DISINFO: There is a Western media campaign against Nicaragua
What is behind the media campaign against Nicaragua? The Nicaraguan Government has denounced that an unprecedented media attack is taking place against it after the prosecution of several opponents for crimes of money laundering and treason. Within this framework, the Public Ministry launched an investigation into the businesses of Cristiana Chamorro and her Violeta Barrios de Chamorro Foundation, which has received external financing and has given money to opposition journalists who call themselves independent.
In Nicaragua the law is being applied in defence of its sovereignty and self-determination. This type of law is applied in other countries, particularly in those that have condemned Nicaragua for applying it itself. People who have been detained not because they are pre-candidates, but because they have transgressed the law, applauding economic aggressions against the country, whose objective is to hinder the application of social policies.
These people have conspired to organise acts of political destabilisation in the country, similar to the attempted coup in 2018. Given that none of these detainees come even close to the popular support that Commander Daniel Ortega has, it would be absurd to prevent them from competing in the next elections.
Calling out the undemocratic behaviour of the Nicaraguan government can’t be considered a “media campaign against it”, which is a narrative promoted by Nicaraguan authorities themselves that was picked and reproduced by pro-Kremlin disinformation. The claim is an attempt to deflect any criticism on their actions after the arrest a series of opposition leaders in June 2021, including four potential presidential candidates, attracted worldwide condemnation and media attention. Nicaraguan authorities also denied the entry to the country to a New York Times reporter, as part of a wider crackdown on the press that included a criminal investigation against 13 Nicaraguan outlets.
The arrests have been defended by the Nicaraguan government under accusations of treason -made possible by a controversial law passed in December 2020 by government-controlled Nicaragua’s National Assembly banning candidates from running for office if they are deemed to be “traitors”-, but there is no evidence to back the charges. Rather, the move has been widely considered by international observers -including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch or the Committee to Protect Journalists- as an authoritarian ploy to neutralise dissidence and consolidate president Daniel Ortega’s grip over the country, which can be considered as part of a years-long repression strategy against the opposition.
On 10 June 2021, the European Union’s High Representative stated: “The EU firmly condems the actions of the Nicaraguan authorities against opposition parties, media, journalists and other media workers, human rights defenders and civil society, including the systematic detention and arrest of potential presidential candidates and opposition leaders. The political use of the judicial system, the exclusion of candidates from the elections and the arbitrary delisting of opposition parties are contrary to basic democratic principles and constitute a serious violation of the rights of the Nicaraguan people under the Nicaraguan Constitution and under International Law”.
See other examples of similar disinformation narratives, such as claims that a UN human rights report on Venezuela aims to delegitimise the upcoming legislative elections, that violent pro-Maduro thugs are Western media propaganda, that a Twitter campaign against Evo Morales may be run by the CIA, that the West refused to call the coup attempt in Venezuela ‘a coup’, or that an alleged US dirty war in Facebook against Venezuela, Bolivia and Mexico is a new Condor Plan.