The Nicaraguan philosopher, sociologist and professor Freddy Quezada, highly critical of Daniel Ortega’s regime, was arrested in Managua by the National Police, student groups denounced.
Quezada, 65, and trainer of generations of Nicaraguan journalists and sociologists, was arrested on Wednesday afternoon at his home, south of Managua, denounced the Bridges Initiative for Nicaraguan Students in a press release.
Quezada was fired from the state-run National Autonomous University of Nicaragua in 2018 for showing solidarity with students who demonstrated against the Ortega regime over controversial social security reforms and criticizing the use of force by the State. He has been a sharp critic of the dictatorship on his social networks, where he signs himself as “Uliteo.”
In one of his latest publications on his social network account he criticized the show put on by the dictatorship to exhibit in photos and a video of the imprisoned bishop Rolando Alvarez, sentenced last February to more than 26 years in prison.
The bishop was exhibited inside the La Modelo prison, a maximum-security prison, where, according to the regime, he is receiving “preferential” confinement conditions.
“The dictatorship imprisoned 222 people who were later released and expatriated (to the US). They have all told of their experience and the scenes they suffered, [many in La Modelo]. How does this lying dictatorship think that someone could believe that staged showing of Bishop Rolando Alvarez”, Quezada reasoned.
“Persecution against the university community continues”
In their statement, the student group expressed “its strongest rejection and condemnation of the recent arbitrary detention of the respected professor,” and demanded his “immediate release.”
“This flagrant action represents a clear violation of academic freedom and constitutes a grim reminder of the continued persecution against the university community that does not align with the Sandinista regime in our country,” he said.
The students highlighted that the professor is “recognized for his dedication to teaching communication and social sciences, as well as promoting critical thinking.”
Professor Quezada “has been detained without solid legal grounds, a characteristic of the alarming violation of fundamental rights in Nicaragua,” they argued.
Likewise, the students observed that “this unfortunate episode not only attacks the physical and emotional integrity of the professor, but also sheds light on the persistent policy of repression towards those who exercise their right to freedom of expression.”
The student group urged the international community, human rights organizations and all people committed to freedom and justice, to “unite in the demand for the immediate release of Prof. Freddy Quezada and to continue to strongly reject any form of persecution against the Nicaraguan university community.”
Who is Freddy Quezada?
The Nicaraguan University Alliance also denounced the professor’s detention and demanded his freedom.
Quezada was described as “a brilliant professor and lifelong insubordinate intellectual” by feminist and opposition activist Sofía Montenegro.
“He was the best professor I had at university in Nicaragua, a guy who encouraged critical thinking, a lover of freedom,” wrote sports writer Camilo Velasquez.
The released and banished activist Samantha Jirón wrote that Quezada is “a great, brilliant teacher and one of the professors who most promoted critical thinking and freedom in his students.”
Professor Juan Carlos Gutierrez said that Quezada is “one of the best professors, as irreverent as he is brilliant.”
“Thinking is alarming for those who were born without the ability to do so,” wrote opposition Dr. Anely Perez Molina. The National Police, led by Francisco Diaz, Ortega’s relative by marriage, has not referred to this arrest.
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.