The journalist and director of Confidencial and Esta Semana, Carlos F Chamorro, confirmed that he left Nicaragua for the second time, after the Ortega Police raided his home on Monday night, June 21.
“My wife Desiree Elizondo and I left Nicaragua to safeguard our freedom. The exercise of journalism and reporting the truth is not a crime. I will continue to do journalism, in freedom, from outside Nicaragua,” wrote Chamorro on his Twitter account.
Carlos F Chamorro reported that after the police raid on his home, the Police besieged the houses of several relatives and workers from his home.
“Three vehicles with civilians on board kept surveillance outside the house of my mother, Violeta Barrios de Chamorro, until 6:00 am today,” he explained.
“I demand that the police harassment against my relatives and co-workers cease,” insisted Chamorro.
The director of Confidencial demanded “the release of 19 electoral hostages of the regime, and more than 120 other political prisoners.” “We demand the lifting of the police state, and that freedom of assembly and mobilization, of the press and expression be restored,” he insisted.
During the raid on his home on Monday night Carlos F Chamorro stated: “We demand respect for the physical integrity of my sister-in-law Amelia Elizondo, Amparo and Álvaro, the security guard.”
Desiree Elizondo, the journalist’s wife, explained on the same social network that police from six patrol vehicles entered the residence at 8:30 at night. “Like thieves, they enter at night and under protection of weapons,” she wrote.
Chamorro warned in his most recent op-ed, published in Confidencial on June 8, that Ortega began to execute “a new coup d’état against the constitutional right of Nicaraguans to elect and be elected in freedom.”
“The repressive upsurge will not stop in the coming months. All Nicaraguans are defenseless, we are all hostages of the dictatorship,” the journalist predicted.
Sports writer Miguel Mendoza arrested
An hour after the raid onCarlos F Chamorro’s home, the Police reported on the arrest of sports journalist Miguel Mendoza, who is supposedly being “investigated” in the context of the catch-all Law 1055, on the “Defense in Rights of the People to Independence, Sovereignty and Self-Determination for Peace.”
According to the Police, Mendoza allegedly committed “acts that undermine independence, sovereignty and self-determination.” In addition to “inciting foreign interference in internal affairs, requesting military interventions, organizing with financing from foreign powers to carry out acts of terrorism and destabilization, proposing and managing economic, commercial and financial blockades against the country and its institutions.”
In addition, the Police justified the arrest of the sportswriter saying he “requested, exalted and applauded the imposition of sanctions against the State of Nicaragua and its citizens, and harm the supreme interests of the nation,” in accordance with the first article of the so-called “Sovereignty Law.”
In recent weeks, the regime of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo has jailed 20 opposition leaders and businesspeople and raided countless homes without a court order. It has also interrogated dozens of journalists, media owners and people from the business sector, in a repressive upsurge which happens just five months before the November presidential elections.
Another detainee on Monday night was María Fernanda Flores, former legislator and wife of ex-president Arnoldo Aleman. She remains at home under police custody. She is also being investigated for “treason to the homeland” within the framework of the catch-all “Sovereignty Law.”
The Rapporteur for freedom of expression of the IACHR, Pedro Vaca, denounced that authoritarianism in Nicaragua aims to “persecute all voices that do not agree with this barbarity. They are raiding the house of Carlos F Chamorro in another attempt to hide the truth.”
Vaca added that “the darkness in which the regime operates is afraid of the light of independent journalism. The public space in Nicaragua deteriorates daily, with an enormous cost to civil and political liberties. My support for the brave people who demand freedom and my emphatic demand for their rights to be ensured.”
Meanwhile, PEN International called on the Nicaraguan authorities to “stop the attacks and threats against critical journalists.”
The assaults on Confidencial’s journalism
On May 20, the police of the Ortega dictatorship raided the recording studio of the programs Esta Semana and Esta Noche, directed by Chamorro. The facility had been provisionally set-up in a small space in the Invercasa Corporative Center, after the assault and confiscation of the newsroom of Confidencial and its’ TV production studio, in December 2018.
Chamorro said then “we will not be silent. They can steal our television cameras, other equipment. They can occupy our premises where we had made some productions, but we are going to continue reporting. Our journalists will not be silenced.”
“The newsroom of Confidencial is not in our confiscated media outlet, neither is it in this place, which has been assaulted by the police in a futile act, because it will never be able to confiscate journalism. Because they will never be able to silence this media outlet. And here we are, doing journalism, reporting,” he emphasized.
This article was originally published in Spanish in Confidencial and translated by Havana Times