Nicaragua’s Ortega Defends Arrests, Blasts U.S. in Speech

Nicaragua President Daniel Ortega defended recent arrests of government opposition figures and criticized the U.S. for interfering in the nation’s affairs in his first public appearance in more than a month.

“We aren’t trying candidates. We are trying criminals that have attacked the country, the security of the nation, attacked the lives of citizens and tried to organize a coup in order to provoke regime change,” Ortega said in a speech Wednesday night. “That’s what were are investigating, and they will be punished to the full extent of the law.”

Opposition groups used financing from abroad to organize protests in 2018, attempt to overthrow the government and “commit the most brutal crimes Nicaragua has seen in years,” Ortega said. The U.S. Embassy encouraged the protests and has “completely interfered” in Nicaraguan politics, he said.

“The Yankee imperialists continue to conspire,” Ortega said. “They think with sanctions they are going to break Nicaragua. Nicaragua has been through a lot worse.”

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