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Public Employees: "We're Hostages to Ortega and Murillo's Chain of Command"

"Most of us have not been involved in perpetrating acts of repression. The regime represses us and imposes intense political surveillance" they say

Daniel Ortega with Rosario Murillo during the ceremony marking the 90th anniversary of the assassination of Augusto C. Sandino // Photo: Presidential Office

Redacción Confidencial

19 de marzo 2024


The recent report of the Group of Experts on Human Rights in Nicaragua (GHREN) identified the structure and chains of command within the different institutions, branches, and agencies of the State to identify the direct perpetrators of violations, abuses, and crimes against humanity. 

According to the report, "The Group identified that the President and the Vice President [Daniel Ortega and  Rosario Murillo, respectively] give orders and instructions –directly or through trusted advisors– to the different state institutions that then have to carry out repressive acts against real or perceived political opponents and members of their families." 

State workers consulted by CONFIDENCIAL denounced that they receive "orders from above" and claimed that most of them are also "victims and hostages" of the repression. These public employees say that "the orders come from Managua," about the fact that these are orders from Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo, "and all we can do is bow our heads and obey them," says Estela, a secondary school teacher from the south of the country.

 "They are holding us hostage"

Estela says that many teachers have resigned due to pressure as well as "the manipulation" of public education by the Ortega-Murillo regime.  

"For example, we have been instructed to take courses on how to handle firearms because they want us to know how to handle weapons in case they need soldiers to defend the dictatorship," says Estela.  

Estela acknowledges that her orders come through the director of the school where she works, but at the same time, they are transmitted by the delegates of the Ministry of Education. "We also receive orders from the Federation of Sandinista Students who are part of the repression against teachers and students," she explains.  

"We might even get an order to pass a particular student…. Without a doubt, they're holding us as public employees hostage and they do what they want with us," complains Estela, who says that the generalized persecution in Nicaragua "also affects the majority of government workers." 

"Fake trials are manufactured"

"Political revenge against opponents is ordered from El Carmen [Ortega and Murillo's residence], and the person in charge of communicating about it has been a high-level judge like Marvin Aguilar," says Miguel, a judicial branch worker.

Although Miguel has not been directly involved in the trials against political prisoners –because his work is more linked to the management of judicial files–, he affirms that "there are indeed judges who are more servile or loyal to the dictatorship." Most trials "are structured by a repressive machinery within the Judiciary. That is why they all follow the same script," he says.

"We are being repressed"

Nazarena, who works in a health center in Granada, affirms she has never been involved in perpetrating any act of repression against the people and that the situation is the opposite – that health personnel have been pressured by the Ortega-Murillo regime to act under orders, such as "when we denied that there had been so many deaths due to the Covid-19 pandemic."

"The majority of public workers have not been involved in perpetrating acts of repression, [but] we are repressed for protesting, and they have imposed intense political surveillance on us," says Nazarena

Nazarena explains that they can't protest against these kinds of outrage and such was the case when the reduction of severance pay for public employees was announced. "It is a tremendous violation of our labor rights, but our hands are tied," she complains.Nazarena says that when they complain to their superiors, they are always told that they "receive orders from above, too." She says that "all public employees are victims of the chain of command of Ortega's and Murillo's persecution and repression against all of Nicaragua, including those they call their own workers."

This article was published in Spanish in Confidencial and translated by our staff. 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.