The 15-room Casablanca Hotel was confiscated on Monday, January 29 through a de facto seizure. The National Police showed up at the hotel in San Juan del Sur, claiming to be there on behalf of the Attorney General's Office and took possession of the facilities, evicting the guests and all the staff.
The hotel, located in the tourist town of San Juan del Sur, is owned by Rafaela Cerda, mother of former Supreme Court Justice Rafael Solís Cerda, who was declared a traitor to the country, denationalized and had his assets confiscated along with 93 other people on February 15, 2023, and is currently living in exile in Costa Rica.
At the same time, the regime's police force took over the adjacent land that served as a parking lot and where the Alamo-Rent Car facilities were located. This rental car business was also evicted, as was the restaurant in front of the hotel, which was leased to an Italian businessperson.
The mother of the former judge had purchased the hotel more than 20 years ago from Solis, according to sources linked to the family, and she had managed it as owner and manager since 1999, until a few years ago when she left the management for age and health reasons.
After suffering a heart attack, she retired to her home in Managua, but retained ownership of the property. She is 93 years old and has not been involved in politics, nor has she been subject to confiscation in any judicial decree or resolution.
The property that the hotel is located on was owned by Dr. Francisco Urcuyo Maliaños, former President and Somoza's successor in July 1979. It was confiscated by the Sandinista government in the eighties but returned to Urcuyo Maliaños in 1992, and subsequently sold to his nephew Rafael Solís Cerda that same year.
The confiscation of property against the elderly Mrs. Rafaela Cerda is not the first case against relatives of political prisoners or exiles of the group of 94 Nicaraguans stripped of their nationality. Many of them have had properties confiscated by de facto means, without being indicated in any of the illegal confiscation decrees. However, the case attracted attention in San Juan del Sur, where Mrs. Cerda was well known because she resided in that tourist city for more than 20 years.
Former Justice Solís defected from the ranks of the regime in January 2019, generating a political earthquake in the FSLN leadership given his closeness to Ortega, whose reelection he promoted in a ruling of the Constitutional Court, which he integrated as part of the Sandinista Front bloc in the Supreme Court of Justice.
The confiscation of the Casablanca Hotel followed the same script observed in the theft of other properties: police officers -sometimes accompanied by agents of the Attorney General's Office, or simply claiming to be acting on their behalf- presented themselves at the building, proceeding to take possession by force, without presenting any legal document authorizing them to do so.