AP

Nicaragua’s congress bans 4 universities and 6 aid groups

Feb 2, 2022, 1:34 AM | Updated: 3:37 pm

FILE - Protesters yell from behind the road block they erected as they face off with security force...

FILE - Protesters yell from behind the road block they erected as they face off with security forces near the University Politecnica de Nicaragua, UPOLI, in Managua, Nicaragua, Saturday, April 21, 2018. Nicaragua's National Assembly, controlled by President Daniel Ortega, outlawed four private universities on Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2022. Among the schools whose legal standing the assembly canceled was the UPOLI, which was a hotbed of antigovernment protests in 2018. (AP Photo/Alfredo Zuniga, File)

(AP Photo/Alfredo Zuniga, File)

MANAGUA, Nicaragua (AP) — Nicaragua’s National Assembly, controlled by President Daniel Ortega, outlawed four private universities Wednesday, some linked to the Roman Catholic Church.

The best known of the schools whose legal standing was canceled by the assembly is Polytechnical University of Nicaragua, which was a hotbed of antigovernment protests in 2018.

The measure also affects six aid groups linked to the church and four professional or collegiate associations. One of the professional organizations is the Association of Nicaraguan Songwriters, which was formed by folk musician Luis Enrique Mejía Godoy.

Some of the groups have been critical of Ortega, or in the case of the universities, host to academics or students who are critics of the outlawed entities did not comply with financial reporting requirements. That was the same argument used to ban almost a dozen non-governmental groups last year.

Monsignor Carlos Avilés, vicar of the Archdiocese of Managua, said that banning aid groups “is unfair, it doesn’t contribute to the country’s wellbeing.”

“These institutions are focused on social projects and aid,” Avilés said. “This is an unjust form of repression.”

Some observers had thought a political crackdown by Ortega in 2021 was mainly aimed at arresting opponents to clear the way for his almost unopposed re-election in November. But the events this week suggest his regime is looking to restructure Nicaraguan society.

“The aim is to impose a single model of thought, a vertically organized society to perpetuate Ortega in power,” said Gonzalo Carrión, a lawyer for the human rights group Nicaragua Never Again.

The government announced Monday that it intends to start trials of the 46 political figures arrested in the run-up to the Nov. 7 election. Many of the prisoners, including seven people who had been considered potential candidates to challenge Ortega in the election, which was widely criticized as a farce.

Relatives have said 39 prisoners have been detained for months after the roundup have been subjected to isolation, constant interrogations and insufficient food. Seven others are under a form of house arrest.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Photo: A delegate wears a hat with pins during the Republican National Convention Monday, July 15, ...

Christine Fernando, Steve People and Jill Colvin, The Associated Press

Rep. Walsh speaks for Washington as cheering GOP delegates nominate Trump for president

Cheering GOP delegates formally nominated Donald Trump for president at Monday's Republican National Convention kickoff.

5 days ago

Photo: Sen. J.D. Vance, R-Ohio, right, points toward Republican presidential candidate former Presi...

Jill Colvin, Julie Carr Smyth, Steve Peoples and Zeke Miller, The Associated Press

Trump picks Sen. JD Vance of Ohio, a once-fierce critic turned loyal ally, as his GOP running mate

Donald Trump named Sen. JD Vance of Ohio as his running mate, choosing a onetime critic who became a loyal ally.

6 days ago

trump assassination...

Ayanna Alexander, The Associated Press

What to know about Trump assassination attempt and the investigation into the shooting

Authorities want to know how a shooter was able to get on top of a roof so close to where former President Donald Trump was speaking and open fire.

6 days ago

Photo: Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump is surrounded by U.S. Secret...

Julie Carr Smyth, Jill Colvin, Colleen Long, Michael Balsamo, Eric Tucker and Michelle L. Price, The Associated Press

Trump heads to convention as authorities investigate motive, security in assassination attempt

Trump called for unity and resilience after an attempt on his life added fresh uncertainty to an already tumultuous presidential campaign.

6 days ago

Photo: President Joe Biden speaks from the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, Sunday,...

Will Weissert and Zeke Miller, The Associated Press

In primetime address, Biden says country must not go down road of political violence

President Joe Biden says “we can’t, we must not go down” the road of political violence in America after the attempted Trump assassination.

6 days ago

Photo: President Joe Biden speaks at a news conference following the NATO Summit in Washington, Thu...

Zeke Miller, Seung Min Kim, Lisa Mascaro and Colleen Long, The Associated Press

Biden says during news conference he’s going to ‘complete the job’ despite calls to bow out

Biden used his highly anticipated news conference to deliver a defense of his policies and batted away questions about his ability to serve.

9 days ago

Nicaragua’s congress bans 4 universities and 6 aid groups