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Ortega violates Immigration Law by granting citizenship to propagandist Benjamin Norton

Interior Ministry says he has lived in Nicaragua since 2021, but legislation establishes “four years of residence” to naturalize the US citizen

Benjamin Norton

Benjamin Norton receives from Ramona Rodriguez Perez, rector of UNAN-Managua, an “honorary title as distinguished visitor,” in June 2021. Photo: Taken from UNAN-Managua.

Redacción Confidencial

15 de agosto 2023


Propagandist Benjamin Daniel Norton became a Nicaraguan this Monday, August 14, 2023, after the dictatorship of Daniel Ortega illegally gave him citizenship. The same citizenship has been taken away from 317 Nicaraguan opponents, who have been banished and forced into exile.

Norton, also a US citizen, presents himself as a “researcher,” “writer,” and “investigative journalist,” although his main work in recent years has been as a propagandist for regimes such as the Nicaraguan and Venezuelan. Additionally, he maintains ties with pro-Russian media.

Norton’s citizenship was granted by the Interior Ministry (MIGOB), official as of Monday, August 14 when published in the official newspaper “La Gazette.” It identifies the propagandist as a “US citizen, of legal age, journalist, single, born in the city of Peru, Indiana, United States of America, identified with passport 568175984, Nicaraguan permanent residence card No. 000065503.”

The resolution was signed onAugust 10 by Brigade Commander Juan Emilio Rivas Benites, Head of MIGOB’s Immigration Office.

Infringement of Immigration Law

According to the document, Norton complied with all the Constitution’s “requirements and formalities” to obtain citizenship, “taking into account that he has been a permanent resident in this country since April 16, 2021, continuously and uninterruptedly and has relationship bonds with a Nicaraguan.”

However, the Nicaraguan legislation establishes a minimum of two years of residence in the country to obtain citizenship, in the case of Central Americans or natives of Spain. Four years are required for citizens of other countries.

Nicaraguan Immigration Law stipulates that the Nicaraguan nationality “may be acquired by foreigners who prove to be residents for four years from the date of obtaining a permanent resident card, and after renouncing the nationality of origin or acquired.”

Based on this article, Norton could only obtain citizenship as of April 2025, after completing four years in Nicaragua and renouncing his US citizenship.

Norton interviewed Ortega in 2019

Benjamin Norton became known in Nicaragua for an interview —together with his colleague Max Blumenthal— with the Nicaraguan dictator in 2019.

Both “journalists” showed their admiration for Ortega and the Sandinista revolution, and adhered to the official narrative that the April 2018 protests were an attempted “coup.” He has never referred to the hundreds of deaths and the crimes against humility committed by the dictatorship.

From then on, Norton became a frequent guest of pro-government activities and a source for the Ortega propaganda media to attack US “imperialism” and praise the dictatorship.

In 2021, Norton presented an alleged “investigation” into the sponsorship of the United States to overthrow the government of Ortega and Rosario Murillo.

“It is very important to study the coup d’état as that model of strategies that imperialism carries out in several Latin American countries,” Norton said in a presentation at the government controlled National Autonomous University of Nicaragua (UNAN-Managua), in June 2021.

In November of that year, Norton participated as a “companion” in the electoral farce set up by the dictatorship to re-elect Ortega and Murillo. However, in a slip-up he acknowledged the low voter turnout.

“I went to four voting centers and in three there were no lines. In one of the centers there was a line, but not very long, maybe five or six people,” Norton said in an interview with the official Channel 6 TV.

This article was originally published in Spanish in Confidencial and translated by Havana Times.


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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.