The Ortega Government and the Human Cost of Repression in Nicaragua: Political Prisoners
Please join the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission (TLHRC) for a hearing on human rights violations in Nicaragua since the crackdown on social protests that began in April 2018, with an emphasis on the plight of political prisoners.
In April 2018 the Nicaraguan government responded to widespread citizen protests with repression, prompting the emergence of a broad opposition movement calling for President Daniel Ortega’s resignation and a range of democratic reforms.
Three years later, Ortega remains in office while hundreds of people have been killed, imprisoned or have fled the country. In its 2020 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, the State Department reported “Parapolice and individuals linked to the Ortega regime carried out a campaign of harassment, intimidation, and violence toward perceived enemies of the regime, such as former political prisoners, campesino activists, prodemocracy opposition groups, human rights defenders, and Catholic clergy.”
The government has failed to implement agreements reached under OAS auspices to advance democratic reforms. Now, facing a presidential election in November 2021 that, if held consistent with international standards, Ortega would be unlikely to win, he has initiated another round of repression to remove his political opponents from contention. During the last month, at least 27 opposition figures have been imprisoned, including 6 presidential hopefuls.
Witnesses, including relatives of two of the imprisoned presidential candidates, will discuss the current situation in Nicaragua.
This hearing will be virtual. Pursuant to H. Res. 965, Members of Congress and witnesses will participate remotely via Cisco WebEx. Members of the public and the media may view the hearing by live webcast on the Commission website and will also be available for viewing on the House Digital Channel service. For any questions, please contact Piero Tozzi (for Co-Chair Smith) or Kimberly Stanton (for Co-Chair McGovern).
Member of Congress
Member of Congress
- Rep. Christopher H. Smith, Co-Chair, TLHRC
- Rep. James P. McGovern, Co-Chair, TLHRC
- Bianca Jagger, Chair, Bianca Jagger Human Rights Foundation
- Berta Valle, wife of presidential pre-candidate Félix Maradiaga
- Victoria Cárdenas, wife of presidential pre-candidate Juan Sebastián Chamorro
- Rafael Estrada, President, Nicaraguans for Security and Prosperity Foundation
- Boanerge Fornos, Coordinator, Acción Penal
Submitted for the record
- Dr. Manuel Orozco: Preventing violence, migration and the status quo through international pressure in Nicaragua
- Rayza Hope: Statement
- USCIRF: Report on Nicaragua
- Tiziano Breda, International Crisis Group, "If sanctions failed to solve Nicaragua's crisis, will more sanctions succeed?" Global Americans, July 14, 2021
- Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, "Persons Deprived of Liberty in Nicaragua in connection with the Human Rights Crisis on April 18, 2018," October 5, 2020
- "Joint Statement on the Human Rights Situation in Nicaragua," presented by the Nicaragua Core Group on behalf of 59 countries including the United States at the Human Rights Council, June 22, 2021
- "IACHR and OHCHR Demand an End to Arbitrary Arrests and the Release of All Individuals Detained Since the Start of the Crisis in Nicaragua," July 9, 2021
- Organization of American States, "Resolution on the Situation in Nicaragua," June 15, 2021
- "European Parliament resolution on the situation in Nicaragua," 2021
- "Open Letter to the Nicaragua Goverment From U.S. Solidarity Workers 1979-1990," July 1, 2021
- Open Letter from Scholars and Researchers of Latin American politics and social issues, "Statement of Concern About Increasing Political Repression in Nicaragua Ahead of the 2021 Election"
- "List of Political Figures Detained between May 28 and July 5, 2021," Compiled from Confidencial and the Inter American Human Rights Commission and Court websites.