Dictatorial power in Nicaragua, Daniel Ortega, launched a campaign ahead of the November elections, accusing his country’s Catholic bishops of treason. “It’s obvious they are terrorists,” he said. After Ortega’s attack on the Catholic Church, the hitherto deeply divided opposition asked voters on Sunday to boycott the elections.
President Ortega, who is running for a third term as Sandinist National Liberation Front candidate, stated that “the Catholic bishops issued an ultimatum to the government giving us a 24-hour deadline to surrender the country’s judicial, electoral and parliamentary powers.” – In a word, a surrender of everything. In short, it was supposed to be a coup d’état, said the President of Nicaragua.
In this way, Ortega interpreted the initiative taken by the Nicaraguan Catholic Church to defend the foundations of democracy and the opposition politicians arrested under the guise of “high treason”. He further suggested that the Catholic bishops acted “in the interests of the empire” (of the United States) and therefore “are also terrorists”. – It’s obvious they are terrorists. They would be put on trial in another country, said the Nicaraguan dictator, adding that “thank God we will hold the elections in a peaceful manner.”
The opposition calls for a boycott of the elections
Following Ortega’s attack on the Catholic Church, the hitherto deeply divided Nicaraguan opposition called on Sunday with a joint appeal to voters to boycott the elections. In the November vote, the Nicaraguans are to elect 92 deputies to the National Assembly for a five-year term in addition to the president and vice-president.
Opposition representatives agreed on the content of the appeal during a meeting in San Jose, the capital of Costa Rica, where they went to avoid almost certain arrest by Nicaraguan services. The Nicaraguan opposition, in the quoted statement, said that the country ruled by Ortega and his wife as vice president lacks conditions for holding free elections.
The Ortega regime passed reforms in May this year to minimize the possibility of citizens participating in the election campaign, established an election tribunal made up entirely of his supporters, prevented the presence of foreign observers during the vote, and arrested seven of the opposition’s main candidates for the presidency. Thirty other active opposition politicians have also been imprisoned in Nicaragua in the past few months. Among them were also candidates for the elections to the Nicaraguan National Assembly.
Main photo source: JORGE TORRES / EPA / PAP