Nicaraguan authorities have detained a candidate in the November presidential elections, her party has said, as the government of President Daniel Ortega shows no sign of ending a sweeping crackdown against the opposition.
For months Ortega’s government has been detaining political adversaries, including presidential hopefuls, ahead of an election in which the former Marxist guerrilla and cold war antagonist of Washington will be running for a fourth consecutive term.
Berenice Quezada, who was Miss Nicaragua in 2017, was detained at her home late on Tuesday night and placed under house arrest, the Citizens Alliance for Liberty (ACXL) party said.
“Quezada … is under house arrest without access to a telephone, with migratory restrictions and prohibited from running for public office,” the party tweeted.
“We demand that she be freed and Berenice Quezada’s human rights respected.”
The Citizens Alliance registered Quezada on Monday to be the running mate of Oscar Sobalvarro, a businessman and former rightwing rebel commander for the Contras, the US-backed guerrilla groups that fought Ortega’s Sandinista government in the 1980s.
Nicaraguan authorities could not be immediately contacted to confirm Quezada’s house arrest.
Nicaragua’s Confidencial news outlet reported on Tuesday that a complaint of “terrorism crime” had been filed against Quezada on Tuesday to Nicaragua’s electoral council over her critical remarks about a lack of freedoms in the Central American state.
Washington and the European Union have imposed sanctions against members of Ortega’s family, including his wife and vice-president, Rosario Murillo, as well as figures within the government, warning that the 7 November elections cannot be free with most of Ortega opponents jailed.
Many business figures, journalists and politicians have fled abroad in recent months in anticipation of being arrested.