Nicaraguan Police Arrest a Fourth Prominent Ortega Opponent

Nicaraguan police arrested opposition candidate Juan Sebastian Chamorro, the fourth opponent of President Daniel Ortega to be detained in the last week as the nation prepares to hold an election in November.

Chamorro was detained on Tuesday night and is under investigation for “using financing from foreign sources to commit acts of terrorism,” the police said in a statement. Another candidate, Felix Maradiaga was also arrested on Tuesday on the same charges. A former head of the business chamber and a civil society leader were also detained.

Nicaraguan Police Arrest a Fourth Prominent Ortega Opponent

Nicaragua will hold a single-round presidential vote on Nov. 7, the first election since anti-government violence erupted in 2018 over Ortega’s plan to raise social security contributions while cutting benefits. Ortega is seeking his fourth consecutive and fifth overall term as president.

Opposition candidate Arturo Cruz, a professor and former diplomat, was arrested over the weekend upon returning from the U.S. and will be held in jail for at least 90 days for “posing a threat to Nicaraguan society.”

Cristiana Chamorro, daughter of former president Violeta Chamorro, was placed under house arrest last week for alleged money laundering as head of the Violeta Barrios de Chamorro Foundation, an organization that promotes free speech. In May, the country’s electoral authority annulled the legal representatives of a separate opposition party.

U.S. Vice-President Kamala Harris visited Guatemala yesterday and secretary of state Antony Blinken was in Costa Rica last week as the U.S. seeks to strengthen ties with Central America. Blinken said there is “strong concern” about Nicaragua and said the country was moving in the wrong direction by prohibiting candidates from running.

The country’s economy has shrunk in each of the last three years, according to the World Bank.

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