From the gloom and solitary confinement in which she has been kept for more than a year, the former Sandinista guerrilla Dora María Téllez has declared a hunger strike. She demands that the dictatorship of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo end the isolation and allow her reading material, according to her relatives. The mythical commander suffers 468 days of poor nutrition in the El Chipote dungeon. She is very thin and translucent from the lack of sun. Still, she maintains her resilience and determination with daily exercises in her cell.
However, this prison regime that violates the Nelson Mandela Rules “seriously puts his health and even his life at risk,” his relatives denounce. “Taking into account the contempt that the dictatorship showed for the life of Hugo Torres, who died in prison, and that of other political prisoners whose chronic illnesses are not properly treated, we have reason to fear for the life of Dora María,” they insisted. “We demand the immediate cessation of the situation of torture to which all political prisoners are subjected and in particular to Dora María, who with her characteristic firmness demands respect for her rights even in the conditions in which she finds herself.”
Along with Téllez, two other political prisoners have declared a hunger strike: the sports writer Miguel Mendoza and the lawyer Róger Reyes. What they both demand is that the Ortega-Murillo regime allow them to see their daughters. The journalist has not been able to see and hug his eight-year-old daughter Alejandra for more than 457 days, who is suffering from the absence of her father, who was found guilty in a political trial for the alleged crime of “undermining national integrity.”
“Hello daddy, I have recorded videos, I have made drawings in the hope that someone can show them to you. My heart suffers a lot, because I haven’t seen you for more than a year. I love you”, are the lines that Alejandra has written for her father, but that the guards of El Chipote have not allowed her to read.
“Despite being a strong man with an incredible emotional state, those of us who know him know how to read in the brightness of his eyes the anguish caused by knowing how badly his daughter is going through it,” Mendoza’s family denounces. “Miguel is a chronic patient and has lost more than 30 pounds. So this measure puts his health and life at risk, ”added the family.
“An urgent call for Suyen”
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The prison regime to which the political prisoners in El Chipote are subjected is characterized by sporadic and short visits from relatives. The humanitarian requests of the inmates and their families collide with the intransigence of the presidential couple, who considers them “coup criminals.” The regime has yielded little to the pleas. The presentation of all of them at the end of August, after more than a year of total confinement, was due to the pressure of complaints of poor nutrition and mistreatment. When exhibited, almost all showed signs of malnutrition and despondency.
One of the political prisoners hardest hit by the weight loss was Suyen Barahona, president of Unamos, formerly the Sandinista Renovation Movement (MRS), a dissident political group from the FSLN and founded by Dora María Téllez and other historical guerrillas, who has been persecuted without break for orteguismo. This September 22, Barahona’s relatives requested “an urgent call for Suyen.” That is to say, a basic request: that the political prisoner be able to speak by telephone with her five-year-old son.
“For more than 15 months, my wife Suyen Barahona has had no contact with her five-year-old son. The boy has been out of Nicaragua since his mother was imprisoned. For this reason, we, his relatives, join together to demand that the Nicaraguan Government and the authorities allow the child to communicate with his mother, since it is a fundamental right of both, “said César Dubois to EL PAÍS .
For now, the Sandinista government is not responding to the requests of their relatives and political prisoners. Instead, the presidential couple has increased repression in recent weeks: they have imprisoned more territorial leaders of Unamos, forced more than half a dozen priests and more nuns into exile, prohibited Catholic processions and ignored all calls for dialogue made by the international community, starting with the Vatican, the United States and the government of Colombian Gustavo Petro, whose rapprochement with Managua ran aground.
Álvaro Leyva, the Colombian foreign minister, maintained that matters of public order “cannot be dealt with by kicks,” as Ortega and Murillo have been doing. “Neither putting friends in jail, nor ending the national human rights defenders associations. This has been outrageous,” he lamented.
In the framework of the General Assembly of the United Nations Organization (UN), Marcela Escobari, assistant administrator of the United States Agency for Development (USAID, for its acronym in English), said that the conditions and physical abuse and psychological to which political prisoners are subjected is an alarm for them. “The absence of medical care, food, not allowing family visits or legal defense, constitutes cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment under international law,” she warned.
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