The official persecution against Non-Governmental Organizations was raging this Wednesday, April 20, with the Luisa Mercado Foundation (FLM)manager of the Festival Centroamérica Cuenta, one of the most important literary events in Latin America, a measure that the Legislative Branch extended to 24 other organizations.
The literary festival is carried out under the direction of the novelist Sergio Ramírez Mercado, Cervantes Prize 2017, founder of the canceled organization, exiled and critic of the Nicaraguan regime, but the FLM—named after the writer’s mother—has also developed different initiatives and activities to promote and spread Nicaraguan culture.
However, despite its contribution to national culture, the National Assembly, controlled by the ruling party with 75 of 91 deputies, removed the legal status of the FLM in a session that began at 9:46 am. The initiative was approved with 74 votes in favor, 0 against, 15 abstentions and one present at 10:17 am, that is, only 31 minutes after the start of the meeting.
Article two of the law on the cancellation of legal entities, approved with 75 votes specifically, indicates that the assets and shares of the organizations, “will have, after liquidation, the destination foreseen in the constitutive act in their statutes, if nothing had been disposed on them, these will become part of the State in accordance with the law of the matter”.
In its arguments, the State accused the canceled organizations of having failed to comply with the laws that regulate non-profit organizations and for not having registered as a foreign agent to comply with one of the repressive laws with which the State persecuted opponents last year.
The main points were that they did not report their itemized financial statements with a detail of the donations that contained their origin, origin and final beneficiary. Nor did they report on the boards of directors of their organizations, according to the ruling party.
For the same reasons, legislators decided to outlaw other 24 NGOs who have had important social work in the country for decades, especially in areas such as the defense of children’s rights, human rights in general, among others.
According to the bill, presented by the Sandinista deputy Filiberto Rodríguez on April 6, whom his own colleagues called this Wednesday the executioner in the middle of a live session when mentioning him for the first time, the list of NGOs is made up of the Permanent Commission on Human Rights (CPDH), the Nicaraguan Association of Architects and Engineers (ANIA)—founded in 1970—, the Nicaraguan Coordinating Federation of Non-Governmental Organizations that work with Children and Adolescents (CODENI).
The president of the Assembly, Gustavo Porras, explained that in the case of ANIA they are registered as members of the business chamber in the Ministry of Industry, Development and Commerce (MIFIC), in which he ensures they fulfill their obligations to the State.
Porras gave the floor to the second secretary of the Assembly, “comrade Wilfredo”, referring to Wilfredo Navarro, who added: “Because of those filthy doubts, which say that they want to screw the businessmen, the professionals, we are trying to protect these organizations so that they do not fall into illegality”.
Also to the Ernesto Cardenal Foundation
Parliament also canceled that of the Foundation for the Development of Solentiname founded in 1982 by the great Nicaraguan poet Ernesto Cardenal (RIP)., critical until his death of Ortega. The same measure was taken against the Coen Foundation.
Last March, the regime canceled Operation Smile, another important project that benefited children born with cleft palates, as part of the cancellation of 25 other organizations. Until now, no reaction has been known from the Coen family business group, whose leader, Piero Coen, participated in protests against Ortega in 2018 and has been the target of invasions of properties by armed men.
To substantiate his request for these new cancellations, Rodríguez relied on a report from the Ministry of the Interior and a request for cancellation made by the Department of Registration and Control of Non-Profit Civil Associations of the same institution, presented by its manager Franya Urey. Squishy.
“The entities related in this request for cancellation of legal personality have carried out their activities outside the law, acting against express law, so that with their actions they have violated what is established in the different regulatory bodies that regulate them,” Rodríguez said. in the bill addressed to Porras.
164 organizations banned since 2018
With these new 25 personerías cancelled, the dictatorship brings to 164 the organizations that it has outlawed since 2018 when the social protests that recently celebrated four years took place, in which thousands of people demanded the departure of Ortega and Murillo from power.
The State’s response was a brutal repression that left 355 dead, according to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), of the Organization of American States (OAS). The civil rights of Nicaraguans were violated, through the imposition of a police state that curbs the possibility of opposition demonstrations and keeps critics of the regime under surveillance, while others have had to go into exile threatened by judicial repression. . There are currently 181 political prisoners in the country.
NGO leaders denounced last year to CONFIDENTIAL a series of obstacles placed by the State to keep the organizations illegal, some of them described them as Kafkaesque with the intention of making them “die slowly”, they said at the time.
A member of CODENI, on condition of anonymity, expressed the opinion that Ortega’s measures have been increasing against the NGOs, after for three years they have insisted that the Ministry of the Interior receive their financial statements and update the boards of directors.
“In principle, there is a deliberate and staggered intention to affect organizations that have a critical view of society and the State,” said this official, later warning that there is a patrimonial interest on the part of the regime in ordering the “confiscations.”
CODENI was founded in 1992, it worked for ten years without legal status until it was approved, with which “a legal status is not going to stop us from the militant commitment we have for the rights of children and adolescents in the country.”
The CPDH was the last human rights organization that worked in the country with its legal personality and that has suffered siege from the State. The lawyer Mary Oviedo is a member of this organization. She was imprisoned last year in the repressive escalation with which Ortega eliminated electoral competition and sowed fear to be re-elected in the November elections of last year.
In a press conference held at the agency on Tuesday, April 19, its director, Marcos Carmona, on behalf of the CPDH, rejected the State’s indications to cancel it, while he presented the underlying reasons of the State for the decision.
“There is no will, on the part of the Government (of President Daniel Ortega), that there are human rights organizations that are documenting the abuses that are committed in this country,” he said. Carmona.
Other organizations canceled this Wednesday, April 20, are: the CANTERA Popular Education and Communication Center Foundation, the Nicaraguan Association of Cinematography, the July 11 Liberal Political Training Institute Association, the Tininiska Cultural Association, the Comprehensive Foundation for the development of Indigenous Woman of Sutiaba, among others.