RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The Government of Colombia recalled for consultations its ambassador in Nicaragua, Alfredo Rangel, to analyze with him “the systematic persecution against the political opposition, journalism and social leadership” in that Central American country.
The call is produced by “the facts that violate the democratic guarantees, civil and political rights of the Nicaraguan people”, as reported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a statement. It follows the line of the values and principles of the Inter-American Democratic Charter and that of the Organization of American States (OAS).
Read also: Check out our coverage on Colombia
“The Government of Colombia urges the Government of Nicaragua to release political prisoners immediately and to cease this systematic persecution,” the Foreign Ministry requested in the statement, where it also calls for “a transparent and free democratic election for the Nicaraguan people to choose their destiny.”
Almost thirty opposition leaders have been arrested in Nicaragua in the last two months for the alleged crime of “treason” less than four months before the November general elections. The country’s president, Sandinista Daniel Ortega, will seek new reelection.
The police, led by Francisco Díaz, a close associate of Ortega, have arrested opposition presidential hopefuls Cristiana Chamorro, Arturo Cruz, Félix Maradiaga, Juan Sebastián Chamorro, Miguel Mora, Medardo Mairena and Noel Vidaurre, who are also under investigation for alleged treason.
In addition, two former vice-chancellors, two historic dissident Sandinista ex-guerrillas, a business leader, a banker, a former first lady, six opposition leaders, two student leaders, two peasant leaders, a journalist, a commentator, two former NGO workers, and a driver for Cristiana Chamorro.
With the recall of Ambassador Rangel, who met today in Bogotá with Vice President and Foreign Minister Marta Lucia Ramirez and other officials, the Colombian government wants to seek options for the “return of democratic institutionality” in Nicaragua.
The arrests of opposition leaders take place given the elections of next November 7. Ortega, a former Sandinista guerrilla who returned to power in 2007 and who since 2017 governs together with his wife, Vice President Rosario Murillo, will seek to extend his mandate for five more years.