Nicaragua charging exiled opponents’ relatives

Oct 5, 2022, 1:53 AM | Updated: 3:37 pm
FILE - Nicaragua's President Daniel Ortega speaks during the inauguration ceremony of a highway ove...

FILE - Nicaragua's President Daniel Ortega speaks during the inauguration ceremony of a highway overpass in Managua, Nicaragua, March 21, 2019. Exiled Nicaraguan economist Javier Álvarez received terrible news this first week of Oct. 2022: his wife, daughter and son-in-law, jailed three weeks ago by the government of President Daniel Ortega, have been formally charged with serious crimes back in Nicaragua. (AP Photo/Alfredo Zuniga, File)

(AP Photo/Alfredo Zuniga, File)

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Exiled Nicaraguan economist Javier Álvarez received terrible news this week: his wife, daughter and son-in-law, jailed three weeks ago by the government of President Daniel Ortega, had been formally charged with serious crimes back in Nicaragua.

Jeannine Horvilleur, 63, Ana Carolina Álvarez Horvilleur, 43, both of Nicaraguan and French nationality, as well as Ana Carolina’s husband, Félix Roiz, were not only detained to apply pressure on Álvarez who had fled to Costa Rica, but they were now facing serious prison time.

Ortega’s government has stepped up its persecution of political opponents. Apparently no longer satisfied by driving them into exile, it is now pursuing their relatives criminally.

Human rights organizations have accused the government of making relatives “hostages.” Tens of thousands of Nicaraguans have fled the country in the crackdown that followed massive street protests in April 2018. Dozens of others have been arrested and given lengthy prison sentences.

“When I found out Sunday that in the judicial system there was already a charge, I suffered one of the hardest blows,” said Álvarez, who opposes the government, but does not hold a leadership position in the opposition. “The world fell in on me.”

Last month, he had learned of their arrests shortly after he arrived in Costa Rica.

“That moment was extremely cruel, I in free country and free, and my family detained,” he said. He had hoped they would be interrogated and freed since none was involved in politics. His daughter and son-in-law manage a small business.

Two days after their arrest, the 67-year-old Álvarez received a message from the police, confirmed they were being held at the infamous El Chipote prison “and that they would not get out until I turned myself in.”

According to the nongovernmental Nicaragua Center for Human Rights, the case revealed “a new pattern of extortion kidnapping” by the government to leverage the capture or surrender of exiled opposition members. “They took them like hostages,” the organization said.

Similar to the case of Álvarez’s family, Freddy Martín Porras, brother of Dulce María Porras, a leader of UNAMOS, was arrested. Dulce María Porras, 71, has been living in exile in Costa Rica since authorities sought her in 2018.

“They are kidnapping our relatives because they can’t capture us,” Porras said. “This is a criminal act, typical of drug cartels.” She said her brother had participated in protests against the government, but for some time now had not been active politically and worked selling medicines.

Still, Freddy Martín Porras was also charged with spreading fake news and conspiring to damage national integrity.

Gabriel López Del Carmen was arrested Sept. 14 at his mother’s home. He and his mother were accused of conspiracy and an order was issued for her arrest.

“I had to protect myself outside the country because of the regime’s persecution, and when they didn’t find me in my house the police captured my son,” Andrea Margarita Del Carmen wrote on social media. “They know perfectly well that he has no tie to political activities.”

Lawyer Gonzalo Carrión with the human rights collective “Nicaragua Never Again,” based in Costa Rica, said the arrests of relatives are a “pattern of arbitrary and unconstitutional actions.”

On Tuesday, the government confirmed that the charges of spreading fake news and conspiring to damage the country’s integrity were also brought last month against four priests, two seminarians and a cameraman who had been staying with Rolando Álvarez, bishop of Matagalpa.

In Costa Rica, Javier Álvarez said he is living with “almost unmanageable anguish.”

“They are looking to increase the terror that they have imposed on citizens,” he said. “Now they transfer the supposed ‘blame’ or ‘crime’ to the intimate sphere, to the most precious which is the family … to cause the greatest pain possible” on the opposition, he said.

Álvarez admits that his first thought was to turn himself in, but that friends and lawyers told him there was no guarantee his relatives would be released. He has filed reports with the French government, humanitarian organizations, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and the United Nations Human Rights Office.

“They have left me without family,” he said.

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


Associated Press

Landslide leaves up to a dozen missing on Italian island

MILAN (AP) — Heavy rainfall triggered landslides early Saturday on the southern Italian island of Ischia that collapsed buildings and left as many as 12 people missing. Italy’s interior minister said no deaths had yet been confirmed, appearing to contradict an early announcement by another senior politician. “At the moment there are no confirmed deaths,” […]
1 day ago
Nancy Faeser, Federal Minister of the Interior and Home Affairs talks to members of the press in Em...
Associated Press

German government seeks to ease rules for naturalization

BERLIN (AP) — Germany’s socially liberal government is moving ahead with plans to ease the rules for obtaining citizenship in the European Union’s most populous country, a drive that is being assailed by the conservative opposition. Chancellor OIaf Scholz said in a video message Saturday that Germany has long since become “the country of hope” […]
1 day ago
In this photo provided by the Ukrainian Presidential Press Office, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Ze...
Associated Press

Ukraine works to restore water, power after Russian strikes

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Ukrainian authorities endeavored Saturday to restore electricity and water services after recent pummeling by Russian military strikes that vastly damaged infrastructure, with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy saying millions have seen their power restored since blackouts swept the war-battered country days earlier. Skirmishes continued in the east and residents from the southern city […]
1 day ago
FILE - Palestinian soccer fans wave Qatari and Palestinian flags as they watch a live broadcast of ...
Associated Press

Flashes of Arab unity at World Cup after years of discontent

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — For a brief moment after Saudi Arabia’s Salem Aldawsari fired a ball from just inside the penalty box into the back of the net to seal a World Cup win against Argentina, Arabs across the divided Middle East found something to celebrate. Such Arab unity is hard to come by and […]
1 day ago
FILE - MGM Grand Macau casino resort is closed in Macao on July 11, 2022. Macao has tentatively ren...
Associated Press

Macao awards casino licenses to MGM, Sands, Wynn, 3 others

BEIJING (AP) — Macao has tentatively renewed the casino licenses of MGM Resorts, Las Vegas Sands, Wynn Resorts and three Chinese rivals after they promised to help diversify its economy by investing in non-gambling attractions, the government said Saturday. The announcement is positive news for owners who have invested billions of dollars to build the […]
1 day ago
FILE - Local authorities inaugurate the Christmas lighting in the streets of Vigo, Spain, Nov. 19, ...
Associated Press

Sober or bright? Europe faces holidays during energy crunch

VERONA, Italy (AP) — Early season merrymakers sipping mulled wine and shopping for holiday decorations packed the Verona Christmas market for its inaugural weekend. But beyond the wooden market stalls, the Italian city still has not decked out its granite-clad pedestrian streets with twinkling holiday lights as officials debate how bright to make the season […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles


Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Swedish Cyberknife 900x506...

June is Men’s Health Month: Here’s Why It’s Important To Speak About Your Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men in the United States, on average, die five years earlier than women.
Nicaragua charging exiled opponents’ relatives