The Daniel Ortega-Rosario Murillo regime, through Nicaragua’s Ministry of the Interior, dissolved February 2 the legal entities of 17 civil organizations, including Nicaragua’s Private Banks Association (Asobanp), “thus cutting off the dialogue with the banking sector,” Nicaraguan daily La Prensa reported.
“The Nicaraguan dictatorship has entered into a process of replacing the country’s business class,” Eliseo Núñez, former opposition lawmaker in exile in Costa Rica, told Diálogo on February 17. “Eventually it’ll be ready to replace banks.”
According to the ministerial agreement, published in the official Gazette, the organizations were shut down for failing to report their financial statements or update their boards of directors. This latest action brings the total number of nongovernmental organizations (NGO) dissolved since 2018 to more than 3,200, Spanish news agency EFE reported.
This agreement violates the right to free enterprise, promotes money laundering, and renders Nicaragua susceptible to being left out of the global financial system, according to EFE.
The Ortega-Murillo regime could create their own association of banks, Nicaraguan newspaper Artículo 66 reported. “The process of business substitution through crony capitalism […] will be completed in about five years, which is when the current private banking system will be threatened by financial groups that belong to the circle of power,” Núñez said.
The bank, which operates in Managua and works with correspondent banks abroad, had closed the accounts of legal persons and entities sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury Department, Núñez pointed out.
Asobanp, which was founded on June 23, 1993, was in constant communication with foreign governments to influence regulatory and legal decisions through the superintendence of banks and other financial institutions as well as the Nicaraguan National Assembly, La Prensa reported.
The organizations affected include the Nicaraguan Association of Lawyers and Notaries, the Association of Women Mayors of Nicaragua, the Association of Persons with Chronic Renal Insufficiency, and the Central American Association of Breeders of Ibero-American Horses, among others.
The wave of repression against organized civil society has led to the closure of NGOs working in defense of human rights, the environment, women and children’s rights, health, local and sustainable development, education, and providing humanitarian aid and assistance to vulnerable sectors, Nicaraguan newspaper Confidencial reported.
“It would seem that this tyranny never reaches bottom because it is absolutely abominable,” Napoleón Campos, a Salvadoran foreign relations expert, told Diálogo. “It is inconceivable to close down civil organizations, to release 222 Nicaraguan patriots from prison and strip them of their nationality, and to violate international treaties and its own political constitution.”
Sandinista lawmakers claim that the dissolved NGOs used resources from the donations they received to try to overthrow the Ortega-Murillo regime during the 2018 protests, Mexican daily El Debate reported. “With these cancellations, the regime exterminated almost all the organizations that were active,” Núñez said.
The Global Democracy Index 2023 of The Economist Intelligence Unit, the research division of the U.K. company the Economist Group, which evaluated the political conditions of 167 countries, placed Nicaragua as an authoritarian regime in the 143rd position worldwide with respect to the democracy index.
A change of direction
Nicaragua, Venezuela, and Cuba are the three sources of destabilization in the continent, which also serve as hubs of organized crime. They are the same three axes that protect the interests of China, Russia, and Iran; in short, the three bastions of authoritarianism, Bolivian platform EJV Tv reported.
“Daniel Ortega is more dictatorial, more bloodthirsty, more repressive, and more violator of human rights than the one he fought against, which was the dictatorship of Anastasio Somoza in the 80s,” Campos said. “Unfortunately, in Latin America the Ortega-Murillo see the advance of authoritarian regimes as something that protects their form of tyranny.”
According to Campos “2023 is a critical, key year, a year of turning points, a turning point in the democratic recovery of Central America, which has no present and no prosperous or dignified future with tyrannical schemes,” he concluded.