In Nicaragua, political dissidents targeted
A noted journalist, Oxfam, and a women's organization have become enemies of the state.
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Human rights advocates say that searching for evidence without any clear cause is the same as trying to "fabricate a crime."Skip to next paragraph
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President Ortega has attempted to explain the government's efforts by employing a revolutionary rhetoric of combating class entitlement.
"The oligarchy thinks they have impunity; they did before, but not anymore," Ortega said during a speech Monday night, referring to Chamorro, whose family name has a long and distinguished history in Nicaragua that goes beyond his father.
For Chamorro, the argument of class remains unconvincing.
"My name was the same when I was a member of the FSLN [Sandinista National Liberation Front, which toppled the right-wing Somoza regime in 1979] and defended the revolution," says Chamorro, adding that no one called him an oligarch back then. The journalist says the issue is his investigative reports exposing government corruption. [Editor's note: The original version stated that FSLN toppled the prior regime.]
In a simultaneous raid last weekend, government agents stormed the central office of the Autonomous Women's Movement – a social organization with roots in the Sandinista revolution that is now in opposition to Ortega – and confiscated their records.
The women's movement claims it's a victim of political revenge for its support for Ortega's stepdaughter, Zoilámerica Narváez, in her 1998 sexual abuse accusation against him, and for internationally denouncing the Sandinista government for "betraying the revolution" by outlawing therapeutic abortions for women.
"If they are revolutionaries, I'm an astronaut," says feminist leader and former Sandinista militant Sofia Montenegro, who is being targeted by the government's "anticorruption" movement.
Also on the government's list is Oxfam Great Britain, the Swedish development organization Forum Syd, the US International Republican Institute, and a civil society umbrella group called the Civic Coordinator.
All are being investigated for undetermined causes. No one has yet been formally charged with any crime or notified why they are being investigated.
Gonzalo Carrión, a lawyer for the Nicaraguan Center for Human Rights, says, "The only real crime was that these groups think differently than the government. This is political persecution."
As for Chamorro, he says he has no aspirations to become a martyr like his father, but he also "refuses to become a hostage."
"I will never match the figure of my father, but I feel satisfied in trying," says Chamorro.