(CNN Spanish) — The Government of Gustavo Petro offered Colombian citizenship to those who have “been abused by the intolerant power of Nicaragua”, in reference to the 222 opponents who on February 9 were expelled from the country by the Daniel Ortega regime and arrived in the United States , according to a statement from the country’s presidency.
In its letter, the Colombian government claims to have registered “with revulsion the measures taken arbitrarily by the head of government” of Nicaragua and rejected “the dictatorial actions of those who bring to mind the worst moments of the dictatorship of Anastasio Somoza that Sandinismo managed to overcome”.
This Wednesday, the Colombian foreign minister, Alvaro Leyva, had announced that he had offered Colombian nationality to the Nicaraguan writer Sergio Ramírez, one of those expelled from Nicaragua and stripped of his nationality.
Leyva met with the novelist and journalist in Spain in a meeting that was also attended by the former president of Colombia Juan Manuel Santos and the former president of the Government of Spain Felipe González.
“Yesterday, in Madrid, Spain, interpreting the solidarity of the country as a whole and the sentiment of President Gustavo Petro, I offered Colombian nationality to the Nicaraguan politician, intellectual and writer Sergio Ramírez,” said the Colombian foreign minister.
Sergio Ramírez was Vice President of Nicaragua between 1985 and 1990 and received the Cervantes Prize in 2017.
Shortly after Ortega’s announcement, the governments of Argentina, Chile, Mexico and Spain also offered to grant citizenship to the group of people affected by the measure.
Expulsion from Nicaragua
Ramírez was one of those expelled by the Daniel Ortega regime. On February 10, 222 prisoners were released and transferred from Nicaragua to the United States.
The decision of the Justice then indicated that: “The deportees were declared traitors to the homeland and punished for different serious crimes and permanently disqualified from exercising public office as well as holding positions of popular election, leaving their citizen rights perpetually suspended.” .
Despite the joy of relatives and close friends at the news, there are many organizations that have warned that it was not a release. The OAS General Secretariat affirmed that what happened is not “a liberation. These people were unjustly imprisoned —some for years— for thinking, expressing or writing their opinions contrary to the prevailing regime in Nicaragua. Many of them were tortured, isolated from all contact with the outside world.
Vilma Núñez, president of the Nicaraguan Center for Human Rights, said for her part that there is a lack of knowledge of the law because what happened was an exile and not a “deportation.”