The stripping of nationality from opponents in Nicaragua is described as “civil death”

SAN JOSÉ.- The Nicaraguan writer Gioconda Belli described as a “civil death” the revocation of the nationality of more than 300 opponents to the regime Daniel Ortega in Nicaraguaduring a ceremony in Costa Rica, where he received an “honoris causa” doctorate degree from the University of Costa Rica (UCR).

“We did not think that they would declare us civil death in our own country,” said Belli, who has been exiled in Spain since the beginning of 2023. The author, 75 years old, was awarded the Reina Sofía Prize for Ibero-American Poetry in 2023, and recalled how he had to leave Nicaragua once again, this time fleeing the Ortega regime.

Reflecting on the recent history of Nicaragua, Belli recalled his exile in Costa Rica during the dictatorship of Anastasio Somoza in the 1970s. “We believed that after the Sandinista revolution of 1979, which overthrew Somoza, we would not experience something similar again.” , said. “We were wrong.”

Daniel Ortega, former guerrilla of the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN), stripped more than 300 critics and opponents of their nationality, accusing them of being “traitors” and “selling homeland” for their support of the 2018 protests. Ortega , who governed Nicaragua in the 1980s and returned to power in 2007, claims that these demonstrations, which left more than 300 dead in three months according to the UN, were an attempted coup d'état orchestrated by Washington.

In his speech at the UCR, Belli described his abrupt departure from his country to Spain, where the government of Pedro Sánchez granted him Spanish nationality. “We had no idea the direction our lives would take,” he said of his unexpected exile.

Belli, who received the Order of Arts and Letters in France in 2013, was an active figure in the FSLN and held various government positions until 1986, when he decided to dedicate himself completely to literature. The author of “The Inhabited Woman” and “The Scroll of Seduction” also thanked Costa Rica for hosting thousands of Nicaraguan migrants and exiles, describing it as a “refuge.”

“It is unfortunate that our turbulent history has forced us to seek refuge so many times,” he commented when addressing the Costa Rican public.

Spain not only welcomed Belli, but also the renowned Nicaraguan writer Sergio Ramirez, who was Ortega's vice president in the 1980s and is now also in exile, being a strong critic of the current regime. Human rights organizations from the UN, the United States, the European Union and other countries have condemned the action of stripping opponents of their nationality.