US Senators Urge Protection for Nicaraguans

Ortega government opponents and Journalists in particular

Police repressioin is the daily bread for anyone who speaks out against the government of Daniel Ortega.

In a letter to US Ambassador to Nicaragua, Kevin Sullivan, they express their “concern” about censorship in the 2021 election year.

By Juan Carlos Bow (Confidencial)

HAVANA TIMES – Ten US senators sent a letter to the US Ambassador to Nicaragua, Kevin Sullivan. They request he “take advantage” of all “diplomatic tools” to guarantee the safety of journalists, civil society and political leaders in Nicaragua.

In the same letter, dated December 15, they expressed their concern over some “recent” actions by the regime to “censor” the independent press and “restrict” the activities of opposition leaders, in the face of the future 2021 elections.

The letter was signed by senators from both parties. Democrats Bob Menendez, high-ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Ben Cardin, Dick Durbin, Patrick Leahy, Tim Kaine and Chris Murphy. Republicans signing were Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Bill Cassidy and John Cornyn.  

The US legislators drew attention to the approval of the Foreign Agents Law and the Special Cybercrimes Law. These “represent a clear attempt to repress political opponents and restrict citizens mobilization.”

Both laws were approved in October by the Ortega majority and its allies in the National Assembly. “We are alarmed by these efforts to provide a legal justification to harass and criminalize any entity that criticizes the Ortega Government,” noted the senators.

Harassment of the media

“The enactment of these laws is very disturbing. Especially the fact that harassment of independent media outlets in Nicaragua has increased dramatically in recent years,” they affirm.

The senators recall that, since April 2018, “Nicaraguans have been witnessing the arbitrary arrest of journalists and media censorship.” Confidencial, Esta Semana, 100% Noticias, and Nicavision Canal 12 are some of the victims.

“That year, journalists documenting protests across the country faced intimidation, theft of personal property and assault. In a tragic event, journalist Angel Gahona was assassinated while doing a live broadcasting of the events of April 2018,” they add.

“In closing, we reaffirm our solidarity with the Nicaraguan people. Freedom of the press and freedom of expression are an integral part of the preservation of democracy. We call on the Ortega government to respect the democratic ideals and fundamental human rights of all Nicaraguans,” the senators conclude.

Confrontational speeches

In recent public appearances, Daniel Ortega has aimed harsh attacks against the governments of the European Union (EU) and the United States. He accused -without evidence- the US administration of “plotting” with Nicaraguan opponents to “generate a social outbreak similar to that of April 2018” and place a president in US service in the 2021 elections.

“They conspire with embassies, seeking to reunite all the terrorists, coup-plotters, those who brutally murdered and burned in April of 2018. Trying to unite them and provide them with resources, so that in the 2021 elections they can put in a president at the service of imperialist policy,” said Ortega, on December 11.

Meanwhile, on Monday, December 14, he said the USA and the EU have “fascist” governments and were going “towards Hitler’s route.”

Read more from Nicaragua here.