Nicaraguan activist Berta Valle makes humanitarian appeal during her visit to Spain
The Nicaraguan political activist and wife of the politician Felix Maradiaga (currently a political prisoner), Berta Valle, has come to Spain with the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom to criticize and condemn the current situation in her country and call for support and key international allies to defend human rights and help to make the current problem visible.
There are more than 206 political prisoners in Nicaragua, among them, presidential candidates of the opposition - like her husband -, civil society leaders, human rights defenders, private sector personalities, priests and bishops. The situation is extremely critical as the freedoms of the civilian population are under attack.
Valle recalled that "on June 8, 2021, Felix Maradiaga was arbitrarily arrested and disappeared by the regime of Ortega, the current president of the republic. For 84 days, I had no information about his whereabouts or his state of health - I did not even know if he was alive. In March 2022, he was unjustly sentenced to 13 years in prison for 'conspiracy to undermine national integrity' for the simple fact of promoting democracy and human rights in our country.” In this sense, since his arrest, she has undertaken a tireless struggle for his release and that of all prisoners. “Being in exile I can raise my voice about what is happening, but this is not the reality of many relatives who live this same drama. For my activism, I have been accused of being a 'traitor to the homeland' when the only thing I seek is that the humanity of my husband and all the prisoners will be respected."
Thus, in a press event held together with the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom, Valle has called for the international community to exert more pressure on the Nicaraguan government to demand the release of political prisoners. "This is a humanitarian appeal, and all actions should be headed in that direction.” In this way, she wants to use all diplomatic mechanisms available to send a clear message to Ortega that the international community will not continue to allow this situation and support the initiatives of resolutions condemning or warning about the situation in Nicaragua in the various multilateral spaces.
Thus, she has asked governments to review their relationship with Nicaragua for humanitarian purposes, to analyze from which angles each government can exert political pressure on Ortega and denounce the serious human rights abuses. For this, the diplomatic missions in Nicaragua have an important task of strict monitoring of the situation and the ability to speak out publicly. "If we all work together, we can get this issue to be addressed in the most important international forums such as the UN Security Council. A session on the situation in Nicaragua and how international peace and security is at risk is something that is urgent. We must all demand that the International Committee of the Red Cross will have allowed access to visit the prisoners and verify the state of their detention.”
She also recalled that in March of this year the UN Human Rights Council ordered the creation of a Group of Experts to review human rights violations in Nicaragua and report on the findings. "We must support more initiatives like this and promote more international scrutiny of Nicaragua."
During her days in Spain, the objective of the visit has been to meet with government authorities and legislative representatives to inform them about the serious situation Nicaragua is going through. But beyond explaining the current situation, the aim is to explore the ways in which the international community can influence the regime and obtain the release of political prisoners. It is of utmost importance that the pressure from the international community continues in a constant manner, it must not cease.
For David Henneberger, Director of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Madrid, it is a pleasure to support this type of initiative, because as a liberal association, "we must always stand up for human rights and freedom". In conclusion, "cooperation and political dialogue between representatives of political parties, scientific institutions and civil society organizations from different countries must be strengthened. We are all unite, and we have to contribute to solutions for good interregional cooperation.”
The political prisoners must be released immediately and unconditionally, they are innocent. Their release must be at the top of the agenda in any discussion about Nicaragua.