The president of Nicaragua, Daniel Ortega, at an ALBA summit in Havana. Photo by Reuters
The National Assembly (Parliament) of Nicaragua, with an official majority, canceled legal persons by 96 other Nicaraguan NGOs for not registering as “foreign agents”, bringing the total number of civilian non-profit organizations outlawed since December 2018 to 440.
The dissolution of the 96 Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), at the request of the Government of President Daniel Ortega, it was urgently approved by 75 Sandinista deputies and their allies. Another 14 legislators, of the 91 that make up the Parliament, abstained and two were present and did not vote.
Among the organizations affected is the Center for International Studies Foundation (CEI), which led by Zoilamerica Ortega Murillo -daughter of President Ortega and denounced by him in 1998 for sexual abuse-.
Also the Nicaraguan Development Institute (INDE), the social arm of the Higher Council of Private Enterprises (Cosep), the main employer leadership in Nicaragua, which the day before made it clear that this dissolution does not affect its legal status because since 2014 they are regulated by the Ministry of Development, Industry and Commerce (Mific).
Another outlawed NGO is the Federation of Professional Associations of Nicaragua (Conapro), also of Cosep, which before the crisis that broke out in April 2018 maintained a consensus dialogue with Ortega, in power since 2007.
The Polytechnic University of Nicaragua is also closed by the regime. AFP photo
In addition, they were disbanded Nicaraguan Society of Pediatrics Associationthe Nicaraguan Internet Association, the La Cuculmeca Education and Communication Association and the Esquipulas Foundation, among others.
In a report, the Interior Ministry said these NGOs did not comply not to be registered “in the register of Foreign Agents, as these subjects are obliged, pursuant to the Law on Foreign Agents “, approved by the Sandinistas after the anti-government demonstrations that broke out in April 2018.
Also, according to the Ministry of the Interior, these NGOs they violated the law General Regulations and Control of Non-Profit Organizations, in force since last May 6th; as well as the anti-money laundering law.
With these new 96 associations, the number of NGOs dissolved in the last three days has risen to 179, including the Nicaraguan Academy of Languages.
In Nicaragua, with the vote of Sandinista MPs and their allies, who are the majority in Parliament, the legal status of at least 440 NGOs has been canceled since December 2018, eight months after a popular uprising – caused by controversial Social Security – broke out. reforms described as an attempted coup by Ortega.
Sandinista MP Filiberto Rodríguez, promoter of the initiatives, said that the NGOs affected donation resources used received to try to overthrow Ortega, although he presented no evidence.
Also the offices of the Organization of American States (OAS), affected by Ortega’s measures. photo EFE
In April 2018, thousands of Nicaraguans took to the streets to protest controversial social security reforms, which later became a call for Ortega’s resignation because he responded by force.
The protests, described by the Executive as an attempted coup, left at least 355 deadaccording to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), although local organizations raise the figure to 684 and the government recognizes 200.
Nicaragua has been experiencing a political and social crisis since April 2018which was accentuated after the controversial general elections of 7 November, in which Ortega was re-elected for a fifth, fourth consecutive and second term together with his wife, Rosario Murillo, as vice president, with his main contenders in prison.