Spain offers citizenship to 222 political dissidents exiled by Nicaragua

ROME — The Spanish government has offered citizenship to the 222 political prisoners deported by the regime of Nicaraguan dictator Daniel Ortega last Thursday.

All prisoners, including opposition party leaders, were stripped of their nationalities and deported to Washington, DC, where they were allowed to enter the country on a temporary humanitarian visa.

“The government offers Spanish nationality to these 222 released prisoners, with the news that the process has declared them stateless,” said Spanish Foreign Minister José Manuel Albares Albares in an interview with Spanish media Servimedia.

The offer was praised as a “nice gesture” by renowned Nicaraguan novelist and essayist Sergio Ramirez, who decades ago was Ortega’s vice president. Those freed “will have a homeland until Nicaragua regains its freedom and democracy,” Ramirez said in a Twitter post. publish.

“Today is a big day for the fight for freedom in Nicaragua, as so many wrongfully convicted or prosecuted prisoners are released from prisons, prisons where they should never have been,” he said. added. “They go into exile, but they go into freedom.”

Supporters of Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega take part in a pro-government march in Managua on February 11, 2023. Nicaragua released and expelled 222 detained members of the Nicaraguan opposition to the United States, stripping them of their citizenship, in a Central surprise action The increasingly authoritarian president of the American country, Daniel Ortega. (OSWALDO RIVAS/AFP via Getty)

Among those deported were former presidential candidate Cristiana Chamorro and her brother, former minister Pedro Joaquín Chamorro, as well as other politicians who intended to challenge Ortega in the 2021 national elections. led Nicaragua from 1990 to 1997.

The Nicaraguan judge who certified the expulsion declared that they were all forever deprived of their political rights and stripped of their Nicaraguan nationality.

On the same day, the parliament formed by supporters of Ortega approved a law according to which “traitors of the homeland lose the quality of Nicaraguan citizens”. As it implies a change in the state constitution, the measure will require a second legislative approval later in the year, which is taken for granted.

Bishop Rolando Álvarez de Matagalpa did not accept exile and was instead thrown into the notorious Modelo prison to serve a sentence of 26 years and 4 months after being found guilty of treason, spreading false news and undermining the integrity of the nation.

“Let them go free, I’ll pay the penalty,” said Álvarez referring to the 222 deportees.

The Ortega regime has jailed hundreds of its political opponents as part of a crackdown that followed 2018 protests against the dictator, who has ruled since 2007 through a series of rigged elections.

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