At least 480 intellectuals, artists, journalists, and politicians from around the world have signed a manifesto -entitled “They are and will be Nicaraguans”-, in which they express their solidarity with the more than 300 Nicaraguans whose nationality has been taken away by the regime of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo.
In the text, they detail some of the abuses and human rights violations committed by the dictatorship against Nicaraguan citizens, universities, and independent media.
They highlight that 317 Nicaraguans were stripped of their nationality in the span of a week, including writers Sergio Ramirez and Gioconda Belli, and recall that 222 political prisoners were released and exiled to the United States on February 9.
“We urge the international community to speak out and take an active role in all actions that may lead to the cessation of abuses and human rights violations committed by the Ortega-Murillo regime,” they emphasize.
“We also urge the Nicaraguan government to stop the repression against its people,” they conclude.
Among the signatories are Nobel Literature Prize winners Mario Vargas Llosa of Peru and Orhan Pamuk of Turkey; Princess of Asturias award winners Paul Auster and Siri Hustvedt; writers Elena Poniatowska, Salman Rushdie, Michael Ondaatje, Jonathan Franzen, Samanta Schweblin, Junot Díaz, Rosa Montero, Muriel Barbery, Laura Restrepo, Margo Glantz, and Héctor Abad Faciolince.
Also signing the list are the outstanding photographer Susan Maiselas, who captured episodes of the Sandinista revolution; former Panamanian minister and singer-songwriter Rubén Blades; and journalists Carmen Aristegui, Leila Guerriero, Winston Manrique, Jon Lee Anderson, Lydia Cacho, Oscar Martínez, Javier Rodríguez Marcos, Martín Caparrós, Berna González Harbour and Juan Cruz.
Also present are the former presidents of Costa Rica, Luis Guillermo Solís (2014-2018) and Carlos Alvarado Quesada (2018-2022).
The letter states:
They are and will be Nicaraguans
We, the signatories, express our concern for the recent actions of the Nicaraguan government and stand in solidarity with the Nicaraguan citizens who have been stripped of their nationality.
On February 9, 2023, the government of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo, after modifying the Nicaraguan constitution, stripped 222 political prisoners of their nationality, including university students, political activists, peasant leaders, priests, and journalists. On February 15, another 92 Nicaraguans were stripped of their nationality, among them writer and Cervantes Prize winner Sergio Ramirez and renowned poet Gioconda Belli. These acts violate the fundamental human right to have a nationality and the prohibition to arbitrarily deprive any human being of his or her nationality, considered in Article 13 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 20 of the American Convention on Human Rights.
In recent years at least eighteen universities have been arbitrarily closed as a form of control in the face of the 2018 student rebellion that left 328 dead, nearly 2 thousand injured and hundreds detained. Daniel Ortega's government has also eliminated the legal status of more than 3 thousand non-governmental organizations, including those defending human and women's rights. Twenty-six media outlets have been closed and more than two hundred journalists have been forced into exile. As if that were not enough, international human rights bodies, including the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, have been banned from entering the country since 2018.
We urge the international community to speak out and take an active role in all actions that can lead to the cessation of abuses and human rights violations committed by the Ortega-Murillo regime, We also urge the Nicaraguan government to stop the repression against its people.
This article was originally published in Spanish in Confidencial and translated by our