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Judy Butler: I Was Not "Humberto Ortega’s Translator"

The journalist and translator said:"The police did not interrogate me, accuse me, nor present a warrant. They deported me, and I still do not know why"

American Judy Butler celebrates her 80th birthday in Nicaragua. Photo: Taken from Havana Times

Redacción Confidencial

23 de mayo 2024


U.S. translator Judy Butler, 83 years old, still does not know the reasons for her illegal and sudden deportation from Nicaragua on Tuesday night, May 21, 2024. The journalist also stated that, in her more than 40 years as a translator, she has provided her services to dozens of state institutions, international agencies, companies, and individuals, and that she was not "Humberto Ortega's translator", to whom in eight years she only translated a book -which was not published- and an opinion article.

From the United States, Judy Butler told CONFIDENCIAL that at 1 p.m. on Tuesday, seven police officers, including several women and "plainclothes agents," arrived at her home and indicated that "they wanted to enter her house." Once inside, they ordered her to "pack a small bag because they were taking her to the airport to deport her."

The US citizen, who has lived in Nicaragua for 41 years, asked the reasons for the search and deportation, but they gave her no reason. "They did not interrogate me, did not accuse me, and did not present a warrant. Until now, I still do not know why I was deported," said Judy Butler.

The only thing they asked her was if she lived alone, to which she answered affirmatively. They also asked if the house was owned or rented and took photos of the home.

The police confiscated her two cell phones, while her computer and all her personal belongings remained in her house in Ticuantepe, on the outskirts of Managua.

The officers took her to a Police Immigration office, where they kept her for more than four hours before taking her to Managua’s international airport. "Again, I asked why they were deporting me, and they never responded or told me where they were sending me," the translator emphasized.

Two Translations for Humberto Ortega

Judy Butler stated that seven or eight years ago, she had her first work relationship with retired General Humberto Ortega, for whom she translated a book at the request of former deputy Luis Humberto Guzmán, who intended to publish the text in his publishing house, although "the book translated into English was never published."

Judy recalled that on Monday, May 13, 2024, "Luis Humberto Guzmán again came to her house to request her to translate an 800-word opinion article by Humberto Ortega, titled “What to Do”, which was published (in Spanish) in the newspaper La Prensa."

Butler accepted the job, and the former deputy put her in contact with an assistant of Humberto Ortega, to whom she delivered the translation that "was supposedly going to be distributed among the networks of friends and contacts" of the former Army chief.

Humberto Ortega has been under "de facto house arrest" since Sunday, May 19, 2024, when an interview was published in the Argentine media Infobae, in which he stated that his older brother, Daniel Ortega, has no suitable successors. This statement angered Vice President Rosario Murillo, according to Sandinista dissidents.

Judy Butler insisted that she was not "Humberto Ortega’s translator," nor his "occasional translator," as the media has reported.

Judy Butler’s Clients

Butler explained that as a professional translator, she has provided her services to various state institutions, private companies, national and international NGOs, United Nations agencies, and other cooperation agencies.

She has also been a translator of English subtitles for films produced by "Camila Films," and several TV series.

Among her clients, she listed a wide range of people and companies, including an advertising company linked to Laureano Ortega Murillo, son of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo, president and vice president of Nicaragua.

She emphasized that between 1977 and 1983, she was the editor of the Report on the Americas of the North American Congress on Latin America (NACLA), an NGO of social scholars who analyze Latin America's relations with the United States. In Nicaragua, she has also worked for the magazines Wani and Envío, the latter belonging to the confiscated Central American University (UCA).

This article was published in Spanish in Confidencial and translated by Havana Times. To get the most relevant news from our English coverage delivered straight to your inbox, subscribe to The Dispatch.


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Redacción Confidencial

Redacción Confidencial

Confidencial es un diario digital nicaragüense, de formato multimedia, fundado por Carlos F. Chamorro en junio de 1996. Inició como un semanario impreso y hoy es un medio de referencia regional con información, análisis, entrevistas, perfiles, reportajes e investigaciones sobre Nicaragua, informando desde el exilio por la persecución política de la dictadura de Daniel Ortega y Rosario Murillo.