Various opposition organizations in Nicaragua affirmed this Thursday that “without freedom there is no independence to celebrate,” on the day the country commemorates the 201st anniversary of emancipation from the Spanish Crown.
“There is no respect for citizen rights, without freedom there is nothing to celebrate. We demand citizenship with all its rights and respect for them!”, the University Coordinator for Justice and Democracy said in a statement.
The youth organization also demanded the release of the more than 200 “political prisoners”, as well as “freedom of the press, expression, mobilization, teaching, and university autonomy”, and the “use of the national flag” on the Day of the Independence.
Nicaragua became independent from the Spanish Crown on September 15, 1821, in the same process as Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, but it has experienced historical internal conflicts that remain today.
“Independence from what? There is no independence in Nicaragua due to the systematic violation of the civil and political rights of Nicaraguans,” argued the representative of SOS Nicaragua Europe, Winnye Bernard.
Opposition leader Alexa Zamora, of the Marimba organization, maintained that “in Nicaragua we cannot speak of independence while our brothers and sisters who have raised their voices for the fight for freedom find themselves being political prisoners because of a genocidal dictatorship. We cannot talk about independence when the dictator has invited Russian troops to settle in our country.”
Ortega, who claims the “sovereignty of the peoples”, has given his support to the President of Russia, Vládimir Putin, in his invasion of Ukraine, usually approves the entry of troops, ships and aircraft of the Russian Armed Forces into Nicaraguan territory every year .
The Articulation of Social Movements (AMS), which brings together 60 NGOs in a country where at least 1,758 of these have been canceled, made reference to the limitations of cooperation.
“The regime has closed thousands of NGOs, thousands of jobs, has restricted cooperation, we are still prisoners in our own nation, there is no reason to celebrate the cry of homeland and freedom in our country,” according to the AMS.
“We have a dictatorship that is literally liberticidal,” concluded the Self-Convened National Unity.
Since 2018, Nicaragua has been experiencing a crisis that left at least 355 dead in its first year, according to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), and worsened last November with the elections in which Ortega and his wife, Vice President Rosario Murillo, they were re-elected to their positions, with seven of their potential rivals in prison and two in exile.