Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega cinfirmed Monday that he will “firmly defend the application of justice” to opponents detained for allegedly trying to destabilize the country, whose release is demanded by governments and international organizations.
“We have to firmly defend justice and the application of justice against criminals,” Ortega said in allusion to the opponents, during an act of opening of the 2023 legislative year.
Some 235 opponents are imprisoned in Nicaragua, of which more than 40 were sentenced last year to prison terms of up to 13 years for conspiracy, undermining national integrity and other offenses against the state.
Among those arrested are some former opposition presidential candidates who sought to run against Ortega’s reelection in 2021, as well as businessmen, journalists, religious leaders and Sandinista dissidents, whom the government calls “terrorists, coup plotters and criminals”.
Ortega mentioned that in the United States there are more than a thousand people arrested for the assault on the Capitol in 2021, as well as in Brazil for the recent seizure of official buildings by supporters of Jair Bolsonaro, and that in those countries “they are not going to ask for the freedom of the coup perpetrators”.
Nicaragua is experiencing a political crisis as a result of protests that erupted in 2018 against Ortega, who has ruled since 2007.
The president linked the demonstrations to a failed coup promoted by the opposition with Washington’s support.
“The empire conspiring, investing millions to provoke the coup attempt,” Ortega reiterated before deputies, high representatives of the State, the police and the army.
According to the President, not even the sentence of “life imprisonment can pay off the damage caused to Nicaragua by the coup perpetrators, the (opposition) terrorists”.
In his speech, the President considered that the events experienced by Bolivia, Peru and recently Brazil, “have to do with the way in which fascism is reinstalling itself in the world”, mainly in the United States and Europe, and that his government cannot lower its guard.
“We must not be confident, we cannot be confident, because the terrorists are always conspiring and are financed by the U.S. and European governments,” he said.
He also urged his supporters to “work with energy, with firmness, with discipline, but to sleep with one eye open and the other closed because the vermin are out there.”