Daniel Ortega’s regime denied entry to Nicaragua to a dozen journalists from international media, who in the last nine months arrived at border posts or purchased air tickets to Managua, without explaining the reasons why they were rejected.
Among the journalists vetoed by Ortega, and who have publicly denounced what happened, are four Cubans, three Hondurans, one Guatemalan, one French, one American and —even— one Nicaraguan.
The last to be rejected by the regime was the Guatemalan journalist, anthropologist and writer, Irma Velasquez Nimatujwho arrived in Nicaragua on July 24 for academic reasons, but was held for several hours at the Augusto C. Sandino International Airport and forced to leave the territory on a flight to Panama.
Velásquez Nimatuj, who is part of the Editorial Board of Plaza Pública, told the media in her country that Nicaraguan officials stripped her of “all her belongings” and she was only able to keep her phone.
During the time that Velásquez Nimatuj was at the Managua airport, he was guarded by two people who he asked for the reasons why he cannot enter Nicaraguan territory, but they never gave him the reasons.
The covid-19 excuse
A month ago, on June 11, the Nicaraguan journalist for the Univisión network, Tifani Roberts, denounced that the Ortega regime denied her entry into her country on the grounds that her negative covid-19 test had been rejected and the The airline that would transfer her from the United States to Nicaragua notified her that she could not board the plane.
Roberts then explained that, on June 9, the airline notified him by email that it had successfully received his personal information and his covid-19 test, and that they would share the information with the Nicaraguan authorities for validation and authorization. The next day, the airline notified him that they needed to send an email to the Nicaraguan Ministry of the Interior with more information about his visit.
However, hours before the flight, the airline notified Roberts that the Nicaraguan authorities rejected his covid-19 test and did not authorize his entry into the country.
At the end of April, the regime prevented the journalistic team made up of the reporter from entering the country Camilo Loret de Mola and the cameraman, César Toreroof the television channel, Mega TV, based in the United States, who were held for two hours at the Augusto C. Sandino International Airport, offended and deported on a direct flight to El Salvador, without justifying the prohibition to enter Nicaragua.
“We were repressed by Daniel Ortega’s state security,” the journalist denounced in his narration of the events in an interview from Honduras for the television station he works with. Loret explains that both he and Torero met all the covid-19 health requirements that Nicaragua requests to enter the country. However, upon arrival at the airport, a subject who never identified himself called the cameraman by his name and assured him that they had problems with his covid-19 test. He came to support his colleague, and the same man asked for his passport and they held him.
The subject’s justification, which the journalist considers belongs to “State security”, was disarmed, when he presented them with a doctor, who was disoriented about what was happening, and finally said: “this is your problem Don’t mess with me.” He handed the documents to the man and left.
Cubans rejected without reason
Others rejected by the Nicaraguan regime were the Cuban journalists Hector Valdes and Esteban Rodriguez, who left the island on January 5, on a flight to Nicaragua. However, when they made a stopover in El Salvador, the airline they were traveling on notified them that the Nicaraguan authorities had denied them entry. Both reporters received support and assistance from the Government of El Salvador.
According to Valdés’ account, the trip to Nicaragua would last only about two days and they would use the country as a bridge to advance towards the United States where they would request political asylum due to the persecution experienced by the independent journalists in Cuba.
The regime also blocked the entry of the foreign press to cover the November 7 vote. Among those rejected by the regime stand out: the correspondent in Mexico of the French newspaper Le Monde (The World), Frédéric Saliba; a team from the Honduran newspaper El Heraldo, led by journalist Carlos Girón; and the reporter for the American The New York Times, Anatoly Kurmanaev.