In Nicaragua, “the whole of civil society has been criminalized”

The tone is serious. The audience of the great amphitheater of the Sorbonne, attentive. The emotion, palpable. “In Managua, at this time, it is past 10 a.m. and the sun is shining brightly, but the cell of Dora Maria Tellez, a political prisoner in El Chipote prison, is still in the penumbra. » It is with these words that the Nicaraguan journalist Carlos Fernando Chamorro, director of the media Confidential, began her vibrant speech on Monday, November 28, in Paris, after receiving in the name of this tireless human rights activist the insignia of doctor honoris causa awarded by the Sorbonne Nouvelle.

Former commander of the Sandinista guerrillas against the dictatorship of the Somoza clan, ex-companion in arms of Daniel Ortega, feminist and historian, Mme Tellez, 67, has been locked up for five hundred and thirty-five days, without the possibility of reading or writing, for once again opposing the dictatorial drift of the head of state in power between 1979 and 1990 and since 2007. Like forty of the more than two hundred political prisoners, she is being held in solitary confinement.

It was only after eighty-five days of total incommunicado detention that this “will guerrilla without fear and opponent without reproach”as described in her eulogy, Marie-Laure Geoffray, lecturer at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Latin America, was able to receive a visit from her family. “After spending an hour with her, her nephew was prevented from leaving prison and he was only released 48 hours later, without any explanation”tell the Monde Carlos Chamorro, himself exiled in Costa Rica since June 2021.

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“Radical and cruel repression”

In Nicaragua, there is no longer any hope. The small Central American country has sunk into a regime of terror. “For a year, all of civil society has been criminalized”, notes Carlos Chamorro who, in 2021, still believed in a possible fight. More today: “Giving your opinion is enough to put you in jail. »

Read the interview with Carlos Chamorro from July 2021: Article reserved for our subscribers “It is unimaginable that free and transparent elections will take place in Nicaragua”

Daniel Ortega first repressed in blood the peaceful demonstrations which, in April 2018, demanded his departure, killing at least 355 people. Then, he passed liberticidal laws, punishing any critic with imprisonment and preventing people from standing for elections. “traitors to the fatherland”. Completing his beheading of the protest, he had seven potential presidential candidates arrested on November 7, 2021, including Carlos Chamorro’s sister, Cristiana, who was seen as able to unify the opposition and defeat the autocrat. The latter was re-elected without surprise.

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