Regime retracts and will allow entry of tourists with cameras and TV cameras

To travel with photography equipment, the government demanded a permit from an institution directed by the former daughter-in-law of the ruling couple

Dictator Daniel Ortega presides over a ceremony in Managua on December 31, 2022. Photo: Presidency

28 de enero 2023


The dictatorship of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo backtracked on the decision to prohibit tourists from traveling to Nicaragua with binoculars and photography and video cameras. The state decision to reverse the measure came two days after it was made public and caused an outcry in national and international news. The measure was originally adopted in mid-January by the General Directorate of Customs Services (DGSA).

"The first information has to do with the decision that our commander Daniel (Ortega) has transferred to the General Directorate of Customs to eliminate all obstacles to the introduction of photographic or filming equipment for those who visit our blessed Nicaragua," commented Vice President Rosario Murillo in her midday address.

On January 16, 2023, an order issued by Customs authorized the retention of equipment without a permit for the entry of professional equipment from the National Cinematheque, directed by Idania Castillo, ex-wife of Juan Carlos Ortega Murillo, son of the ruling couple.

Under the measure, tourists could only bring in one photographic device and one pair of binoculars. In the case of the binoculars, they needed a “non-regulation certificate” , so that the items would not be retained.

Murillo argued that "there are many people who are coming here (Nicaragua) to make documentaries", so "there are no restrictions for the introduction of filming or photographic equipment".

According to the vice-president, Ortega's decision is based on the fact that there are more and more people interested in visiting Nicaragua, bird watching and touring the beauties of the nation in a supposedly safe country.

However, Nicaragua lives in a de facto police state that has violated the right of all Nicaraguans to freedom of assembly and association. There are currently 235 prisoners of conscience in the country, while Ortega clings to power and claims he is the victim of interventionism in internal politics, without responding to the human rights abuses committed by his regime.

Medrano is ordered to retract his statement

Murillo said that the director of the DGSA, Eddy Medrano, will be sending this Friday afternoon, January 27, a new disposition complying with the new order that reverses a disposition that provoked severe national and international criticism.

One of the lifted restrictions was that tourists could bring in only one photography device and one pair of binoculars and, if they travelled with more, they would be subject to the respective tax obligations.

The DGSA had already published a list of 140 pieces of equipment and 90 accessories that required permission to enter Nicaragua. Among these were 90 models of photographic cameras and some 50 types of film and video cameras.

Among the camera brands listed were Nikon, Sony and Canon. Many of these provisions, according to sources consulted, were in fact carried out by the dictatorship, uncomfortable that there were more witnesses disclosing the situation of repression in Nicaragua.

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


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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.


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