Spain grants citizenship to Nicaragua after making them stateless


© Reuters. Hopeful former Nicaraguan president Felix Maradiaga, one of more than 200 political prisoners freed from Nicaragua, hugs his daughter, Alejandra, as he celebrates with supporters and his wife Berta Valle, outside a hotel after arrival


MADRID/MANAGUA (Reuters) – The Spanish government has granted citizenship to more than 200 Nicaraguan political prisoners who were freed and flown to the United States on Thursday, Spain’s top diplomat said. on Friday.

Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Albares made this announcement to the Servimedia news agency, following the surprise release of 222 Nicaraguan prisoners who were subsequently deported to the United States.

After they were released, lawmakers loyal to authoritarian President Daniel Ortega voted to strip them of their Nicaraguan citizenship, which could thwart plans to return home one day.

But since it requires a constitutional change, a second vote is needed, possibly until 2024.

In the interview, Albares praised Ortega’s decision to free his jailed critics, many of whom are prominent opposition politicians, journalists and religious figures.

He added that Spain is open to receiving others, noting that Madrid’s decision was made “after reports emerged that procedures had begun to declare them stateless.”

Spanish authorities will contact the prisoners, who are allowed to enter the United States on temporary humanitarian visas, so that they can officially apply for citizenship.

Several opposition presidential candidates are among the freed political prisoners, including some who sought to challenge Ortega in the 2021 election only to be arrested and detained for a period of time. unprecedented trawlers and criminal convictions for dissent.

Most international observers declared the 2021 vote a sham.

On Thursday, Ortega described the release of prisoners as an attempt to deport criminals seeking to harm Nicaragua, while the United States called the move a possible “constructive step” led to the next dialogue between Washington and Managua.

Prominent Nicaraguan cultural figures were quick to praise Spain’s swift action.

In a post on Twitter, noted novelist and essayist Sergio Ramirez, who served as Ortega’s vice president decades ago, described it as a “beautiful gesture”, adding that: those released “will have a homeland as long as Nicaragua does not restore freedom and democracy”. .”

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