Police Storm Nicaragua’s La Prensa Daily, Hold its Workers

Riot police prevent access to the newspaper La Prensa, in Managua. Photo: Confidencial.

Take over occurs a day after the newspaper announced that its print edition will no longer circulate due to a “blockade of supplies” imposed by the regime.

By Confidencial

HAVANA TIMES – Under the orders of Daniel Ortega, the Nicaraguan Police seized the facilities of La Prensa newspaper, the oldest in Nicaragua. The occupation occurred at noon on Friday, August 13, a day after the newspaper’s Board of Directors announced that its print edition will no longer circulate due to a “blockade of supplies” imposed by the regime.

In its social networks, La Prensa reported that the police agents suddenly entered the newspaper, closed the gate of the main entrance, cut off internet access and electricity, turned off all the website servers and forced the workers to turn off their cell phones, so it has not been possible to corroborate how many people are inside.

Minutes after occupying the newspaper, the Police indicated—through a press release—that it began an “investigation against Editorial La Prensa and its board of directors, for the crimes of customs fraud, money, property, and assets laundering, to the detriment of the State of Nicaragua and Nicaraguan society.”

According to the police statement, the warehouses of Editorial La Prensa “remain under police custody,” after a “raid and inspection” carried out by the Directorate of Judicial Assistance (DAJ), Customs (DGA), the Attorney General’s Office (PGR) and the Public Ministry, complying with a “court order” for which it provided no further details.

The Police added that it continues “to carry out the pertinent investigative measures and will refer the case file to the relevant authorities for prosecution and ascertaining criminal responsibilities.

Police escort Juan Lorenzo Holmann, secretary of La Prensa board of directors. Photo: Confidencial.

Two hours later, five Police patrols left the building that remains closed, but from the front street a patrol is seen parked in the reception area.

The editor of the “Magazine” journal, Fabian Medina, who was present during the raid, managed to leave the building and explained that the workers were held for approximately two hours, while the manager of the newspaper, Juan Lorenzo Holmann, accompanied the police officials.

This Thursday, Holmann denounced that the newspaper has fulfilled “all the requirements and everything that the law requires us” for the importation of newsprint. He assured that the retention is “a political decision,” as happened between 2018 and 2019, when for more than 500 days, paper, plates, spare parts, and belts for the newspaper’s press were held in Customs, without any explanation.

On March 2, 2021, the influential La Prensa newspaper celebrated its 95 anniversary since its first publication.

Read more from Nicaragua here on Havana Times.