Government of Nicaragua cancels operating permits for five universities and 11 NGOs

The government of President Daniel Ortega this Wednesday canceled the operating license of five universities, as well as 11 non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

The Polytechnic University of Nicaragua (Upoli)which was taken over for almost two months by students who demonstrated against the Managua regime during the popular revolt that broke out in April 2018, was one of those affected.

The request to close Upoli was made by the Government, through the Ministry of the Interior, and urgently approved by the National Assembly (Parliament), controlled by the Sandinistas and their allies. The Ortega government justified the closure because allegedly the affected institutions “have failed to deliver financial reports to the Department of Registration and Control of Non-Profit Civil Associations” of the Ministry of the Interior, or because its “Board of Directors is headless ”, according to the content of the decree.

The Upoli, a state-subsidized university, was a bastion of the protests against the Ortega government between April and June 2018, when dozens of young people barricaded themselves inside, to avoid being captured by the National Police, in one of the harshest moments of the crisis in Nicaragua, which has left hundreds dead.

It was the first study center in which students barricaded themselves in protest against the Ortega government, on April 19, 2018. The university, located east of Managua, was the scene of almost daily battles between students and police, the first with homemade mortars and the latter with war rifles, according to human rights organizations. The fighting left at least 10 dead, mostly students, according to the April 19 Student Movement.

The students left Upoli on June 9, 2018, after internal conflicts over the presence of government infiltrators, which gave way to a wave of looting, which the April 19 Student Movement attributed to “Sandinista mobs.”

The state of the university prevented the return to classes immediately and it took five months, under a heavy police presence around the campus. The Upoli hosted on April 23, 2018, after the protests broke out, a massive demonstration in which they called for the departure from power of President Ortega and his wife and vice president, Rosario Murillo, who were accused of repression and violation of the human rights.

With this, there are already 80 local entities outlawed, at the request of the Ortega executive, since the sociopolitical crisis broke out in Nicaragua in April 2018, which left 355 dead, according to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR).

The Ministry of the Interior has also canceled the registrations of three American and three European NGOs. Nicaragua has been going through a political and social crisis since April 2018, which has been accentuated after the controversial general elections on November 7, in which Ortega was re-elected for a fifth term, fourth consecutive and second along with his wife, Rosario Murillo, as vice president, with her main contenders in prison.