The Sandinista mayor of Rivas, Wilfredo López Hernández, who was being held under “investigation” by the Rivas Police for alleged acts of corruption in the municipality, He was transferred to his home in the residential Los Robles, from midnight on Sunday. But the mayor’s office continues to be intervened by the Presidency of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo, through the Nicaraguan Institute for Municipal Development (Inifom).
Municipal sources told CONFIDENTIAL that the municipal political secretary of the Sandinista Front, Raimundo Membreño (Manota), is the one in charge of the mayor’s office instead of the deputy mayor, Esperancita Núñez, who has not been seen around the place.
The “investigation” against Mayor López is due to a lack of ten thousand dollars from the mayor’s office; however, the sources of the municipality assure that the root of this matter is a conflict between the FSLN militancy in Rivas, to prevent López from running again as a candidate for mayor for a fourth consecutive term.
“The background is that the municipal elections (scheduled for November 6) are coming,” the source warned. In the party they see that “since the commander (Ortega) was re-elected, now the others (mayors) are going to be re-elected”; So, by starting an “investigation” against López, “they are disqualifying him” as a candidate, he valued.
The source, however, was unable to explain the reason why Mayor López came into conflict with the local party leaders, to the point of leading a public scandal never before seen in the FSLN, which is characterized by obeying without questioning a vertical direction. Not even the Inifom or the Comptroller of the Republic, which are state auditing entities, publish information that could be compromising for the ruling party.
Along with Mayor López, the administrator of the mayor’s office and the person in charge of collection are being “investigated”. All of them are accused of alleged embezzlement of funds in various municipal projects. In particular, the overvaluation of the “Casas para el Pueblo Bismarck Martínez” project, the registration of properties in the name of third parties and the remodeling project of the city park are investigated.
Internal struggle for municipal control
On June 27, when the “investigation” against Mayor López became known, the sources indicated that it was a “maneuver” to remove him from power, of which the departmental political secretary, Alejandro Vado, is behind; the FSLN deputy, Miguel Carballo; and those chosen as candidates for mayor and deputy mayor of Rivas, Raimundo Membreño, who is already in command de facto, and Rogelia Santana, respectively.
“The strange thing,” said one of the sources, is that the “investigation” is directed by the secretary general of the FSLN, Fidel Moreno, and the new head of the Ministry of Agriculture (MAG), Isidro Rivera.
The source indicated that, since last February, the Rivas mayor’s office was intervened by the Municipal Development Institute (Inifom) and Mayor López remained as a “decorative figure”, thanks to the fact that Daniel Ortega and his wife and vice president, Rosario Murillo, “They appreciate him for the friendship they had with his father (of the same name) now deceased.”
A source linked to the FSLN affirmed that López is being investigated, presumably, for being part of a plot with local judges, in which they made purchases of land for the Bismarck Martínez housing project, from which they would have benefited financially.
The “plot” to which the source refers began in 2022 with the appointment of the civil district judge of Rivas, Janet Ortega Villalta, by the magistrate of the Supreme Court of Justice (SCJ), Ileana Pérez.
At the beginning of last June, Judge Ortega Villalta was dismissed from her position and is now being investigated for allegedly having made a false declaration of heirs, for a sale of land to the Rivas mayor’s office, for the Bismark Martínez housing project. From which the mayor would have benefited.
Seen as normal
Regardless of what happens inside the mayor’s office, the population of Rivas lives a “normality” imposed by the regime.
A resident of the city of Rivas explained that “people are looking long” at what happened with Mayor López. “Here no one defends it, no one complains, no one issues an opinion,” he commented.
On the other hand, valued the resident, the regime “is making an effort to normalize all this.” The activities have not stopped —even— yesterday (Tuesday) there was an activity at the Rivense Museum of Intellectuality, he added.