In late 2021, three decades after the end of Nicaragua’s civil war, the government cracked down harshly on opposition parties and staged a rigged election that confirmed President Daniel Ortega’s intention to establish a dynastic authoritarian regime. Thousands have fled the country since 2018, when a mass uprising spurred by an unpopular reform to the social security system was met with state violence, resulting in hundreds of deaths. Through its fieldwork and advocacy, Crisis Group seeks to contribute to a negotiated exit from the crisis and prevent further bloodshed.

CrisisWatch Nicaragua

Unchanged Situation

Crackdown on dissent continued, ruling party claimed victory in regional polls, and Managua strengthened ties with China.

Crackdown on civil society and religious organisations persisted. Authorities 5 March closed fifteen NGOs and one university amid ongoing crackdown on civil society. Religious persecution also continued: according to report presented 6 March before Human Rights Council in Geneva, authorities have detained 55 religious figures and exiled 44 since April 2018. Regime 12 March proposed suspending relations with Vatican after Pope Francis 10 March called govt a “dictatorship” led by an “unbalanced” president. Authorities 27 March convicted eleven pastors who work with U.S.-based missionary group to between twelve and fifteen years in prison on money laundering charges.

Ruling party won local polls in autonomous Caribbean regions. Local elections 3 March took place in Nicaragua’s two autonomous regions, which are located along eastern Caribbean Coast and home to number of Indigenous groups. Ahead of poll, Inter-American Commission on Human Rights 23 Feb released report expressing concern about unfair electoral conditions, notably citing govt’s cancellation of Indigenous party YATAMA’s legal status and detention of party leaders, Brooklyn Rivera and Nancy Henriquez. Ruling party 4 March claimed victory in polls, which saw low turnout and were marked by incidents of violence and voter coercion around polling stations.

West imposed more restrictions on Nicaragua. U.S. 14 March imp0sed arms restrictions on Nicaragua, 21 March sanctioned Attorney General Wendy Carolina Morales Urbina for her role in govt’s “unjust persecution of political prisoners and civil society”. Amid growing pressure from West, Nicaragua continued to strengthen ties with China and Russia. Notably, delegation from Chinese People’s Association for Peace and Disarmament 11 March visited Nicaragua to strengthen cooperation. 

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In The News

14 fév 2023
[Nicaraguan President Ortega] would prefer to revert to a steady, low-level authoritarian government in which there are perhaps none of the more visible forms of abuses b... Los Angeles Times

Ivan Briscoe

Senior Director for Policy

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