Rosario Murillo Launches a Tirade Against Journalists

Nicaraguan government media photo of VP Rosario Murillo.

Speaking on official media, Nicaragua’s vice president lashed out at journalists, saying their “pens are full of hate”.

By EFE / 100% Noticias

HAVANA TIMES – The Nicaraguan government launched new verbal attacks on journalists this past Friday. Vice President Rosario Murillo accused them of “inventing anything to seed terror”. She called them “malign”, “hypocrites”, “destroyers”, “criminals”, and “communications terrorists”. She then thanked God that there are “only a few miserable examples left”.

In a tirade broadcast over official and family media channels, Murillo accused journalists of having “pens full of hate”. She said that the government of her husband – Sandinista Daniel Ortega – sees them in the same light.

“That’s how we see them, and that’s how we repudiate them,” was Murillo’s verdict. In addition to the above epithets, she called them, “chachalacas” [a noisy bird] and “chatterbox magpies”.

“Every day the chachalacas and chatterbox magpies invent any old thing to seed terror in the people. What human quality do chachalacas and chatterbox magpies exhibit? If it’s not one thing, it’s something else, but they’re always trying to instill fear,” Murillo raged. Besides being vice president, she also coordinates the Council for Communications and Citizenry.

“Our people know how they lie, our people know what they’re like: evil-doers, hypocrites, destroyers, criminals, terrorists, and communications terrorists as well,” she continued.

“Those voices full of evil”

Murillo is the wife of Nicaraguan president Daniel Ortega, who’s currently seeking a fourth consecutive mandate in elections scheduled for November 7th.

In her extended diatribe, Murillo concentrated her accusations on the non-official media outlets, calling them “spaces of mass destruction”. “All those media spaces have a sole perspective, a sole imperialist and colonialist focus that responds to the interests and designs of the colonialists and the imperialists.”

Murillo’s declarations took place after news that a third well-known journalist had left Nicaragua this week, out of fear of losing his freedom amid the current wave of detentions. The government’s arbitrary arrests and imprisonment have targeted a number of opposition leaders, including two journalists who had announced their intentions of running for president.

“Thank God, it’s coming to an end, and only a few miserable beings are left, whose sense and heart – if they happen to have any – will lead them to lower the volume and turn off those voices full of evil,” the vice president asserted.

Three more journalists flee Nicaragua

On June 24, journalist Julio Lopez, director of the digital site Onda Local [Local Wave], posted the news that he had left Nicaragua as the “only way to preserve” his life and liberty.

Journalist Carlos Fernando Chamorro, one of Nicaragua’s most critical independent voices, also fled the country and went into exile for the second time in the last three years. Chamorro, who was recently awarded the prestigious Ortega y Gasset Journalism Award, left the country with his wife, “to safeguard our liberty”, he explained later. He did so after his house was raided by night with the intention of arresting him.

Sergio Marin Cornavaca, director of the digital site La Mesa Redonda (“the Roundtable”), similarly stated he found himself “forced to leave the country, due to direct threats from the regime.”

The organization Otras Miradas [“Other Views”] is an alliance of independent media from Central America and Mexico. The group denounced what it called “different forms of persecution of Nicaraguan journalism by the Ortega government”. They noted: “There are ever more journalists going into exile.”

Dozens summoned to the Public Prosecutor’s Office

The police arrested journalist Miguel Mendoza on Monday night, accusing him of actions that undermine the sovereignty of Nicaragua.

Mendoza is a sports commentator who posted political comments on his social media sites, which have thousands of followers. Most of the comments were critical of the government, although Mendoza himself doesn’t belong to any political party.

The Prosecutor’s office is also investigating the Univision correspondent in Nicaragua, Maria Lilly Delgado, and journalists Lourdes Arroliga and Guillermo Medrano as part of the case they’ve opened against the Violeta Barrios de Chamorro Foundation. The Foundation has been charged with supposed crimes of abusive management and ideological falsehood, both in connection with alleged money laundering of property and assets.

The Prosecution has already summoned some thirty journalists to offer declarations in this case.

Meanwhile, the Nicaraguan police continue holding five presidential candidates. Arturo Cruz, Felix Maradiaga, Juan Sebastian Chamorro and Miguel Mora are in the infamous El Chipote jail, while Cristiana Chamorro is under house arrest. All, including Cristiana, are being held incommunicado, accused of “treason to the nation”.

The imprisonment of opponents and the harassment of journalists comes at a time when there are only four and a half months left until the general elections in Nicaragua, scheduled for November 7th. Current president Daniel Ortega, in power since 2007, is seeking another reelection.

Read more from Nicaragua here.