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Ortega Regime Cancels Legal Status of 15 More NGOs

Forty-five national and international NGOs have been officially dissolved by the regime in the last month.

The Interior Ministry has asked the National Assembly to annul the legal non-profit status of another 15 NGOs. This makes a total of 45 national and international NGOs shuttered this month by the regime of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo.

The bill entitled “Cancellation Decree for the Legal Status of Civil Non-profit Associations” was presented by Sandinista deputy Filiberto Rodriguez on August 18. According to the decree, these organizations were being dissolved for “holding activities outside the law and acting expressly against the law.” The NGOs were accused of hindering the work of surveillance and control of the Ministry’s Department of Registration and Control of Associations, the government’s official regulating body.

In reality, starting 2018, the government laid a trap so they could summarily close-down NGOs whenever they wished. For the last four years when the civil society organizations took the required paperwork to the Ministry they were always rejected. One of the NGOs consulted tried unsuccessfully dozens of times to file its annual report. Organizations working with women’s empowerment, environmental protection issues and public participation in different spheres have been the most targeted by the Ortega-Murillo regime.

The organizations to be stripped of their legal status include: Nicaraguan Institute for Investigation and Popular Education (INIEP); Nicaraguan Soy Association (SOYNICA); Christian Medical Action; Matagalpa Women’s Collective (CMM); Central American Institute for Social Integration (ICIS); Center of Studies for Governability and Democracy (CEGODEM).

Also on the list are: Nicaraguan Federation of NGOs (ONG-NICARAGUA), Nicaragua Diakonia Foundation; Foundation Between Volcanoes (FEV); Dr Concepción Palacios Nicaraguan Medical Foundation (FUMEDNIC); Mejia Godoy Foundation; Xochiquetzal Foundation; Institute for Social Investigation and Management (INGES); Oyanka-Jalapa Association of Jalapa Women against Violence (OYANKA) and the Nicaraguan Network or Democracy and Local Development (RED LOCAL).

Many of the organizations have three decades or more doing different types of community and educational work in urban and rural Nicaragua.

In its request to close these organizations the Interior Ministry report sent to the National Assembly, indicates that the 15 organizations are “headless” since the term limits of their boards of directors have expired. In addition, the report accuses them of failing to submit “detailed breakdowns” of their financial status for several years.

In fact, the organizations do have current boards of directors and try to file their annual reports on time, but they have not been accepted now for four years.

In its further attempt to distort reality, in its report to the National Assembly, Mingob says: “They haven’t presented the (donor) contracts for their projects and activities, which clearly define their source of financing, their portfolio of projects, the social impact of these and if they’re in accordance with the goals and objectives of the foundation.”

In addition, the Ministry complains that the NGOs “haven’t submitted the identification documents of their doners with their names, ID card or passport numbers, exact address, home address and telephone numbers.”

Medical organizations decapitated in July

On July 28, the FSLN legislators annulled the legal status of 24 NGOs, among them 15 medical associations made up of specialists. Many of these doctors were critical of the government’s management of the COVID-19 pandemic in Nicaragua.

Later, on August 16, the Interior Ministry ordered the cancellation of another 6 NGOs with ties to the United States and Europe. They once against alleged that their operations hindered “control and surveillance” by not reporting their financial details and failing to comply with other legal requirements for reporting donations.

The closing down of the latest 15 NGOs is scheduled for approval on Tuesday August 24, in the National Assembly. President Daniel Ortega and VP Rosario Murillo, who will be reelecting themselves in November, control the National Assembly with an absolute majority of FSLN deputies and all their wishes routinely become the law.

*This article was originally published in Spanish in Confidencial and translated by Havana Times

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