The River Foundation was stripped of 317.3 hectares (784 acres) of land that were being used for reforestation and natural regeneration.
By Ana Lucia Cruz (Confidencial)
HAVANA TIMES – On Monday, August 24, the “River Foundation” (Fundacion del Rio) denounced the “arbitrary” confiscation “beyond the margins of the law” of six of their properties. The confiscation was carried out by the regime of Daniel Ortega, through the Office of the Attorney General and the Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources (MARENA).
In December 2018, the environmental foundation was stripped of its legal non-profit status, together with another eight organizations of civil society, under the accusation that they were “promoting campaigns” and financing groups for “acts to destabilize the country”. This occurred within the context of the massive 2018 protests against the Ortega regime.
On this occasion, government attacked what the Foundation considers not only their property, but also their “patrimony”. The six areas confiscated include two rural plots with a total of 317.3 hectares (784 acres) that have been set aside for reforestation and natural regeneration, and the installations of the radio station Radio Voz Juvenil [“Young Voices Radio”]. The other four properties are conservation areas where the reserves of El Quebracho, Aguas Frescas, Lapa Verde and the Biological Station at Mancarroncito are located.
Five of the properties that were “arbitrarily” confiscated from the River Foundation are located within the municipality known as El Castillo. The Biological Station of Macarroncito is located on the Isle of Solentiname in the municipality of San Carlos. Both townships are in the department of Rio San Juan in the far south of Nicaragua.
The environmental organization explained in their statement that the process of confiscation began last July when functionaries from MARENA, backed by the police and in coordination with the Attorney General’s office, stationed themselves on the properties, installing signs and the flag of the governing Sandinista Front party.
During said confiscation, the Foundation adds, political operators of the Sandinista Front in El Castillo, who were involved in land takeovers on these properties, were also forced out.
Institutions silent about the River Foundation’s demands
The environmental organization reported that it had attempted to obtain an explanation from the institutions involved in the confiscations, but up until now they haven’t received any reply.
Amaru Ruiz, president and legal representative of the organization requested a virtual meeting with Sumaya Castillo Lara, the Minister of MARENA, but has likewise received “no response”. Along the same lines, the Foundation filed a letter of notification at the Rio San Juan delegations of the Attorney General’s Office and MARENA, where they reiterated that the confiscation of the six properties was “in violation of the country’s laws”, and requested “that you abstain from continuing with these actions.”
The River Foundation asserts that despite the “arbitrary and illegal” decree which took away their legal status, “the patrimony (the six properties) continues to be under the legal control of the organization and their Board of Directors.”
For these reasons the organization warns that this latest action of the Ortega regime “represents a new violation of the Constitution and of human rights such as the Freedom of Association and the right to private property.”