Nicaragua police raid NGO and news outlet offices


MANAGUA, Nicaragua — Nicaraguan national police raided offices of a prominent nongovernmental organization and an independent news outlet Thursday — both linked to children of a former president — as the government of President Daniel Ortega continued to clamp down on critical voices in advance of November presidential elections.

The Interior Ministry said in a statement that it was investigating Cristiana Chamorro, former director of the Violeta Barrios de Chamorro Foundation for Reconciliation and Democracy and daughter of the former president.

The ministry said Chamorro and others connected to the foundation had been called in to explain alleged “inconsistencies” in financial reports filed with the government between 2015 and 2019, did not comply with their obligations and that an analysis turned up “clear indications of money laundering.”

The statement said the alleged crimes would be investigated, but did not mention the office raid.

Also Thursday, police raided the Managua offices of the news outlet Confidencial, run by Carlos Fernando Chamorro, Cristiana Chamorro’s brother and son of former President Violeta Barrios de Chamorro. In December 2018, police also raided and seized the independent outlet’s offices.

Carlos Fernando Chamorro was not present Thursday, but denounced the raid and called for authorities to respect the safety of his colleagues. After the raid on his old offices in 2018, Chamorro spent a year in exile in Costa Rica before returning to Nicaragua in January 2020.

Cristiana Chamorro has not ruled out the possibility of running for president in the November elections. In January, she stepped down from her role at the foundation. A month later, it closed its operations in Nicaragua after passage of a “foreign agents” law that aimed to track foreign funding of organizations operating in the country.

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