Spain will grant citizenship to political prisoners released from Nicaragua


Spain will provide a pathway to citizenship for 222 Nicaragua political prisoners who had just been released from prison and many of them were sent to the United States on Thursday, a spokesman for Spain’s foreign ministry told CNN.

A spokesperson did not immediately respond to CNN’s question regarding the details of the offer, including how quickly they can get citizenship. The spokesperson spoke on condition of anonymity, citing local professional standards.

Questions have been raised about the fate of more than 200 newcomers to the United States, who were also stripped of their Nicaraguan citizenship on Thursday.

They were released after years of persecution by Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega. The authoritarian leader has jailed dozens of opposition figures and activists, especially before the final elections in November 2021.

US State Department spokesman Ned Price said on Thursday that the individuals, all of whom flew to Dulles International Airport in Washington, will be granted humanitarian parole for two years, allowing them to remain in the United States. and give them time to apply for asylum if they wish.

Each individual who left Nicaragua “voluntarily consented to travel” and “there were two individuals who voluntarily chose not to travel to the United States,” Price said.

According to US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, among the freed prisoners was an American, who welcomed their move, calling it a product of US foreign policy.

Ortega on Thursday said their release was not negotiated with Washington. “We just want them to go,” Ortega said.

After calling the release of prisoners a “message for peace and stability for Nicaragua,” the 77-year-old leader said the initial list of those freed had 228 names, but the United States denied it. at least 4 prisoners because they have been convicted of common crimes.

Bishop Rolando Alvarez, a senior member of the Catholic Church who has long opposed the Ortega regime and was detained in August 2022, will also be released, but he has refused, Ortega said. . Instead, 11 members of the clergy were released on Thursday morning.

Questions have been raised about the fate of more than 200 newcomers to the United States, who were also stripped of their Nicaraguan citizenship on Thursday.

Political prisoners were greeted by US officials, activists and members of the Nicaraguan diaspora at Dulles Airport.

One of the arrivals was political activist Felix Maradiaga, who told CNN en Espanol they only realized what was happening while on the plane.

“They made us sign some one-line documents that said we left the country of our own free will without further explanation,” he said. “On one hand, what happened was a shock, but on the other hand, I was overwhelmed by this moment, the opportunity to hug our family. Personally, I haven’t seen my daughter in over three years.”


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