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Nicaraguan organizations criticize Ortega’s lack of strategy for coronavirus

April 17, 2020

Nicaraguan humanitarian organizations criticized President Daniel Ortega on Thursday for failing to present an action plan to contain the spread of the coronavirus after he reappeared before the public after more than a month’s absence.

“There was no presentation of strategy or concrete reference to counteract the contagion and the mortality that the virus could cause in the country,” the Nicaraguan Center for Human Rights (CENIDH) said in a statement.

Ortega “was illogical, irresponsible” and without interest in promoting coronavirus prevention measures, the organization argued.

The 74-year-old president addressed the nation Wednesday night on national networks to talk about the pandemic that is plaguing the world, but he did not explain his  34-day absence.

On the contrary, Ortega justified the inaction of his government before COVID-19, by keeping the borders open and calling for massive activities.

“In the midst of this pandemic, work has not stopped (…) because if the country stops working, it dies,” said Ortega, referring to the absence of quarantine measures taken by his country against the coronavirus, which, according to data officers, has infected nine people in Nicaragua, including one deceased.

In CENIDH’s opinion, the Ortega government “will continue to make calls to agglomerations, denying cases (of COVID-19), ensuring that everything in Nicaragua is controlled and lying about the few capacities that the country has.”

In the same sense, Amnesty International (AI) indicated in a statement that Ortega “is blatantly ignoring” the recommendations of international human rights organizations, “putting the health and lives of thousands of people at risk.”

“This is in addition to the serious human rights crisis that has plagued the country for two years, which has caused the death of at least 328 people and the injuries of some 2,000 more, and has forced more than 100,000 people to flee the country,” said AI, referring to the crisis that Nicaragua has been experiencing since the anti-government protests of April 2018.

Carlos Alvarado, president of neighboring Costa Rica, says his country received “more than 70,000 refugee requests in 2018 and 2019 alone” from Nicaraguans.

AI expressed concern about some 70 people who remain in Nicaraguan prison for participating in 2018’s opposition protests.

The government released 1,700 inmates last week, but excluded those detained for participating in the protests, according to lawyers and family members.

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