Last weekend, former diplomat Arturo Cruz, who defends the right-wing CXL party, was received at Managua airport after his return from the United States and placed in protective custody by police. He was accused of posing a “danger to society and civil rights.” Earlier, Ortega’s government marginalized the opposition People’s Democratic Party by withdrawing its legal status.
The United States called on all countries to treat Ortega as a “dictator” from now on. “The arbitrary arrest of presidential candidate Felix Maradiaga – the third opposition leader in Nicaragua to be arrested in ten days – should remove any remaining doubts about Ortega’s credibility as a dictator,” said Julia Chung, the top US diplomat for Latin America. “The international community can’t help but treat him as such.”
The presidential elections in the Central American country take place in November. The former left-wing revolutionary Ortega has been in power since 2007, and his wife was appointed vice president. The government has been cracking down on dissent for several years. In 2018, demonstrations were violently suppressed. At least 100,000 Nicaraguans have since fled.