The Banishment of Daniel Ortega’s Political Prisoners

The La Prensa buildings when taken over in 2021 by the Ortega police.

By La Prensa (Editorial)

HAVANA TIMES – It was to be expected that the regime would banish political prisoners from Nicaragua, after or at the same time as stripping them of their status as Nicaraguans. That is exactly what the regime did in 2021 with the president of the democratic opposition party Citizens for Freedom, Mrs. Kitty Monterrey.

It was also to be expected that the Ortega regime would deport political prisoners precisely to the United States. That drastic measure was announced by Daniel Ortega on November 7, 2021, the same day that his Supreme Electoral Council proclaimed him the winner of the “elections” to exercise his fourth consecutive presidential term, the fifth of his political career.

“Those who are imprisoned there,” Ortega shouted on that occasion, “are sons of bitches of the Yankee imperialists. They should be taken there, to the United States, because they are not Nicaraguans. They stopped being Nicaraguans a long time ago. They have no homeland.” That was little veiled preview. It was only a matter of time and the right opportunity for Ortega to execute his sentence.

It should be noted that these political prisoners have not exactly been freed, only taken out of jail and sent into exile. A person cannot be truly free if they are stripped of their nationality, of the right to live in the land where they were born, and in their own country, and if they have been forcibly rendered stateless.

Nevertheless, it is better for them and their families to be sent to the US rather than to remain imprisoned under inhuman conditions. Even for those who were incommunicado under house arrest, banishment is preferable to continuing in those precarious and agonizing circumstances.

What we must regret is that Monsignor Rolando Alvarez and some other political prisoners were not taken out of jail and sent into exile, which, we repeat, in any case is better than being in prison.

Additionally, the until-yesterday-political-prisoners will be able to recover their dignified condition as Nicaraguan citizens and their corresponding rights when democracy returns to Nicaragua. This is inevitable. It may take some time, but at some point, democracy will return. The banishment imposed on these Nicaraguan sisters and brothers will not be perpetual because the current regime will not be eternal, as no regime has ever been throughout history.

Currently there is speculation about what the US government will give the Nicaraguan regime for letting political prisoners out of jail and sending them to the US. But for now, only they can know. What is real, concrete, and important is that political prisoners have been released from prison and, although some remain in prison, a new political situation opens or could open in Nicaragua.

The US ambassador in Managua, Kevin Sullivan, stated that the Nicaraguan government’s decision regarding the political prisoners was unilateral, meaning there has been no agreement with the United States. However, Secretary of State Antony Blinken himself said in an official statement that “this decision by the Government of Nicaragua marks a constructive step to address human rights abuses in the country and opens the door to more dialogue between the United States and Nicaragua on issues of concern.”

Hopefully this will be the case. For the good of Nicaragua, and in particular for the Nicaraguan people.

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