To: President Daniel Ortega
Tell President Daniel Ortega to Free Opposition Leaders in Nicaragua!
Dear President Ortega,
Over the last few weeks, 15 opposition leaders in Nicaragua have been arrested for publicly voicing their opposition to your government. This silencing of political speech is unconscionable and undemocratic.
The Nicaraguan people have the right to express and listen to all political views and to freely elect their leaders. Democracy is not built by depriving the opposition of its freedom and its voice. It is upon you to protect democracy and fair elections in Nicaragua. Law 1055 of 2020 undermines the political debate and weakens the rule of law.
Families of those arrested are reporting that they do not know their loved ones’ whereabouts and that they don’t have access to attorneys. As the President you are responsible for ensuring due process rights and personal liberty.
Hundreds of thousands of people of Nicaraguan origin live in the U.S. –– and right now their loved ones are witnessing your government make every attempt to muzzle dissenting voices.
President Ortega, we demand to know where the unjustly arrested are and that they be released immediately!
Why is this important?
In December 2020, Nicaragua passed a law giving President Daniel Ortega’s government the power to unilaterally label citizens as “traitors to the homeland”, and ban them from running as electoral candidates.
“The law punishes those ‘who lead or finance a coup ... encourage foreign interference, ask for military intervention ...propose or plan economic blockades, applaud and champion the imposition of sanctions against Nicaragua or its citizens.’”
If charged, the accused would be considered “traitors to the homeland” and for that reason may not run for public office.” In Nicaragua, people accused of treason could face up to 15 years in prison.
Following the passage of this law, in May and June of 2021, Nicaragua’s National Police arrested fifteen opposition leaders. Many relatives of those arrested say they don’t know their whereabouts and that they haven’t had access to attorneys.
For decades Latinx and migrant communities in the U.S. have raised their voices in solidarity with the people of Latin America, and today it’s important that we exercise our power and moral authority by joining the Nicaraguan people to push back against injustice. Under President Ortega’s oppressive rule, voices outside of Nicaragua become even more important.
Sign this petition and call on President Daniel Ortega to let the public know the whereabouts of opposition leaders and to free them immediately.
Associated Press. “Nicaragua arrests 5 more opposition leaders in crackdown.” Washington Post. June 13, 2021. https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/nicaragua-arrests-more-opposition-leaders-in-crackdown/2021/06/13/619f39c0-cc69-11eb-a224-bd59bd22197c_story.html
Salcedo, Andrea. “Nicaragua’s government has arrested a dozen opposition leaders. Their relatives don’t know where they are.” Washington Post. June 15, 2021. https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2021/06/15/nicaragua-arrests-ortega-opponents-candidates/