Nicaraguan police arrested a leader of an opposition party Tuesday. Twenty-two political rivals of the Sandinista National Liberation Front have been arrested in two months, according to The Associated Press.
José Antonio Peraza, an academic and the leader of the opposition alliance White and Blue National Unity, was arrested Tuesday as Nicaragua President Daniel Ortega continues his crackdown on political opposition, The Associated Press reported. Of the 22 Ortega opponents arrested, seven were potential presidential candidates that could have put an end to Ortega’s decades-long rule by winning the Nov. 7 presidential election, according to the AP.
José Antonio Peraza: “Aquí estamos en una anormalidad electoral”. Veinticuatro horas después, Ortega ordena la captura del politólogo, miembro del Grupo Promotor de las Reformas Electorales. Otro crimen contra la libertad de expresión https://t.co/O1VcNHSL2t
— Carlos F Chamorro (@cefeche) July 27, 2021
Beyond Peraza, opposition leader Noel Vidaurre and political commentator Jaime Arellano were both placed under police custody in their homes Saturday. Just hours prior to his arrest, Peraza said Nicaragua faces “the worst possible scenario for elections we could have imagined,” the AP reported.
“Opposition leader Noel Vidaurre became the seventh potential candidate to be arrested by President Daniel Ortega’s government ahead of Nicaragua’s November 7 election.” He was accused of “undermining sovereignty,” meaning Ortega’s chance of winning. https://t.co/yAdZ3GlpHL pic.twitter.com/32H0AhNidA
— Kenneth Roth (@KenRoth) July 25, 2021
With Peraza’s arrest, nearly every prominent political figure that could have challenged Ortega in the upcoming election has been detained, most under broad accusations of treason, according to the AP. Most of those detained are being held in undisclosed locations, unable to contact lawyers or family. (RELATED: Former Leftist Icon Ortega Now Responsible For Widespread Repression In Nicaragua)
The crackdown, according to Ortega, stems from the protests that broke out in April 2018, which Ortega believes was a coup attempt with backing from foreign forces, according to the AP.