Biden’s administration sent a note to Congress advising it that over 200 Nicaraguan political prisoners had been released and were being sent to the United States. According to the note, the U.S. “facilitated their transport and entry into the United States.”
Around noon Eastern, the detainees arrived in Washington, D.C.
Expat Nicaraguans fleeing their country were joyful. Javier Alvarez (68) heard from Nicaraguan activists Thursday morning that his wife Jeannine, Ana Carolina, and Felix Roig, were among the liberated prisoners. This was completely unexpected. It seems that secret talks took place, and they were able to achieve this.
Nicaragua is among the poorest countries in Latin America and its economy is in disarray. Many thousands of Nicaraguans have fled their country to illegally enter the United States.
According to their families, the conditions they endured in jail were some of the worst in Latin America. For months, they were not allowed to visit their families or their children. Family members claimed that many were denied books and writing materials. One was allowed to read the label on a toothpaste tube. Prisoners had very limited access to sunlight and fresh air. Some prisoners lost weight and became weaker.
Hugo Torres (73), was a prisoner who died in captivity.
Many of the inmates had intended to run against Ortega in the 2021 elections. They were taken into custody before the balloting and Ortega won a fourth term.
According to Nicaragua’s Judicial Council, the prisoners were declared “traitors of the nation” by the government and taken of their citizenship and nationality.
According to the administration, all prisoners have been screened and vetted by the FBI and will be screened by U.S. Customs and Border Protection again upon their arrival.
One administration official said to the Post that the Nicaraguan government’s decision was a positive and welcomed one. “We will continue to encourage the government of Nicaragua’s further steps in restoring civil liberties and democracy to the Nicaraguan people.”
Most often, the release of prisoners is a prelude to some type of economic deal or lifting of sanctions. Nicaragua’s long-serving dictator Daniel Ortega would welcome both of these actions. His radical left policies have pushed the country’s economy to the ground.
He has been leading a wave against repression since he crushed a national anti-government uprising that was launched in 2018. Nearly all his political opponents were imprisoned along with leaders of the business community and human rights activists, and even priests of the Catholic faith. The government has closed down around 3,000 nongovernmental media organizations and independent media outlets.
Recently, the government began to jail family members of perceived enemies. Alvarez was a family member of political prisoners and was being sought by police to be arrested. Alvarez had fled before the police could arrest him. Alvarez stated that security forces took his wife, daughter, and son-in-law into custody, even though they weren’t involved in any political activity. They were sentenced last month to lengthy prison terms.
Regardless of what Democrats may say about Ortega now, he was a left-wing hero back when the left cheered for a Sandanista overthrow. Nicaragua was subsequently ravaged by the executions, jailings, and executions of Ortega and his cutthroats as well as the implementation of a Communist economic system that made it one of the most troubled countries in the Western Hemisphere.