Ortega regime legislators requested this past week the annulment of six more non-profit organizations, more than a week after police operations and seizure of property at numerous private universities.
Citing a report by the person responsable for managing the registration and control of associations at the Interior Ministry (MIGOB), Franya Urey Blando, – in which the official added that they had failed to meet their responsibilities -, legislator Filiberto Rodriguez asked for the annulment of the Asociación de Mujeres Trabajadoras y Desempleadas Maria Elena Cuadra, la Asociación Nicaragüense Pro Derechos Humanos (ANPDH) and the Asociación PEN Internacional/Nicaragua.
The other organizations stripped of their legal status are the Fundación para la Promoción y Desarrollo de las Mujeres y la Niñez Blanca Arauz (Fundemuni); Centro Nicaragüense de Promoción de la Juventud y la Infancia and the Fundación Iberoamericana de las Culturas (Fibras). With this latest attack on civil society, the list of organizations, foundations and legal identities annulled since 2018, will reach 83.
According to the MIGOB report, these organizations haven’t filed their annual financial reports with a detailed breakdown, have not promoted transparency in fund management, not knowing how these funds are being used and whether they are being used in line with the purposes the organizations were created for or not. MINGOB also said their boards of directors are out-of-date; they are “leaderless”.
According to Blandon, the head of the Non-Profit Civil Associations Registration and Control department, these shortcomings are in violation of Law 147, the General Law about Non-Profit Legal Identities and Law 977, the Law against asset laundering, financing terrorism and financing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
The Maria Elena Cuadra Movement was founded in May 1994. According to its website, it is an independent, wide-ranging, pluralist and non-profit women’s movement, that pushes for and safeguards women’s full incorporation and participation in Nicaraguan society, under equal conditions. Sandra Ramos, one of its founders and a critic of the Ortega Regime, took part in the second attempt at a national dialogue between the opposition and dictatorship in 2019.
Ramos also stood outside the NGO in September 2020, when Ortega’s Police force seized the building for four hours. “It was totally arbitrary,” Ramos said at the time.
The ANPDH is a human rights defense organization. Its role during the social outbreak in April 2018 and the consequent killing spree by the Ortega regime, was enough for Government supporters to threaten and criminalize them.
Its executive secretary, Alvaro Leiva, took part in many conversations between political prisoners with police officers during the most critical days of protest in Masaya. The threats that came flooding in after his humanitarian work led him to later seek exile in Costa Rica.
The ANPDH announced its head offices would close down in August 2018, “after having received alarming information” about illegal practices of “legal persecution and criminalization without any legal grounds.” They guaranteed they would continue to receive reports of human rights violations via email.
In early February, the National Assembly annuled 16 non-profit organizations with the stroke of a pen. These include the Universidad Politécnica de Nicaragua (UPOLI), which was taken by students in 2018, protesting the Ortega regime and it became a bastion in the civil struggle.