross Association, and orders the creation of a new “Red Cross”, under the Ministry of Health

By Confidencial

HAVANA TIMES – The dictatorship of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo took over “all the assets” of the Nicaraguan Red Cross Association whose legal status was unanimously canceled in the National Assembly, this Wednesday, May 10, 2023. In turn, the deputies ordered the creation of a new “Red Cross”, which will be administered by the Ministry of Health (Minsa).

The Ortega legislators accuse the Red Cross Association of violating its own statutes by assisting the wounded during the 2018 civic protests. The Red Cross was one of the organizations that assisted hundreds of victims of police and paramilitary repression, given the refusal of the hospitals to care for the wounded, arguing that it was an order from Ortega’s then Minister of Health, Sonia Castro.

“In the acts that occurred in 2018 that threatened the peace and stability of the nation, some affiliates of this association acted against the principles (humanity, impartiality, neutrality) and its by laws and statutes, and the association itself transgressed the laws of the country by supporting this act of its branches,” said Ortega’s deputies.

Until now, the Nicaraguan Red Cross, which is governed by the principles of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, and which has buildings, properties, and vehicles in the different municipalities of Nicaragua, has not yet commented on the confiscation law.

According to the legislation, urgently approved by the Sandinista deputies and their allies, the new Red Cross will supposedly be an “autonomous, decentralized entity, with legal status, its own assets, indefinite duration and full capacity to acquire rights and contract obligations.

The Ortega plan justifies the transfer of the Red Cross Association to the Minsa, claiming that the entity has the regulatory powers and technical capabilities to take charge of a “new Nicaraguan Red Cross, within a Christian, socialist and solidarity model”.

Since 2018, over 3,000 non-profit organizations of all sizes and efforts have been closed down by the Ortega dictatorship in its attempt to completely liquidate Nicaraguan civil society.

CONFIDENCIAL published at the beginning of April 2023 the report “Confiscated Nicaragua: The new wave of property theft” which revealed that the dictatorship has illegally confiscated more than 150 private properties including 87 belonging to NGOs canceled on orders from Ortega and Murillo. These properties were handed over to state institutions and ministries.

The origins of the Nicaraguan Red Cross

The legislation facilitates the confiscation of the assets of the Red Cross Association, which has worked in Nicaragua for 89 years, has 28 branches throughout the country, 63 ambulances, and in 2022 provided 25,058 services, according to data published on its website.

The organization has its origins in Nicaragua because of the earthquake that shook Managua on March 31, 1931. However, it was not until three years later that it became official as a humanitarian organization, recognized by the International Committee of the Red Cross, on September 13, 1934.

It is also a member of the International Federation of National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies since October 17, 1934.

The now confiscated Red Cross Association is constituted in accordance with the Geneva conventions, of which Nicaragua is a party. “Its objective is to promote the life and health of people, to prevent and alleviate the suffering of people in all circumstances and to respect human dignity.”

They add that their humanitarian services “are provided without distinction of race, religion, social status or political creed, dedicated solely to helping people in proportion to their suffering, remedying their needs and giving priority to emergencies.”

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