The Violeta Barrios de Chamorro Foundation, a non-governmental organization dedicated to promoting press freedom in Nicaragua, announced on Friday its definitive suspension due to a controversial law that seeks to control those who receive foreign financing.
In a virtual press conference, the Foundation’s advisor, Cristiana Chamorro, lashed out at the legislation promoted by the Daniel Ortega government and approved by the Sandinista majority in Parliament in December, calling it “unconstitutional and monstrous.”
“It is very difficult to continue operating under a law of this nature whose objective is to suffocate civil society, independent and free voices that this regime cannot bear,” said the daughter of former President Violeta Chamorro (1990-1997), who founded the organization 34 years ago.
This is the second independent entity to close in the country in less than two days due to the aforementioned law. The day before it was done by the PEN-Nicaragua center, a subsidiary of the PEN International writers’ organization.
The law obliges natural and legal persons who receive funds from abroad to register as “foreign agents” with the Ministry of the Interior and to report their income and expenses in detail to the government, under penalty of fines, jail, and confiscation of assets.
The deadline for registration expires this Friday. The government has so far not reported details of the process and it is unknown how many NGOs or individuals have registered as “foreign agents”.
The Violeta Chamorro Foundation was created by the former president in 1997 to support projects in favor of journalists and independent media, and to promote freedom of expression. Chamorro, now 91, retired from politics and is convalescing from a chronic illness at his residence in Managua.
Cristiana Chamorro, sister of the also critical journalist Carlos Fernando Chamorro, has been mentioned in polls as an opposition presidential candidate to face Ortega in the November elections. The communicator has not denied the possibility of running and has said she is “willing to make the change.”
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