Ana Margarita Vigil: Hell in El Chipo, Ortega’s worst prison: “The light was day and night” | international

“I spent 606 days in solitary confinement in jail at El Chipo. I first went lacking within the early 80s, at which era my household knew nothing about me. These are 24-hour surveillance and a darkish rest room with electrical gentle day and evening is the one place the place there may be privateness. They used to take us to the patio each 15 days and this after months and due to our household’s protest. White spots are starting to look as a result of lack of solar; Studying and writing have been prohibited. They even eliminated the labels from the water bottles. The one materials I learn then was the components of yogurt. I’ve change into an professional in its composition.

One one that speaks like this, swallowing tears as she recollects her imprisonment throughout a latest go to to Madrid, is creator Ana Margarita Vigil (Leon, Nicaragua, age 46), lawyer and activist, former president of the Sandinista Renewal Motion (now referred to as Unamos). Based, amongst others, by Sergio Ramirez, arrested in June 2021, throughout the crackdown unleashed by Daniel Ortega’s regime on the eve of elections held that 12 months, when he ordered the illegalization of political events and arrested seven pre-candidate opponents. . for the president. His crimes: “Some tweets, some retweets and a few public statements.” which charged him with “conspiracy and undermining nationwide sovereignty” and sentenced him to 10 years in jail. Vigil’s accomplice, the legendary Sandinista commander, Dora María Tellez, was on the hunt for dissidents on the identical time; His nieces, Tamara Dávila and Suen Barahona, have been the final two of Unamos and have been all incarcerated and imprisoned within the ladies’s wing of El Chipo, the regime’s worst dungeon – exterior the jail system – in Managua, apart from Tellez, who was destined for the boys’s isolation gallery.

Vigil spent 80 days in preventive detention, with no contact with the skin world or any help from a lawyer, throughout what they name an investigation interval — which Ortega reformed from 48 hours to 90 days to at some point, till three within the morning. , he was taken to courtroom for a preliminary listening to together with different prisoners. “It was a pantomime, with a public defender. That was in September 2021 and I used to be left in the dead of night till February 2 subsequent 12 months when an categorical trial was held in the identical jail. I obtained to speak to my lawyer for 3 minutes and so they discovered me responsible. Worse lately. Even the accused shouldn’t be taken to courtroom. The trial is now by way of video name. They referred to as the prisoner and skim out the sentence.

His case shouldn’t be distinctive. Through the dialog, the names of different companions of misfortune come up. At the moment, there are 141 political prisoners, of whom 23 are ladies. “Victor Tikai, journalist, has been imprisoned since April 2023 for masking a non secular procession; Carlos Bojorz, whose solely crime was to march with a blue flag in January of this 12 months for the liberty of Monsignor Alvarez, who was nonetheless incarcerated. He was stopped on his means house and remains to be lacking. Eddie Melendez, a good friend of mine, who has Parkinson’s, has been in La Muela jail since July 2021, accused of against the law that was materially unattainable for him to commit. Nancy Henriquez, indigenous chief, who was remoted for greater than 250 days; Brooklyn Rivera, President of the Yatama Indigenous Political Occasion, kidnapped on September 29 and lacking for over 200 days, Professor Freddy Quezada can also be lacking…”

    Ana Margarita Vigil, Nicaraguan opponent.
Ana Margarita Vigil, Nicaraguan opponent. Pablo Monge

The Inter-American Fee on Human Rights (IACHR) confirms that greater than 2,000 folks have handed via Nicaraguan prisons since 2018, though monitoring by the opposition Blue and White Unit says the precise quantity is nearer to five,000. Allegations of bodily torture, rape and misbehavior in opposition to the police are quite a few. Additionally, Vigil added, “Greater than 355 households are nonetheless ready to know what occurred to their kinfolk who have been killed between April 2018 and June 2019.”

“Ortega’s solely supply of energy is terrorism, the police, the military and now the judiciary. It has no public assist, we’ve got identified for a very long time. What he does have is the horror of reshaping the social construction. In response to the Nicaraguan Monitoring Mechanism (MESENI), 3,800 civil society organizations have been closed and confiscated in recent times, and greater than 30 non-public universities have additionally been closed. For any chief of nationwide projection, in any space, solely jail or exile awaits,” mentioned Vigil.

He was a part of the primary group of 222 Nicaraguans who have been stripped of their nationality by the regime in 2023, as have been journalists Carlos Fernando and Cristina Maria Chamorro, amongst others, and headed for exile. Disqualified as a lawyer and his household’s enterprise stolen, Vigil – who had taken Spanish citizenship on the suggestion of the federal government of Pedro Sánchez to the opposition that the federal government needed to stateless – lived in New Orleans with Dora Maria Tellez. who’s already married in the USA, and who is devoted to writing his memoirs after Ortega broke ties with the Sandinista Entrance as a result of his authoritarian drift. “We met once more on the Washington constitution flight. “It was like a film.”

Vigil didn’t endure bodily torture, however he suffered emotional torture. He remembers that essentially the most troublesome a part of his imprisonment was the sickness of his mom, who died after a protracted battle with most cancers and whom he by no means noticed once more, and the loss of life of retired common Hugo Torres, who led the assault on the Somoza presidential palace. 1978. Subsequent to Téllez, after passing via El Chipot. “Not less than my mom died after I was free. I could not hug her, however we talked each day. And I do know she caught it out for that.” However neither the regime nor the confinement broke her. Her inside energy, regardless of her fragile look, made the expertise of jail and exile a supply of studying. “I used to be positive I used to be going to win, I might break via. , however my thoughts was sturdy. I discovered to understand lovely issues like watching the dawn or when a watchman smiles at me. Each day, even in excessive conditions, you’ve gotten one thing to be glad about. One can’t assist one other Not so wealthy that nobody wants assist.”

That hope drives Anna Margarita Vigil to verify that with every passing day, after greater than a decade of impunity, after a lot loss of life, a lot bloodshed inside and outdoors, the regime is ending. “I am positive it is within the ultimate phases and after concentrating all of the vitality it is beginning to lose. Nicaragua wants assured elections, an interim authorities that restores democratic order for a rustic the place everybody matches in, and justice and fact are wanted to forestall this from occurring once more.”

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