Nicaragua government takes over five opposition-held towns

Jul 3, 2022, 11:30 PM | Updated: Jul 4, 2022, 4:00 pm

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Four months before scheduled municipal elections, Nicaraguan riot police have taken over the city halls of five municipalities that had been in the hands of an opposition party.

Kitty Monterrey, president of Citizens for Freedom, a political party disallowed by the Nicaraguan government before presidential elections last year, confirmed the police occupations in San Sebastian de Yali, El Cua, Murra and El Almendro.

Oscar Gadea Tinoco, mayor of Pantasma and member of Citizens for Freedom, also said that police occupied his town Saturday.

“All mayor’s offices legitimately elected under the flag of Citizens for Freedom, have been taken by the regime,” Monterrey said Monday via Twitter. She demanded that President Daniel Ortega respect the well-being of the officials and mayors who were removed from office.

Citizens for Freedom had won each of those town halls in the 2017 elections. But headed into last year’s presidential election, President Daniel Ortega showed little tolerance for the opposition. Authorities locked up seven leading opposition figures who could have challenged Ortega for the presidency.

Instead, Ortega coasted to a fourth consecutive term in elections the United States and European Union dismissed as a farce and the opposition figures remain in detention.

The Nicaraguan government had not commented on the takeovers.

Noel Moreno, the deposed mayor of San Sebastian de Yali in northwest Nicaragua, said some 50 heavily armed riot police and members of Ortega’s Sandinista National Liberation Front entered town offices early Monday.

“The seat remains under control of riot police,” said Moreno, adding that he was not there when the police arrived. He was not sure if town staff remained inside or had been moved.

He said Sandinista town council members had “already named themselves mayor and vice-mayor” and raised the Sandinista flag. The takeovers appeared to have been similar in the other municipalities.

In Pantasma, Gadea Tinoco said that Sandinista councilwoman Carmen Obando was named as his replacement. The argument was that Citizens for Freedom was no longer a recognized entity because Nicaraguan electoral authorities had canceled its status last year.

After the party was canceled, Monterrey was also stripped of her Nicaraguan nationality and accused of being in the country illegally. She fled into exile in Costa Rica.

Of Nicaragua’s 153 municipalities, Ortega’s Sandinista Front now controls 140. Two allied parties control the other 13.

The opposition organization Open Ballot Boxes, a citizen election monitoring network, denounced “the absence of democratic conditions.” They demanded that municipal workers’ well-being be respected.

“They don’t want anyone to participate in these elections,” Moreno said.

In a statement, Monterrey called the takeovers “a very serious attack against popular will and municipal autonomy.”

“With these actions the regime is confirming that it has no interest in rehabilitating the electoral path or even trying to maintain an appearance of legality in the next municipal elections,” she said.

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


OpenAI's CEO Sam Altman, the founder of ChatGPT and creator of OpenAI gestures while speaking at Un...

Associated Press

ChatGPT maker downplays fears they could leave Europe over AI rules

OpenAI CEO Sam Altman on Friday downplayed worries that the ChatGPT maker could exit the European Union

1 day ago

File - Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai, left, and OpenAI CEO Sam Altman arrive to the White House for a ...

Associated Press

Regulators take aim at AI to protect consumers and workers

As concerns grow over increasingly powerful artificial intelligence systems like ChatGPT, the nation’s financial watchdog says it’s working to ensure that companies follow the law when they’re using AI.

3 days ago

FILE - A security surveillance camera is seen near the Microsoft office building in Beijing, July 2...

Associated Press

Microsoft: State-sponsored Chinese hackers could be laying groundwork for disruption

State-backed Chinese hackers have been targeting U.S. critical infrastructure and could be laying the technical groundwork for the potential disruption of critical communications between the U.S. and Asia during future crises, Microsoft said Wednesday.

4 days ago

FILE - President Joe Biden speaks in the East Room of the White House, May 17, 2023, in Washington....

Associated Press

White House unveils new efforts to guide federal research of AI

The White House on Tuesday announced new efforts to guide federally backed research on artificial intelligence

5 days ago

FILE - The Capitol stands in Washington D.C. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)Credit: ASSOCIATED...

Associated Press

What it would mean for the economy if the US defaults on its debt

If the debt crisis roiling Washington were eventually to send the United States crashing into recession, America’s economy would hardly sink alone.

6 days ago

FILE - Bryan Kohberger, left, looks toward his attorney, public defender Anne Taylor, right, during...

Associated Press

Judge enters not guilty pleas for suspect in stabbing deaths of 4 University of Idaho students

A judge entered not guilty pleas Monday for a man charged in the stabbing deaths of four University of Idaho students, setting the stage for a trial in which he could potentially face the death penalty.

7 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Internet Washington...

Major Internet Upgrade and Expansion Planned This Year in Washington State

Comcast is investing $280 million this year to offer multi-gigabit Internet speeds to more than four million locations.

Compassion International...

Brock Huard and Friends Rally Around The Fight for First Campaign

Professional athletes are teaming up to prevent infant mortality and empower women at risk in communities facing severe poverty.

Emergency Preparedness...

Prepare for the next disaster at the Emergency Preparedness Conference

Being prepared before the next emergency arrives is key to preserving businesses and organizations of many kinds.

SHIBA volunteer...

Volunteer to help people understand their Medicare options!

If you’re retired or getting ready to retire and looking for new ways to stay active, becoming a SHIBA volunteer could be for you!

safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.

Comcast Ready for Business Fund...

Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.

Nicaragua government takes over five opposition-held towns