Nicaragua cancels permits for US, European NGOs

The move comes days after more Nicaraguan officials were sanctioned following arrests of opposition figures.

Foreign governments and rights groups have accused the government of Daniel Ortega of cracking down on opposition figures ahead of election [File: Oswaldo Rivas/Reuters]

Nicaragua has cancelled operating permits for six NGOs from the United States and Europe, days after President Daniel Ortega’s government faced sanctions for arresting prominent political opponents.

Oxfam, as well as the US-based National Democratic Institute and International Republican Institute, were among the groups affected, according to the official government gazette.

Charities from Spain, Denmark and Sweden also had their operating permits revoked.

The move comes two weeks after the European Union imposed sanctions on eight Nicaraguan officials, bringing the total number of those sanctioned in the government to 14. Those newly sanctioned include Rosario Murillo, the vice president and wife of President Daniel Ortega.

The US had previously imposed sanctions and visa curbs on Nicaraguan officials.

The Nicaraguan interior ministry said the cancelled organisations had not given a “detailed itemised breakdown” of the origin of the donations they receive and who the final beneficiaries are.

The goods and assets of these NGOs will now be sold off or become government property.

The NGOs, several of which have been in Nicaragua for years, worked on issues such as human rights, the environment, poverty alleviation, health and education.

Crackdown on opposition

With three months to go before the country’s elections, Nicaragua’s government has detained 33 prominent opposition figures they accused of treason.

Among them are seven potential candidates who could run against Ortega, 75, who is seeking a fourth consecutive term.

The former resistance leader, who also ruled the country from 1979 to 1990, took office as president in 2007 as part of the left-wing Sandinista National Liberation Front.

His government has repeatedly been accused of humans rights violations and the repression of opposition figures since anti-government protests in 2018.

Ortega has accused the opposition of trying to overthrow him with the support of Washington.

Source: News Agencies