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Nicaragua News Dark Again: Ortega Blocks OAS Mission, Report Cites More Executions

Alfredo Zuniga
Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega (right) and his wife, Vice President Rosario Murillo in Managu earlier this year

Nicaragua is back in the headlines. The news is once again dark –  and it seems to dash hopes of resolving the Central American country’s long political crisis.

Since early 2018, protesters in Nicaragua have been calling for the removal of President Daniel Ortega. They say he’s turned their country into a corrupt dictatorship – and they accuse his security forces of killing more than 300 people in the ongoing unrest.

Earlier this summer, there was cause for cautious optimism when Ortega released more than 100 political prisoners. A delegation from the Organization of American States was scheduled to visit Nicaragua this week to help broker a settlement to the crisis.

But Ortega has instead blocked the OAS mission from entering the country.

Ortega’s obstruction comes in the wake of a troubling new report by the independent Nicaraguan Center for Human Rights (CENIDH), which charges his regime with continuing the summary executions of protesters. (Ortega has not commented.)

Tens of thousands of Nicaraguans have gone into exile since last year. Most have come to South Florida. One of them – opposition leader Felix Maradiaga, who was beaten by pro-government militants last year – returned to Nicaragua this week in response to the blocking of the OAS mission.

Tim Padgett is the Americas editor for Miami NPR affiliate WLRN, covering Latin America, the Caribbean and their key relationship with South Florida.