Nicaraguan police arrested five well-known leaders of the Sandinista dissent, Dora Maria Tellez, one of the most critical voices in Daniel Ortega’s government, on Sunday June 13.
«Dora Maria Tellez and Ana Margarita Vigil Guardian», both leaders of the Union for Democratic Renewal (Unamos), an opposition party, were taken into custody, police said in a statement. Hours later, police reported the arrest of Unamos president Suyen Barahona Cuan and party vice-president, retired Sandinista dissident general Hugo Torres. The arrest of the former vice-minister of foreign affairs and dissident Victor Hugo Tinoco, a 68-year-old sociologist with a long career in the Sandinista struggle since 1973, was then announced in the evening by the police.
The head of American diplomacy for the Americas, Julie Chung, qualified on Twitter d’“Arbitrary” these new arrests. She called on member countries of the Organization of American States (OAS) to send “A clear signal” to the Ortega government, on the occasion of the body’s session which will be devoted to the crisis in Nicaragua on Tuesday.
Police said detainees were doing “The subject of an investigation for having committed acts undermining independence, sovereignty and self-determination, inciting foreign interference in internal affairs”, among other crimes, according to the press release.
A controversial law
In December, Nicaragua passed a controversial law entitled “Law for the Defense of the Rights of the People to Independence, Sovereignty and Self-Determination for Peace”, which punishes people who encourage foreign intervention.
Unamos, formerly known as the Sandinista Renovation Movement (MRS, center left), is made up of opponents of President Ortega, leader of the ruling Sandinista Front (FSLN, left). A dozen opposition leaders, including four presidential candidates, have been arrested by police since June 2, at the request of the Ortega government.
The first was Cristiana Chamorro, daughter of former President Violeta Barrios de Chamorro (1990-1997), accused of money laundering through a foundation promoting press freedom and bearing her mother’s name. Mme Chamorro, 67, who is under house arrest, was seen as a serious opponent for President Ortega in the November 7 election.