Ortega’s “Committees” Threaten Citizens with Prison or Exile

Police harass citizens reported as opposing the government.

Police officers and members of the neighborhood CPC committees also threatened citizens with confiscating their houses.

By La Prensa

HAVANA TIMES – The persecution and repression by the regime of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo against Nicaraguans considered “opponents or critics” does not cease. In fact, it has intensified. Now officers of the Police and members of the Citizen Power Councils (Consejos del Poder Ciudadano-CPC) harass and threaten citizens by offering them prison or exile, reported the Center for Inter-American Legal Assistance in Human Rights (CALIDH).

Danny Ramirez-Ayerdiz, Executive Secretary of CALIDH, explained to La Prensa that in recent days, the organization had received more than ten complaints from people in Nicaragua who recounted that “police officers, who present themselves as intelligence officers in municipalities remote from cities are harassing them because they come to their homes and force them to go into exile or be thrown into prison. There is a new escalation of repression.”

The human rights defender pointed out that the dictatorship is currently “forcing people it considers dangerous to leave Nicaragua. They did not have enough with the thousands of Nicaraguans who have fled. This tells us that we have a real state of terror because people feel they are in line to be the next victim of detention or any other form of violence.”

Desperate Nicaraguans

Ramirez-Ayerdiz noted that members of the CPC in the neighborhoods also threaten people that they are going to report them to the Police and the Attorney General’s Office (PGR), repressive apparatuses that in recent years have been used by the Ortega dictatorship.

“The CPC threatens them that they will take away their houses out of pure vengeance —for everything that happened in 2018— and for the excessive power the regime has given to its repressive structures in the neighborhoods and communities. The violence exercised by the CPCs is more extreme in the municipalities far away from cities,” he mentioned.

Ramirez also pointed out that the complaints they have received as an international organization show that Nicaraguans in the country “feel totally helpless, desperate, terrified and afraid.”

He recounted for fear of communicating with any organization that is close to the country, for example, in Costa Rica, people find themselves in need “to communicate with organizations that are further away, and we are one of those. This is of great concern to us because of the scale of terrorism that has been imposed in the country.”

Hostile context and persecution

What has been documented occurs in the hostile context that Nicaragua is experiencing due to the intensification of the repression by the dictatorship after the outbreak of anti-government protests in April 2018.

Last weekend, amid a massive police deployment, the regime ordered to send eight priests to the cells of the Directorate of Judicial Assistance (DAJ), better known as the new Chipote. Seven of the priests were under house arrest at the Our Lady of Fatima National Seminary, and Father Cristobal Gadea, from Jinotega, was detained at the police headquarters in Plaza El Sol, as confirmed to La Prensa by sources close to the Episcopal Conference of Nicaragua (CEN).

In the second week of October, this newspaper also verified that the persecution against lay people of the Catholic Church is evident in Jalapa, Ocotal, and San Juan del Rio Coco, where parishioners have been detained, their dwellings broken into, and others arrested and released under threats and the obligation to sign in weekly at the police stations of their respective municipalities.

In Ocotal, La Prensa confirmed that the parishioners Salvador Paguaga (in charge of social networks of Nuestra Senora de Asuncion parish) and Maria Asuncion Salgado Duarte, were captured in their homes after the arrest of the priest of the Catholic Church were they both congregated.

Read more from Nicaragua here on Havana Times.