US asks for dialogue in rare contact with Nicaraguan dictatorship after deportation of political prisoners

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The head of American diplomacy, Antony Blinken, spoke this Friday (10) with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Nicaragua, Denis Moncada, and discussed the importance of a dialogue between the two countries to build a better future for the people of Nicaragua , reported the US government.

The call came a day after more than 200 Nicaraguan political prisoners were released and deported to the United States. Almost all were government critics, and had been detained during President Daniel Ortega’s crackdown on dissent in recent years.

Washington described Managua’s decision as “positive and welcome” and added that it remains steadfast in encouraging measures to “restore civil liberties and democracy to the Nicaraguan people.”

The US claims that the release was a unilateral decision by the Ortega government and that Washington limited itself to “facilitating the transport of these people once freed”. Everyone was required to sign a document saying they agreed to travel voluntarily. Two refused, including the Catholic bishop Rolando Álvarez, sentenced this Friday to 26 years in prison.

Described by Managua as “traitors to the homeland”, the dissidents are allowed to remain in the United States on humanitarian grounds for two years, during which time they will receive medical and legal assistance.

They were stripped of their political rights, stripped of their nationality and sent to the United States at a time when Ortega is under pressure from his government’s growing authoritarianism. He denied that the mass release was the result of a negotiation with Washington, which imposed sanctions on Managua for the crackdown after the 2018 anti-government protests.

The release of opponents partly meets one of the main demands of civil society since the country began to persecute and arrest those who opposed the regime of dictator Daniel Ortega, in power in the Central American country since 2007.

In the late 1970s, Ortega was one of the leaders of the Sandinista Revolution that overthrew the Somoza dictatorship. After the fall of the dynasty, he participated in the first junta that led the country, between 1979 and 1990, when he peacefully left power. He returned to the Presidency in the late 2000s and since then has tried to make the opposition unfeasible.

In the 2021 elections, when he was reappointed to office for the fourth consecutive time, the seven opposition candidates were arrested, accused of money laundering and treason to the homeland.

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