August 2023 | Jesuit congregation shut down by the Ortega government
Daniel Ortega’s government has shut down the Jesuit congregation in Nicaragua, stripping it of its legal personality, days after it closed the Central American University (Universidad Centroamericana UCA), run by the religious organization. An order by the Ministry of Interior justified the measure as consequence of the alleged lack of compliance by the Jesuit congregation with its fiscal duties; the government further confiscated its assets and transferred their property to the State. The persecution of members of religious orders has taken place consistently, after Ortega accused the Catholic Church of attempting to destabilize his government. The confiscation of the Jesuits' assets has a particular impact on education in the country, as the congregation had administered a number of schools. The government announced the creation of a new state-university on the former grounds of the UCA.
May 2023 | National Assembly determines to shut down Nicaraguan Red Cross
Nicaragua’s National Assembly, controlled by the ruling Sandinista party, has passed legislation to shut down the Nicaraguan Red Cross and to have its property seized. The bill will establish a “New Nicaraguan Red Cross” under the Health Ministry. Ortega’s government and the legislature has accused the Red Cross as a destabilizing agent for the aid it provided throughout the 2018 demonstrations, alleging that the organization did not act in a neutral or impartial way as its statutes required. Since 2018, the Ortega regime has ordered the closure or dissolution of over three thousand non-governmental organizations.
March 2023 | Report by UN experts details crimes against humanity in Nicaragua
The Group of Human Rights Experts on Nicaragua, established by the United Nations Human Rights Council a year ago, concluded that crimes against humanity have been committed. According to its report, President Daniel Ortega, Vice President Rosario Murillo and other high-ranking members of police and government established a pattern of widespread human rights violations against civilians, including arbitrary detentions and deprivation of nationality, torture, extrajudicial executions, among other serious transgressions, that amount to crimes against humanity. The report further argued that the Ortega regime has weaponized state institutions, including the judiciary, with a view to repress dissent and dismantle civic space. The Group of Experts has called for international sanctions and the adoption of legal measures against individuals and institutions responsible for these crimes.
February 2023 | Political prisoners stripped of their nationality and expelled to the United States
The Ortega regime released 222 political prisoners, one of them an American citizen, and expelled them from Nicaragua to the United States, as a result of diplomatic negotiations between both nations. The Nicaraguan government’s critics included members of the country’s opposition, activists, student leaders, and entrepreneurs, who have been granted humanitarian parole in the United States. While officials from both countries disclosed that the Nicaraguan government did not seek anything in return, and that this measure was aimed to renew dialogue with the US government, the same day of the release the Nicaraguan judiciary characterized the political prisoners as traitors and deprived them of their civil and political rights. The legislature also passed a reform by which those declared traitors to the homeland would be stripped of their nationalities. Bishop Rolando Alvarez, found guilty last month for treason, dissemination of fake news and undermining national integrity, refused to leave Nicaragua along with the other political prisoners and was sentenced to 26 years imprisonment.
Days later, the judiciary announced that 94 additional dissidents and critics of the government –many living in exile- would be stripped of their nationalities and their assets in Nicaragua would be confiscated.