Minutes before Cristiana Chamorro began a conference last Wednesday to denounce that the president of Nicaragua, Daniel Ortega , had blocked her option to run as an opposition presidential candidate , a contingent of special police troops broke into her home with violence.
The property, located south of Managua, is surrounded by a lush garden that has ornamental figures built with the weapons of the armed conflict that the mother of the opponent, the former president Violeta Barrios, managed to end in 1990, the year in which she defeated at the polls the current president.
This Thursday, the uncertainty at Cristiana Chamorro’s house continued. The officers of the Judicial Assistance Directorate kept the property fenced, and Chamorro is held incommunicado with her daughter and the service personnel, under police surveillance and in a situation comparable to house arrest.
Cristiana Chamorro, 65, a journalist by profession, seasoned as a reporter for the newspaper La Prensa , of which she is vice president, has proposed to repeat the feat of her mother, based on the moral legacy of the ex-president and her father, the journalist Pedro Joaquín Chamorro, shot to death in 1978 by the Somoza dictatorship.
The parents of the now vetoed presidential candidate are a benchmark of democracy and freedom in Nicaragua in the face of dictatorships and authoritarian regimes that have plagued this country for more than half a century. Civility and the defense of public liberties is the hallmark of the Chamorro Barrios, a family that includes well-known journalists such as Carlos Fernando Chamorro , brother of the presidential candidate, director of the digitalConfidential and also persecuted by the regime.
Cristiana Chamorro made her presidential hope public last January. In his words, “I say yes to Nicaragua,” he formulated a kind of collective response to an orphan electorate of a figure capable of uniting a divided opposition in the face of the general elections scheduled for next November, when Ortega intends to be reelected for the third time in a row. hand in hand with his wife, the powerful vice president Rosario Murillo .
Until her arrest, the presidential candidacy of Cristiana Chamorro stood as “independent” of the two opposition blocs: the National Coalition and the Citizens for Freedom alliance. With Ortega’s decision to annul the National Coalition – the platform that brings together the most belligerent social sectors during the 2018 social protests – Citizens for Freedom was left as the only alternative for the opposition to compete in the elections.
Cristiana Chamorro , as well as the candidates of the National Coalition, decided to go to Ciudadanos por la Libertad to register in the process and elect a single opposition candidate, she being the most popular among the electorate. Hours after his approach to the political group, the Government, through the Prosecutor’s Office, disqualified Cristiana Chamorro through a statement.
A case of money laundering
The candidacy of Cristiana Chamorro had excited Nicaraguans, judging by the repeated polls that place her as the favorite among the rest of the opposition candidates (21% according to the CID-Gallup results published days before her arrest). Before announcing his aspiration, he resigned from the direction of the Violeta Barrios de Chamorro Foundation, a non-profit organization that he led for 20 years, dedicated to the promotion and strengthening of journalism.independent in Nicaragua with resources from international cooperation.
The work of the NGO became vital as of 2018, when the repression undertaken by Ortega and Murillo confiscated newsrooms and arrested and murdered journalists, as it supported the media to migrate to the digital environment and thus circumvent censorship.
The government was hampered from the first moment by the candidacy of Chamorro due to the force it was taking. Vice President Murillo has attacked her repeatedly this time, using the last name Chamorro (one of the most influential families in Nicaragua) in a derogatory way. “A lot of anointed ones are out there, anointed by whom?
Not even their life trajectory defends them, nor does it make them stand up, they are crouched and sell out, “said the leader a day after the candidate resigned from the direction of the Violeta Foundation. The insults grew and Murillo even stopped pronouncing the candidate’s name in his televised speeches because the word is part of the official government slogan: ” Nicaragua , Cristiana, Socialista y Solidaria.”
The boycott of Cristiana Chamorro’s candidacy began three weeks ago, when the Government ordered the Prosecutor’s Office to initiate an investigation for alleged money laundering against the Violeta Foundation and its former director for alleged inconsistencies in financial reports, and that today have not been able to be proven. Although Chamorro has not been sued, the house arrest he is in already disables his right to run for public office.
From the beginning of the investigation (which incidentally involves more than twenty journalists), Chamorro classified it as a “legal monstrosity”. “It is a revenge by Daniel Ortega against my mother’s legacy. He wants to prevent Nicaraguans from voting and that there is no transfer to democracy ”, he declared.
The final blow of that campaign took place this Wednesday, when Judge Karen Chavarría , loyal to Sandinismo, ordered the search of his home and his arrest. The government decision caused alarms at the national and international level.
Violeta Granera, a veteran Nicaraguan opponent, came to his defense. “Since he showed his willingness to compete with the opposition candidates for a single candidacy, he has aroused sympathy and hope in a good proportion of the population that wants Ortega’s departure through the civic electoral route ,” he said.
“I believe that Cristiana, in the face of this challenge, is showing great inner strength to defy the attacks of the dictatorship. And as important as that, a lot of coherence in upholding the principles that it has declared: that there is internal competition and that there is unity of all the opposition forces ”.