In Nicaragua, President Ortega is increasing pressure on the opposition. On Sunday, five opposition leaders were arrested again, bringing the total number of arrests since the beginning of this month to twelve.
The arrest wave comes months before a scheduled polls run, November 7. According to the opposition, no one is safe anymore and members are arrested one by one. “This is not a transition to a dictatorship, this is a dictatorship,” former general and dissident Hugo Torres said shortly before he was arrested himself.
According to Torres, a former ally of the president, the regime of 75-year-old Ortega is “suffocating” than that of dictator Anastasio Somoza, who was driven out by Ortega‘s socialist party in the late 70s. The latter then led the country until 1990, and in 2007 he became president again after three attempts failed, and since then he has been in power.
Last few days, at least four potential Ortega counter-candidates have been arrested. Apart from that, many critics and opponents are trapped in the Central American country. According to the left-wing opposition party Unamos, Ortega betrayed his ideals. Ortega’s supporters say that the arrests only implement the law, which prohibits election candidates from receiving financial support from abroad and disseminating information that the government believes is false.
Ortega hopes to be elected for a fourth term of office in November. His popularity has fallen since 2018, and in that year he hit protests against his reign, resulting in hundreds of deaths. The West has sanctions because Ortega undermines democracy. Human rights organizations argue that Ortega has turned all democratic institutions since he came to power fourteen years ago.