Nicaragua dictatorship confiscates assets of political prisoners it deported to U.S.

Felix Maradiaga Nicaraguan academic and political activist Felix Maradiaga speaks during an interview with AFP in Managua on Feb. 11, 2021. | Credit: STR/AFP via Getty Images

A Nicaraguan court on June 9 announced the “freezing and forfeiture” of all real estate and of all shares of commercial companies belonging to the 222 political prisoners who were deported to the U.S. in February.

The ruling by Criminal Chamber 1 of the Court of Appeals based in Managua, dated May 19, points out that the former prisoners were declared “traitors to the homeland” and therefore exiled from the country and stripped of their citizenship.

“This theft is another serious violation of fundamental human rights, since private property is a constitutional right and a basic legal guarantee recorded in multiple international agreements signed by Nicaragua,” said former Nicaraguan presidential candidate Félix Maradiaga in a message shared with ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner.

“It’s a very serious action against the 222 political prisoners in addition to the action that had been previously taken against another 94 people on another list, including my wife, Berta Valle,” he added.

According to Maradiaga, this latest court decision adds “to the list of humiliations that the dictatorship has committed against this group of Nicaraguans, who have also suffered imprisonment, torture, public defamation campaigns, family separation, and the violation of their constitutional rights.”

He also warned that “this theft irreparably harms the entire Nicaraguan legal establishment in matters of private property.”

“With the [President Daniel] Ortega-[Vice President Rosario] Murillo family in power, no one in Nicaragua is safe. There is no Nicaraguan who can feel that his life, liberty, personal property, personal safety, or even his right to his own religion are protected. That dictatorship is a beast with no limits that devours everything,” he criticized.

Maradiaga, who is also president of Fundación Libertad (Freedom Foundation), noted that some of the deportees, including himself, already had money in their bank accounts confiscated in 2018.

“This outrage over this new theft of private property is the third confiscation my family has experienced firsthand,” he said.

Regarding the profile of the 222 people affected, he pointed out that “the vast majority are workers, young people, field workers, and only a small group are businessmen.”

According to Maradiaga, the dictatorship led by Ortega and his wife, Murillo, “will try to sell the false narrative of class struggle designed by those totalitarian regimes to poison the hearts of citizens with resentment between us.”

“The truth is that the abuse against a person, whoever it may be, is an abuse against everyone. Not only are we being confiscated; the freedom of all the people of Nicaragua is confiscated,” he stressed.

“This perverse action of the dictatorship must be taken as a call for the unequivocal unity of all Nicaraguans,” the politician continued.

Finally, Maradiaga maintained that Nicaraguans “of goodwill, who are the majority, cannot stop fighting civically to save the nation from those who have hijacked it.”

“When we Nicaraguans have completely eliminated any trace of totalitarianism in Nicaragua, our commitment is to make sure that those whose assets have been stolen get them back. Furthermore, those who dare to benefit from what was stolen must know that they will also face the consequences for the harm caused to the rightful owners,” Maradiaga concluded.

This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.

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