All posts by Winds of Peace

Professor Gabriel Putoy: “Commissioner Avellán hit me in the forehead with an AK 47”

Monimbó, Masaya has always been a Sandinista stronghold, so it was somewhat surprising when it was one of the neighborhoods that most strongly protested the government´s brutal response to the protests in April 2018. This interview recounts the experience of one of the recently released political prisoners from that neighborhood. While the specific details of his confinement differ, the general treatment described mirrors the stories of other recently released prisoners. 

Professor Gabriel Putoy: “Commissioner Avellán hit me in the forehead with an AK 47”

Published in Artículo 66, online magazine, July 2, 2019

[ see original Spanish at https://www.articulo66.com/2019/07/02/profesor-gabriel-putoy-el-comisionado-avellan-me-dio-un-golpe-en-la-frente-con-un-ak-47/ ]

After torturing him and convicting him, the regime proposed that he be reconciled, promising to give him back his job and pay him his entire salary.

Gabriel Leónidas Putoy Cano, 41 years of age, is a Mathematics professor, from the indigenous neighborhood of Monimbó, Masaya, who was abducted for eight months and 25 days in the dungeons of the Jorge Navarro penitentiary system, known as “La Modelo” in Tipitapa, after he was captured on September 15, 2018, accused by the dictatorship of the crimes of aggravated theft, simple kidnapping, minor injuries, torture and interference with public services.

Putoy was sentenced to 47 years and eight months in jail, after the justice of the regime found him guilty, and put him on the list of “terrorists” and enemies of the government of Daniel Ortega. Nevertheless, on June 10th, he was freed under the new Amnesty Law.

Purgatory at the hands of the dictator

Professor Putoy was abducted by Orteguista anti-riot police and paramilitaries on Saturday, September 15 of last year, when he had taken refuge in a safe house in the San Fernando neighborhood in the city of flowers [Masaya]. “I knew that they were out looking for me, but days before I had gone to my home to leave a cake for my son, because he had a birthday, I suppose that they followed me, then within two days the police and paramilitaries came to the house where I was and captured me,” narrated Putoy.

Like an inferno and purgatory, is how Professor Putoy describes his capture and the months that he was abducted, where he denounced that he was subjected to torture and taunts on the part of the Orteguista agents, who were commanded by the Commissioner and “beloved native son of Masaya”, Ramón Avellán.

“They captured me at noon, then they took me to the police station in Masaya, there they began to kick me, they beat my entire body, Commissioner Ramón Avellán said to me, “Uh-huh son of a bitch, do you think that this has ended? This has not ended yet, son of a bitch, it has barely begun, and the worst of who you are, son of a bitch professor, don´t you realize what you are teaching your students?” Then he began to kick me and he asked an officer to lend him this weapon, and I was just praying to God, I was saying that if it was my time to die, that let it be soon, all of sudden I felt a hard blow to the forehead, Commissioner Avellán had hit me with an AK 47”, the very shaken, now ex-political prisoner said.

According to Gabriel Putoy the torture by the repressive agents of the regime continued, who kept him naked, from the time of his capture until they transferred him to the old Office of Judicial Support, known as “El Chipote” in Managua.

“When they took me out of the office where they tortured me, and officer said that I should take off my clothes, but I couldn´t do it, because in addition to being badly beaten, I was handcuffed, so a policemen ripped off my clothes and I was left naked, then they transferred me in a white car, the driver diverted the vehicle through Tipitapa and the officials were kicking me, the driver from time to time was punching me in the face.”

“They took me to a desolate place, they put a hood on me and they began to kick me; for awhile they quit beating me and I was no longer hearing anything, then I head someone say, “Don´t bring him here, because I have two already, another one was saying: “Tell the boss”, then a man came up to me and told me, “you saved yourself, you son of a bitch, because you are going to El Chipote.” I got to El Chipote at seven pm and the inferno continued there, they beat me and asked me about weapons and that I tell them who was financing me, but I did not know anything, so they were worse than the torture,” said Putoy.

They proposed that he reconcile himself with the dictatorship.

After being tortured, convicted and his human rights abused, Professor Putoy revealed that three days before being freed, the Director of the “La Modelo” penitentiary system, Julio Orozco, proposed to him that he reconcile himself with the regime of Daniel Ortega.

“On Friday June 7, the director of La Modelo, Julio Orozco, came to the cell where I was and said to me, “Reconcile yourself with the government, everything will be returned to you, if you are fighting for your salary, well everything will be given back to you, even the months that you were here they are going to pay you for, we only want you to reconcile yourself with the Comandante, because if you don´t, you are going to rot in jail. But I said to him that no, because I knew that with the help of God I was going to get out, because in addition, it was not easy all that I experienced, and the last thing that they did to me, after the death of Eddy Montes, that they nearly killed me, and now they wanted to buy me off, never”.

He has not received his severance pay

After nearly of month of having gotten out of the dungeons of the dictatorship, the Mathematics teacher has not received his severance pay as a teacher. He worked for the Ministry of Education (MINED) for 19 years.

“Last August (a month before his abduction) I went to the school where I was working in Masaya and they told me that my salary was withheld, that I had to go to the Ministry of Education. In the Ministry, the provincial delegate, Soraya Amador, told me that I had to make a phone call, but I told her that she was not fooling me, because the call that I was going to make was to the Police, so she ordered them to close the door to the office so I could not leave, but I was able to get out in a hurry. Today I continue to demand the 53,222 córdobas of my severance pay which by law I have the right to, because it is the fruit of my work, “ concluded Putoy.

Professor Gabriel Putoy is one of dozens of political prisoners in Nicaragua who continue demanding that the dictatorship respect their rights and stop the harassment and repression.

 

 

Social Inequality

By any reckoning, any resolution to the current crisis will  still leave a very polarized society. In fact current government pronouncements fuel the polarization by continuing to refer to the opposition as coup supporters, many of whom were actually FSLN members shocked at the willingness of the government to kill their own people.

But another reason for the polarization – and one of the key arguments the government makes to garner support – is that it  has implemented, and continues to implement, policies that benefit the poor majorities, i.e. building public parks, investing in health care infrastructure, rural roads, providing subsidies for production, etc. Any glimpse at the official website el 19 Digital provides daily updated lists of examples. The unspoken but obvious question the government poses to the population is whether another government would implement such policies. 

This article stresses how important it is that any future government  address this key issue. The position of the opposition is that the current  “pro-poor” policies of this government are forms of political patronage, financed with  money siphoned from the Venezuela oil deal that Ortega used to enrich his family, and has also used to buy popular support. Therefore some of them argue that such policies should be terminated by any responsible future government, because in fact they are unsustainable. While this may seem a logical argument, if the end result is that the poor feel abandoned again, it will only feed the polarization.

The opposition now legitimately asks the question where the government is getting the money to finance all the police and paramilitary activity. But if a future government is not able to find the resources to respond to the social inequality, it will be asked a similar question about their own increased spending on “security”. Because if history is a gauge, what is saved by cutting social spending, ends up getting spent on social control.

Social Inequality

By Oscar René Vargas, published in electronic newsletter Artículo 66

June 30, 2019

[see original Spanish at https://www.articulo66.com/2019/06/30/la-desigualdad-social/ ]

If the people below move, those above will fall.

  1. The social inequality that prevails in Nicaragua has reached such levels that it conspires against social harmony, the environment, the security and development of the country.
  2. The social inequality is also violence on the part of the higher social strata toward those “below”, and every day moves us as a country away from the fruits of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
  3. Important changes have only happened in the spheres of those above, the lives of those below continues not to be of interest the powerful.
  4. This growing inequality is not sustainable, and the way to attack it, the master key, is: employment, decent, well paid, productive work with rights and social protections.
  5. The phenomenon of child labor has its origins in the inequality, poverty and extreme poverty that leads families to send their youngest members out to work, as well as the different forms of domestic violence that force minors to earn their own living.
  6. The discrepancy between the volume of services provided and the meager health results have several explanations of a social, economic and political order, but the deficient and disfunctional public [health] system has a very direct influence with direct repercussions on the most vulnerable sectors.
  7. Also undeniable are the different forms of corruption that have grown like a cancer with multiple metastases in all the health sector to the detriment of the poor.
  8. We are immersed in a mind-boggling and monumental corruption of the Ortega-Murillo government that has lost even the smallest trace of honesty in the so called mafia of power.
  9. All of this are effective obstacles to health care services, and get translated into social inequities and inequalities.
  10. The social inequality must be the future of the country agenda from here to 2030. It is where we should go because the dominant, authoritarian and despotic style of development is not sustainable.
  11. Equality has to be in the center of the future economic policy of a progressive government, because what has increased is the disparity, the inequality between the one who has the most and the one who has the least; the inequality of income, distribution of wealth, opportunities and access to public goods.
  12. In the future the logic of zero corruption has to be implemented, zero cronyism, zero nepotism; eliminate all that blight of the national political culture.
  13. To effectively fight against inequality it is important to close off the tax evasion of big capital and take the case to a national debate.
  14. The country needs a redistribution of income and wealth, above all of profits.
  15. A national debate that would allow us to reach a consensus around a solution to the current imbalance in the distribution of income, social inequality, access to health care, type of education, as well as the appropriation of wealth.
  16. Therefore, the progressive government has to have as its priority objectives: improving equity, reducing social inequality and poverty.
  17. In other words, being in favor of a key point: not imposing poverty salaries as a mechanism for business productivity and bloated profits for capital.
  18. If we should learn anything from these hours of struggle and indignation, it is that without a social and political organization of citizens, the adversities will become a permanent and recurring tragedy from which no one will be exempt.

San José, Costa Rica, June 30, 2019

“Sanctions are the only language that Ortega and Murillo understand”

This interview of the Director of Human Rights Watch was done on the release of their report on repression and torture in Nicaragua. It is significant because it came out right before the Nica Act demanded sanctions against Nicaragua if there was no progress by the Nicaraguan government  on prosecuting human rights abusers and corruption. It also came out days before the General Assembly of the OAS would look at applying the Democratic Charter to Nicaragua for similar reasons. 

“Sanctions are the only language that Ortega and Murillo understand”

by Carlos F. Chamorro in Confidencial, June 20, 2019

[see original Spanish at https://confidencial.com.ni/sanciones-es-el-unico-lenguaje-que-entienden-ortega-y-murillo/ ]

Hours after Human Rights Watch presented in Washington a report on the repression and torture against the freedom of expression in Nicaragua this Wednesday, in Managua and Masaya the Police repressed and detained citizens for protesting.

This police State merciless with civil protest and the attempts of the Ortega-Murillo regime to mislead national and international opinion about the fulfillment of the agreements in the dialogue table, are some of the reasons that moved José Miguel Vivanco, Director for the Americas of HRW, to vigorously demand the United States, Canada and Latin American democracies to “redouble sanctions” against Managua.

The HRW report proposes applying individual sanctions against the members of the chain of command of the National Police: its Supreme Commander, President Daniel Ortega; the ex Director, Aminta Granera; the current Director, Francisco Díaz, and generals Ramón Avellán, Assistant Director; Jaime Vanegas, Inspector General; Luis Pérez Olivas, Director of the Judicial Support Office (DAJ also known as El Chipote); and Justo Pastor Urbina, Director of the Special Operations Office (DOEP).

Vivanco stated that these sanctions “that freeze pocketbooks” worry authoritarian regimes, but he also highlighted that “It is the only language that they understand.”

“If the international community stops, or lets itself be confused by the recent release of prisoners who should never have been in prison, there are no possibilities that an improvement would result in human rights and public liberties, much less a transition to democracy”, warned Vivanco.

In this wide ranging interview offered to the program Esta Noche, he analyzes the principal findings of the report titled “Crackdown in Nicaragua: Torture, ill treatment and Prosecutions of protestors and opponents.”

This report analyzes the pattern of the repressive methods and is based on more than 70 interviews, and an exhaustive study of 13 political prisoners who were tortured, and some of the doctors who treated them. What is its principal conclusion on the situation of Nicaragua?

This is a study done in Nicaragua. We have been able to enter Nicaragua, to go around the country and gather direct testimony from the victims, their relatives, doctors and civil society experts. On the basis of that information and testimonies, we have arrived at the conclusion that the regime of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo are directly responsible for the commission of serious and massive violations of fundamental rights. These violations have been committed by police agents and highly armed criminals who have a license to shoot and kill.

The people who have survived the murders, or those who have been left seriously wounded, have been arbitrarily detained by the regime. They have not had the possibility of defending themselves before an independent tribunal, exercise their basic rights. Many of them have been the subject of brutal and abhorrent torture.

The torture that we have been able to document are extremely cruel. They include sexual rape, removing fingernails from those detained, electric shock, brutal beatings, asphyxiation to the point of killing the detainees…really they are the very practices of the dictatorships of the sixties that governed the southern cone of Latin America. Those of Pinochet.

Is there proof of these tortures that you have pointed out?

Yes, there is. We gathered the proof in the report. We are fortunate to have the testimony of doctors, and not just the victims and witnesses who have supported us in the preparation of this report. Doctors who in some cases we have had to protect their identity, and who in other cases have had to leave the country. Several doctors told us, and it was information consistent with several localities, that there was an order issued by the regime at the highest level prohibiting especially the doctors in public hospitals, but also in private ones, to assist and treat victims of the repression. Something really unheard of that shows the level of cruelty that this regime is willing to reach.

The allegation of the regime is that they reacted to an attempted coup, and that on the other hand abuses were also committed by the protestors against the police and the partisans of the Government. What criteria does the report have about these allegations?

There is no evidence that we have been able to gather, credible evidence, that would pass a minimal level of reasonability and seriousness, that would show that an initiative of a coup was in play here. Under no circumstance can one justify the type of atrocities that Murillo and Ortega are responsible for, as well as the hierarchs of the party in power, and particularly the highest authorities of the police of Nicaragua. There is no possibility of justifying before any type of serious, impartial international body that a State would end up committing these type of atrocities to protect itself from an imminent coup. But there is no evidence that that has occurred in Nicaragua.

The arguments of the regime are for propaganda purposes. Typical of a tyranny. That abuses were also committed against the police, there is no doubt about that. We have serious information that reveals the death of police offers during some confrontations.

They Urge International Sanctions

You propose that the international community be called to apply sanctiopns, principally individual ones against those responsible for the repression. Why? Is there evidence that sanctions in individual cases like Nicaragua might produce the results that are sought, establishing justice, truth and ending the repression?

A totalitarian regime like what Nicaraguan is suffering today is, usually, very sensitive to sanctions that are directed at freezing pocketbooks. Because what it deals with is punishing the corrupt people who have stolen from the national coffers. And since those who are governing Nicaragua have done it for many years, without being accountable to anyone, in a system of government with complete concentration, where there is no independent oversight over the use of public funds, the fact that the United States, Canada, the European Union and some of the most important democracies of the region would freeze the assets of the hierarchs of the regime and their relatives and their front men, and at the same time cancel their visas, we know that that worries them.

We believe it is time to redouble and duplicate the sanctions. That is why we are offering a list headed by Daniel Ortega as the Supreme Commander of the Police, an entity that has shown no mercy with grotesque cruelty toward disarmed civilians; vulnerable people in different places in Nicaragua. It is a Police force that Daniel Ortega directs. And therefore he, along with other police authorities, should be the object of these sanctions. That they be replicated by the European Union and democracies of Latin America.

The government of the United States in previous sanctions already applied them to Daniel Ortega´s wife, Vice President Rosario Murillo, to one of her sons, Laureano Ortega, and also to the current chief of police, the treasurer of the party and the administrator of the Albanisa funds, Francisco López, now HRW proposes sanctioning President Ortega. What consequences does it have that a State with which Nicaragua has diplomatic relations would sanction Ortega?

Legally it is possible that a democratic and sovereign State, for reasons linked to corruption and the violation of fundamental rights, might do so. It is acceptable that someone like Daniel Ortega would be included in that list. In our opinion this is the only language that Ortega and Murillo understand. It is time to redouble the pressure. If the international community quits, or is distracted, or lets itself be confused by the recent liberation of prisoners who should never have been in prison, and allows itself to be manipulated by the propaganda of the regime, there are no chances that an improvement would be produced in terms of human rights and public freedoms, nor much less a transition to democracy.

This transition should be accompanied in any negotiation by strong and unequivocal sanctions from the world community.

How do you evaluate what happened yesterday in Managua, when the time frame ended that Ortega himself had accepted for definitively freeing all the political prisoners? The government says that it already complied because it freed some prisoners from an agreed upon list with the OAS, the Vatican and the Civic Alliance. But the Civic Alliance says that they have not complied because there are 86 prisoners left, and the police state prevails. What can be expected from the international community?

Much more can be expected from the international community. Here there are full judicial responsibilities that should be exercised by the international community. On a multilateral level as well as bilaterally. In this sense the OAS has a role to play, and in fact there is a General Assembly in Medellín where we expect that the issue of Nicaragua will be on the agenda, and not just that, but the application of the Democratic Charter with direct sanctions against the regime.

You ask me what can be expected from the government in these negotiations. I would say very little. It is a duplicitous regime that manipulates national and international opinion. In addition it is a regime that represses those who bravely challenge it in the streets and churches. Many of those who have been freed continue connected procedurally to a fraudulent process. Many are freed but detained in their own homes.

The proposal to quit financing the Police

There are another two proposals in the Human Rights Watch Report. One is about the proposal that the European Union and the Central American Integration Bank end the financial relationship that they have with the Police. And the other is the invocation of the convention against torture of which Nicaragua is a signatory. With these two cases, can processes and investigations and penal processes be opened in light of these crimes?

In international law there are solid principles and precedents that allow for the exercise of universal jurisdiction if some of those responsible for the repression in Nicaragua are found under the jurisdiction of a State that is respectful of and has signed international commitments on matters of human rights. That path exists and we call on the member states of the European Union, the OAS, the United States and Canada to take advantage of any opportunity to begin a penal type process for the atrocities committed. Some of these cited authorities of the regime have direct responsibilities. This is an important path.

In terms of the financing for the police, we have discovered with this investigation that the police budget is maintained to a large extent on international aid. The European Union provided the Police last year $1.2 million dollars as part of a donation. We have tried unsuccessfully to find out whether the European Union is going to continue contributing resources to the Police. We have spoken with the authorities at the highest level, and we have not been able to figure out the response. We do not understand what their position is. The responses of the European Union are ambiguous. We hope that the political debate that this report generates would force the bureaucrats of the European Union to make a clear and firm decision about suspending any type of financing for an entity that has stood out for its repressive conduct.

Press Release of the Governmentof National Unity and Reconciliation Tuesday, June 18, 2019

The Nicaraguan Government with this press release states its position that it has fully  with the prisoner release commitment it made in the negotiating table with the Civic Alliance

Press Release of the Government of National Unity and Reconciliation

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

[see original Spanish at https://www.el19digital.com/articulos/ver/titulo:91258-nota-de-prensa-del-gobierno-de-reconciliacion-y-unidad-nacional ]

Government of National Unity and Reconciliation

United Nicaragua Triumphs

The Nicaraguan State makes known to our People and the International Community:

  1. That in the Session held on March 27 of this year 2019, through the Delegations present in the Negotiating Table, the Freedom was agreed of People involved in the violent events since April 20189, in accordance with agreed upon Lists.
  2. That these agreed upon Lists were turned in and reviewed with the Representatives in Nicaragua of the International Committee of the Red Cross (CICR).
  3. That the Apostolic Nuncio Mons. Waldemar Stanilaw Sommertag, Representative of His Holiness Pope Francis in Nicaragua, and Luis Angel Rosadilla, Special Adviser to the General Secretary of the OAS, were Witnesses of the Consensus around those Lists that were turned over to the CICR.
  4. That on Saturday, June 8, the National Assembly discussed and approved a Amnesty Law that made possible the liberation of all these People, on Monday and Tuesday June 10 and 11 this month of June, with the Commitment of No Repetition.
  5. That the Witnesses Luis Angel Rosadilla and Mons. Andrea Piccioni, in Representation of the Nuncio, as well as the Delegates of the CICR, participated, accompanying and verifying, as Observers of the liberation, in accordance with the agreed upon Lists. The CICR on Monday June 10, and all on Tuesday, June 11.
  6. That on reaching the date committed to by the Nicaraguan State and the Government of National Unity and Reconciliation, all these People enjoy Freedom, with the Commitment of Non Repetition, according to what is stipulated in the Amnesty Law No. 996.
  7. We the Nicaraguan State and the Government of National Unity and Reconciliation have complied with our People and the International Community, in accordance with the Commitments contracted that are explained in this Press Release.

Managua, June 18, 2019

Government of National Unity and Reconciliation

Will Ortega be able to stop the international sanctions?

This article published yesterday on the author´s blog, lays out the importance of the events of the coming days for the immediate future of the country. June 18th is the deadline the government agreed on for the release of all political prisoners, and June 21st is the date the Nica Act stipulated for Pompeo to report to Congress about whether the Nicaraguan government was progressing in respect for human rights and fighting corruption. Later this month there is also an important meeting of the representatives to the OAS that will also be looking at the government´s compliance with the agreements signed in the negotiations with the Civic Alliance.

Will Ortega be able to stop the international sanctions?

By Enrique Saenz, June 17, 2019

[see original Spanish at https://enriquesaenz.com/2019/06/17/podra-ortega-detener-las-sanciones-internacionales/ ]

We are starting a week with two dates that can set the path for the coming months. First, June 18th. This is the date set in the commitments in the negotiation table for the definitive liberation of all the hostages by the regime. There are still 89 people imprisoned. In addition, other commitments that the government signed are yet to be fulfilled, among them the full re-establishment of citizen rights and freedoms, including the freedom of the press and freedom to demonstrate.

The other date is June 21st. The time frame set by the NICA ACT when the the Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, certifies before the US Congress whether the Ortega regime is carrying out effective steps in the direction of the following objectives:

  • Trial of those responsible for acts of corruption and money laundering
  • Trial of those responsible for human rights violations and crimes against humanity
  • Re-establishment of the rule of law, respect for the law, the separation of powers
  • Institutional reforms for holding early, free, transparent elections with independent international and national observation
  • The protection of civil and political rights.

This is what the NICA ACT sets out. For everyone it is clear what the reality is, but it is not overdoing it to highlight the following points:

Ortega has not taken one step to fight corruption. It is natural, he would have to put himself at the head of the list of those to be tried. Rather, he has sought how to conceal BANCORP, a financial institution constituted with oil aid funds for the purpose of moving capital.

Ortega has not taken one step to try those responsible for human rights violations and crimes against humanity. This is natural, he would have to put himself at the top of the list of those to be tried. Rather, using his servants in the National Assembly, he imposed an amnesty law with the intention of covering himself with a mantle of impunity. It is obvious that the trial of those responsible will only be possible with Ortega out of power.

Ortega has not taken one step to re-establish the Rule of Law and the separation of powers. Rather, he violates the law at will. And let us not even mention the separation of powers. He turned judges and magistrates into executioners, and subjugates from the most lofty hierarchs of the powers of the state to the last council members of the smallest municipality. The only law in force is the will of the monarch.

Ortega has not taken one step to re-establish citizen rights and freedoms. Rather he maintains a de facto state of siege; his para military groups publicly move about committing abuses with complete impunity; he fortified a police state and an environment of generalized repression. He continues the closure of communications media, non governmental organizations, and the usurpation of property.

Ortega has not taken one step for electoral reforms that would make it possible for early, free, legitimate, transparent elections observed by credible international organizations.

On these points there is no mystery for anyone. Now we will see what the Secretary of State reports to the Congress. And what maneuvers Ortega will come up with in the coming days.

On the other hand, what happens this week will have an influence, without a doubt, on the deliberations of the foreign ministers of the continent within the framework of the General Assembly of the OAS, to be verified in Colombia, starting on June 26.

To finish, two considerations. The renewal of the Negotiating Table will only make sense if Ortega fully complies with the commitments that he assumed, beginning by the re-establishment of citizen rights and freedoms.

Second. The individual sanctions on hierarchs of the regime for corruption and human rights violations have nothing to do with sovereignty and self determination. Just the opposite. The violations of international law and agreements signed by the State of Nicaragua have consequences that the ringleaders of the regime are fully aware of.

Let us hope then that the outcomes of the current week mark a step forward in the struggle for freedom, justice and democracy.

 

Ortega Regime manipulates figures of political prisoners in order to not free all of them

A key agreement in the recent negotiation is the release of all political prisoners by June 18, 2019. One of the reasons why the Civic Alliance called for a National Strike was their concern about the lack of willingness on the part of the government to comply with this and other agreements. The Government issued a press release yesterday reaffirming their willingness to release the political prisoners by June 18th. But the number of political prisoners is under dispute, and since the agreement was reached, more protestors have been abducted and jailed. This article shows the complexity of this one issue.

Ortega Regime manipulates figures of political prisoners in order to not free all of them

Regime says that there are only 132 people left from the reconciled lists, but the Civic Alliance states that there are approximately 336 people still jailed for their participation in the protests against the regime.

By Lucia Navas and Lidia López B, May 22, 2019, La Prensa

See original Spanish at https://www.laprensa.com.ni/2019/05/22/politica/2552222-regimen-orteguista-manipula-cifras-de-presos-politicos-para-no-liberarlos-a-todos

The regime of Daniel Ortega has offered manipulated figures of political prisoners as a strategy to not free all of them, denounced relatives and lawyers of the detained protestors, as well as delegates of the Civic Alliance for Justice and Democracy.

The dictatorship has released 336 political prisoners at five moments, and assures that they only need to release from jail 132 people who remain illegally detained for having participated in the protests against the dictatorship of Ortega and Rosario Murillo since April 18, 2018.

According to the figures of Ortega followers, they only recognize 468 total Nicaraguans detained for their participation in the protests.

This May 22 in a press release the dictatorship said that it will grant freedom to the protestors by June 18th at the latest, by the deadline established in the agreement signed with the Civic Alliance. But these liberations will only be of the protestors already reconciled on the list of the International Committee of the Red Cross (CICR).

The Civic Alliance presented an original list with 764 political prisoners at the Negotiating Table with the dictatorship, which has increased due to the fact that in recent weeks abductions of citizens opposed to the regime have continued, who are also considered political prisoners because their detentions have been because of their support for the protests.

The Civic Alliance records 42 people who have been detained since January 2019 and have not been freed, who are not on the lists reconciled with the regime.

“So far there are approximately 336 people jailed in the different penitentiary centers, police delegations and other detention centers”, for their participation in the protests against the regime, who the opposition demands be freed, according to the opposition and lawyers of those detained.

They are not complying even with those on the reconciled list

Álvaro Vargas, from the Civic Alliance, explained to La Prensa that in the work with the International Committee of the Red Cross (CICR), 237 self convened were reconciled of the lists presented by the opposition and the dictatorship. Of that reconciled list with the CICR, Vargas said that 196 people still need to be released, in other words, 64 more than those that the regime says are left.

This does not mean that they are the only political prisoners in the jails, due to the fact that Vargas, Carlos Tunnermann (also from the Civic Alliance) and the lawyer Yonarqui Martínez, defense counsel of the self convened, said yesterday that the demand is that they must be freed from all charges, those people on the reconciled lists as well as those that the regime accuses of common crimes, but whom it has been demonstrated that they were detained for participating in the protests, as well as those who have arrest orders out but are in exile or safe houses.

42 abducted in recent weeks

Vargas and Martínez explained that the regime continues abducting citizens who relate to the protests, so far taking 42 people who are confirmed in jails. These citizens are considered to be political prisoners.

Vargas said that they are updating the lists that they will present to the CICR and the Interamerican Commission of Human Rights (IACHR), so that they can help to review and reconcile the names along with the Ortega regime.

“We have documented that the reason for the arrest is for protesting, in other words, for political issues”, stated Vargas.

Tunnermann rejected the manipulation of the Ortega followers who in their press releases state that once the 132 political prisoners from the reconciled list are freed, they will have complied with the agreement from the Negotiating Table.

“That is not the agreement, because there are dozens more prisoners who are not reconciled because the Alliance records dozens of more prisoners than the Government wants to recognize, but they should leave also by June 18th at the latest”, stated the jurist.

Tunnermann also complained that the dictatorship of Ortega and Murillo are not fulfilling the commitment to the Organization of American States (OAS) that they will be liberated, not just released, all the people kidnapped in jail for their participation in the protests since April 18, 2018, in accordance with the list of the IACHR, which the jurist recalled coincided with those presented by the Civic Alliance.

 

WORK PROGRAM OF GOVERNMENT OF NATIONAL RECONCILIATION AND UNITY TO ESTABLISH STABILITY AND PEACE IN NICARAGUA

This was the response of the Foreign Ministry of Nicaragua to the action of the Permanent Council of the OAS yesterday, who approved a resolution calling for the liberation of political prisoners, respect for human rights and institutional reforms for legitimate elections; and to the call of the Civic Alliance for a National Strike on Thursday May 23rd (caps reflect the original text).

See original Spanish at : https://www.el19digital.com/articulos/ver/titulo:90399-programa-de-trabajo-del-gobierno-de-reconciliacion-y-unidad-nacional-para-consolidar-estabilidad-y-paz-en-nicaragua

WORK PROGRAM OF GOVERNMENT OF NATIONAL RECONCILIATION AND UNITY TO ESTABLISH STABILITY AND PEACE IN NICARAGUA

Wednesday May 22, 2019

  1. Definitive liberation by June 18, 2019 at the latest of those released from jail who are in their homes under family or house arrest. Those who are still in jail. And those who have an open process in their absence, whose cause is in process.
  2. Continue with the OAS the process of electoral institutional strengthening, which consists in: A) Electoral Reform proposal, B) Technical Support to the Supreme Electoral Council, C) Implementation of Technical Recommendations to the Supreme Electoral Council for the future General Elections of 2021 within the framework of the Constitution and Legal Order of the country.
  3. Continue making a call for the Reconciliation of the Nicaraguan Family in order to contribute to creating a climate of Trust, that would strengthen the Culture of Peace that the People of Nicaragua need.
  4. Raise to the category of Law the Holistic Plan of Attention to Victims (PIAV) of the violent events occurred starting in April 2018, based on the Principle of Forgiveness, Not Forgetting and No Repetition.
  5. Continue promoting, nationally and internationally, the Government of National Reconciliation and Unity (GRUN) on the Voluntary Return of Nicaraguans outside the country, who left in the context of the violent events occurred starting on April 18, 2018, with all the constitutional and security guarantees for their reinsertion in Society and their personal daily lives.
  6. Ratify, as the Constitution and the Labor Code mandate, the Participation of Workers in the Management of Enterprises, through their Organizations.
  7. In accordance with the Tax Law, proceed to do the pertinent audits as appropriate of all Enterprises, Non profit Associations, Foundations and the rest of exonerated sectors, in order to determine the good use of the exonerated equipment, inputs and raw materials, including those of the Social Communications Media.
  8. Call to the International Community and International Financial Organizations to end the application of sanctions and threats of new sanctions that affect Human, Economic and Social Development of the People of Nicaragua.
  9. Ensure the Right of Concentration, Demonstration and Public Mobilization, complying with the Constitution, the Law on this subject and the norms in effect.

Government of National Reconciliation and Unity

May 22, 2019

Civic Alliance Press Release on Withdrawal from Negotiating Table and Call for National Strike

The killing of Eddy Montes has had several repercussions: 1) The majority of the business association have agreed on a National Strike for Thursday May 23, 2019, demanding that the government release all  political prisoners and implement the agreements already achieved in this round of negotiations; 2) the Government released 100 additional political prisoners, which now makes a total of 322 released, according to the Civic Alliance, and 336 according to the government; 3) 22 of the 35 members of the Permanent Council of the OAS approved a resolution on May 21 demanding the liberation of political prisoners, respect for human rights, and institutional reforms needed to “free, fair, transparent and legitimate elections, in accordance with international standards”.

What follows is a translation of the Civic Alliances Press Release calling for the release of all political prisoners and calling for forming a consensus around a national strike, issued on Monday May 20, 2019.

[See original Spanish at https://www.alianzacivicanicaragua.com/es/nos-retiramos-de-la-mesa-hasta-la-liberacion-de-presos-politicos-y-llamamos-a-paro-nacional/ ]

WE WITHDRAW FROM THE NEGOTIATING TABLE UNTIL THE FREEDOM OF POLITICAL PRISONERS, AND WE CALL FOR A NATIONAL STRIKE

May 20, 2019

The Civic Alliance for Justice and Democracy withdraws from the Negotiating Table until the Government releases from jail, prior to their definitive liberation, the political prisoners from the reconciled list in the hands of the International Committee of the Red Cross. This decision is based on the following facts:

On March 27, 2019 the Civic Alliance signed an agreement with the Government for the freedom of prisoners who would have the support of the International Committee of the Red Cross (CICR). That agreement stipulated, among other things:

  1. That prior to the release from prison, the Government promised to observe and respect international standards and norms for the proper and humanitarian treatment of prisoners.
  2. The CICR would facilitate a process of their release in accordance with the reconciled list of prisoners.
  3. The Government committed itself to the definitive liberation of all political prisoners by June 18, 2019 at the latest.

Related to these three points, we list the following violations:

  • The political prisoner Eddy Montes Praslin was killed while in the custody of the Penitentiary System, and a large number of prisoners were seriously wounded and beaten this past Thursday May 16, the Government not only has not complied but has violated the agreement.
  • In spite of the CICR being present since March 29, 2019, not one release has happened with the support of this international organization. The fact that the CICR is in the country for nearly two months and not even one political prisoner has been released nor freed within the framework of the agreement with this organization, is another sign of the derision of the Government toward the Nicaraguan people.
  • On April 29, the International Witnesses and Accompaniers [Papal Nuncio and representative of the OAS] presented to the delegations the proposal for doing a progressive release from jail during the month of May, a proposal that was initially accepted by the government, but which they then retracted.

In light of this and the proximity to June 18th, the date for the definitive liberation of all the political prisoners, and in light of the little progress so far in the Negotiating Table because of the non existent political will for compliance on the part of the Government, the Civic Alliance demands signs of political will on the part of the Government to fulfill the signed agreements, that would allow a peaceful and democratic outcome to be constructed for the current crisis.

It is precisely because we believe in negotiation and the importance of compliance about what is agreed there, that we decided to return only when the political prisoners from the entire reconciled list have been released, without compromising the definitive liberation of all the political prisoners by June 18 of this year.

Likewise, to make known to the Government the demand of broad sectors of Nicaraguan society for the liberation of the political prisoners and compliance with the already signed Agreements, the Civic Alliance calls on the small, medium and large business owners, merchants and workers, as well as self employed people, social sectors and society in general to build a process of consensus to carry out a National Strike and other civic actions in the coming days.

We consider that in these key hours it is important to lay aside selfishness and ambitions for power to take a step toward the search for peace, justice and democracy.