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Nicaragua: Daniel Ortega accuses his brother Humberto of “treason”

Nicaragua: Daniel Ortega accuses his brother Humberto of “treason”

Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega called his brother Humberto — who was placed under “medical surveillance” at home by police several days ago — a “traitor” for having decorated the US military attaché in Managua in 1992.

“He sold his soul to the devil,” Ortega said Tuesday during an event before dozens of military and police officers, in the first public allusion to his brother since the controversy broke out 12 days ago, when the retired general offered an interview that apparently irritated the Managua government.

Without mentioning his name, the president said that “the then head of the Army” decorated the US military attaché, Dennis Quinn, with the Camilo Ortega medal in January 1992, which he described as a “shame” and a “betrayal of the people and the country.”

Camilo Ortega, the youngest of the three brothers, was a guerrilla fighter who died in combat during the final Sandinista uprising against the military regime of Anastasio Somoza in 1978. The Sandinista army, led by Humberto, created the medal in his honor after Somoza’s fall a year later.

The president also referred to the presidency of Violeta Chamorro (1990-1997) as “a government imposed by the Yankees,” despite the fact that the former president came to power through elections organized by the administration of Daniel Ortega, who had to hand over the government to her in April 1990.

Humberto Ortega, who was already the head of the Army, continued in office for five more years during the Chamorro government, until his retirement in 1995.

“The head of the Army at that time committed the sacrilege of giving that order… the Camilo Ortega Saavedra medal of valor to the Yankee, what a shame, what a shame, it was a betrayal of the people, of the country,” said the president during the ceremony held in the Plaza de la Fe Juan Pablo II, in the old center of Managua.

He then read an official decree issued “on behalf of the President of the People,” in which the awarding of the medal to Quinn was “invalidated,” considering the act to be an “affront” and an “act of treasonous traitor.”

Humberto Ortega, 77, gave an interview to the Argentine portal Infobae in which he stated that his brother Daniel has no successors to replace him when he dies, and that elections will have to be called with the support of the Army to avoid “a power vacuum” and “chaos” in the country.

After the interview, the newspaper The Press Managua reported that that day the police surrounded his residence in the southeast of the capital and confiscated his cell phones and computers.

Although the government has not confirmed that the former general is under house arrest, local media say his home remains under surveillance and that the president’s brother is incommunicado.

Since Daniel Ortega returned to power in 2007, his brother Humberto has publicly urged him — and without success — to promote dialogue and a “national project” to bring political and economic stability to Nicaragua.

Following the social rebellion in April 2018, Humberto Ortega criticized the “excessive repression” of police and paramilitaries against civilian protesters, which left 355 dead, more than 2,000 injured and thousands detained, according to human rights organizations.

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