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Police in Nicaragua detain expected Ortega challenger

Cristiana Chamorro, in mask and sunglasses
The home of Cristiana Chamorro, who is pictured in Managua on May 21, was raided by police 15 minutes before she was set to give a news conference announcing she would challenge President Daniel Ortega.
(Diana Ulloa / Associated Press)

Nicaraguan police on Wednesday raided the home of Cristiana Chamorro, a potential presidential candidate and daughter of former President Violeta Barrios de Chamorro, one day after formally filing money laundering charges against the journalist.

Her brother, Carlos Fernando Chamorro, director of the independent news outlet Confidencial, confirmed the raid via Twitter and said his sister had been detained.

The judicial system said in a statement that a judge had issued search and detention orders for 67-year-old Cristiana Chamorro on Wednesday.

Vilma Nuñez, president of the Nicaraguan Center for Human Rights, said police “violently” entered Chamorro’s home south of the capital.

The police raided the home 15 minutes before Chamorro was scheduled to give a news conference. She was expected to challenge President Daniel Ortega.

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Authorities had sought Tuesday to have Chamorro barred from participating in the Nov. 7 elections. Chamorro has said the allegations were trumped up to keep her out of the race.

In late May, national police raided the offices of the Violeta Barrios de Chamorro Foundation for Reconciliation and Democracy, the nongovernmental group named after her mother and led by Chamorro until recently. They also raided the offices of the Confidencial.

The Nicaraguan government has said Chamorro is under investigation for alleged financial irregularities related to the foundation.

In January, she stepped down from her role at the foundation. A month later, it closed its operations in Nicaragua after passage of a “foreign agents” law designed to track foreign funding of organizations operating in the country.

Cristiana Chamorro’s mother beat Ortega to win the presidency in 1990 and served until 1997.

Her husband, Pedro Joaquin Chamorro, had run his family newspaper, La Prensa, and was jailed and forced into exile multiple times by the dictatorship of Anastasio Somoza. He was eventually assassinated in 1978. Cristiana Chamorro is the vice president of La Prensa.


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