Ortega Orders Arrest of Business Leaders

Michael Healy and Álvaro Vargas, president and vice president of Cosep. Photo: Confidencial

Healy was kidnapped by the Police after leaving the Prosecutor’s Office where he had been summoned to testify. Vargas was arrested with a raid on his home.

By Iván Olivares (Confidencial)

HAVANA TIMES – The leadership of the Nicaraguan Superior Council of Private Enterprise (Cosep), made up of its president Michael Healy and his vice president, Alvaro Vargas, were abducted Thursday morning by the Police of the Daniel Ortega regime.

Healy was kidnapped with violence, confirmed a Cosep source, while Vargas’s arrest was confirmed by the National Police, in a statement in which they indicated that both were being investigated for the alleged crime of money laundering, and for attempting against national sovereignty, in accordance with [the catch-all] Law 1055.

Healy’s abduction occurred a few minutes after leaving the Public Ministry, where he had been summoned to testify in a case that was not specified in the summons, signed by the prosecutor Heydi Ramírez. They also detained the driver of his vehicle, Wilber Alvarado Molina.

Parallel to his arrest, a dozen police officers appeared at his house, in Residencial Las Colinas, to carry out a raid, as they have done with other detainees and accused, including journalists, and social, union and business leaders, and even students. [They routinely proceed to steal whatever they please without leaving a record of what they take.]

Healy’s presence at the Public Ministry lasted around ten minutes, in what appeared to be a mere protext for his abduction, although the night before dozens of police officers remained in the vicinity of his home, perhaps to prevent him from seeking refuge in the US Embassy, a country from which the now kidnapped president of COSEP is a dual citizen.

Upon leaving the office of the Prosecutor’s Office and before his abduction, Healy limited himself to informing that “they rescheduled my appointment”, without answering the questions of the journalists, who wanted to know the Business organization’s position would be in the face of the deterioration of the situation in the country, or if he was afraid of a possible arrest.

Cosep responds to the detentions

Shortly after the abductions, the business leadership issued a statement in which they noted, “the arbitrary and illegal detention by the National Police of our president, Michael Healy Lacayo and the first vice president of the Cosep, and President of the Union of Agricultural Producers of Nicaragua (Upanic), Alvaro Javier Vargas Duarte”.

“These repressive actions by the Government show a direct attack on the Superior Council of Private Enterprise and its main leaders, which does not contribute to the peace and security that all citizens yearn for… they violate the fundamental rights established in the Nicaraguan Constitution, and they must stop immediately,” added the statement from the business umbrella association.

Healy, who has been granted precautionary measures by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights since August 3, 2018, is also president of the Federation of Private Entities of Central America, Panama and the Dominican Republic, (Fedepricap).

Shortly after his capture, the Civic Alliance, of which Cosep is a part in the person of its former president, Jose Adan Aguerri, expressed its solidarity with Healy, demanding that “his physical integrity be respected” and demanding “his immediate release. We reject the persecution and harassment of the regime against Michael Healy Lacayo” the Alliance said in a statement.

“The Nicaraguan people continue to suffer the attack on its institutionality and the rule of law, created to restrict freedom of thought, right of association and participation of organized society, in violation of rights established in our Constitution. No more repression!” closes the text.

The political party ¡Unamos!, also denounced in its profile on the social network Twitter, “the kidnapping of the president of Cosep, Michael Healy, and the search of his house. It is a new repressive onslaught of the dictatorship. We demand respect for his physical integrity and demand his release.”.

After the capture, the Cosep board of directors, made up of representatives of the associated chambers, began a cycle of consultations to decide its course of action, especially given the fact that its vice president, Álvaro Vargas, was also summoned to testify to the Public Ministry, but he was arrested before the time of the summons was up.

Read more from Nicaragua here on Havana Times.