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“All human beings are born free and equal

in dignity and rights.”

- Universal Declaration of Human Rights

The Ortega Government and the Human Cost of Repression in Nicaragua: Political Prisoners

Wednesday, July 21, 2021 - 2:00pm
Virtual via Cisco WebEx


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).

Hosted by:

Christopher H. Smith
Member of Congress
Co-Chair, TLHRC
James P. McGovern
Member of Congress
Co-Chair, TLHRC

Opening Remarks


Panel I


Submitted for the record



117th Congress