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Nicaraguan expatriates to join forces in opposition to Daniel Ortega

Nicaraguan expatriates to join forces in opposition to Daniel Ortega

Representatives from half a dozen Nicaraguan political and other expatriate organizations on Friday announced the creation of a new, united effort to bolster opposition against Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega.
The Central American country's expat groups, many of whom are based in Miami, have long been splintered, but about a dozen leaders from immigrant rights organizations, two liberal opposition parties and the Nicaraguan American Chamber of Commerce pledged to work more closely to support civil rights in the Central American country during a meeting at the offices of U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a Florida Republican.
Ros-Lehtinen's chief of staff, Artuor Estopinan, said the Congresswoman supported their efforts because she was concerned about Ortega's close ties to Iran, Cuba and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.
Ortega came to power during the 1979 Sandinista revolution and led the country's Marxist government for nearly a decade, despite U.S.-funded efforts to topple him. During that period the opposition also used Miami as a base to oppose Ortega.
Ortega was re-elected president in 2006.
The opposition groups cited as their chief concern the Nicaraguan Supreme Court's recent decision in support of neighborhood councils that will report directly to President Daniel Ortega. They say the councils are a return to Cuban-inspired citizen groups that Ortega used as his eyes and ears when he was president two decades ago while battling the U.S.-funded Contra rebels. Ortega and his supporters maintain the councils are an expression of local democracy.
Chamber of Commerce head Armando Arana said the groups were also concerned about attacks on journalists, including the brief detention Wednesday of Nicaraguan reporter Jorge Loaisiga by members of Ortega's security team as he rushed to interview the U.S. ambassador.
The Nicaraguan government said the officers were not aware that Loaisiga was a member of the press.
"It's a violation," said Arana, a former Nicaraguan diplomat in Costa Rica, "but what is more worrisome is the government's defense of the action."
Doctor Salvador Marin, a former Contra member, said he hopes those outside of Nicaragua can help raise money and support for civic greater participation in the countryside.
"We will do all that the people will let us do," said Marin.
Although still in its infancy, the loose coalition plans to recruit support from the Nicaraguan expatriate communities in Texas, California and New York as well.


Updated : 2021-05-18 15:41 GMT+08:00