Nicaraguan police on Wednesday moved to arrest opposition leader Cristiana Chamorro, raiding her home after a warrant was issued based on money laundering claims made by President Daniel Ortega’s government.
A Managua court said in a statement it had ordered the “detention of Cristiana Chamorro, accused of the crimes of abusive management, ideological falsehood” and “the laundering of money, property and assets, to the detriment of the Nicaraguan State and society.”
Agents entered Chamorro’s home in the capital Managua as she was preparing to give a press conference, her assistant Arelia Barba told AFP.
Chamorro has rejected the accusations against her as a “farce” meant to prevent her from running in presidential elections in November, which Ortega is widely expected to contest.
Shortly before police entered Chamorro’s home, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken denounced the Ortega government’s move against Chamorro, and said the country deserved “real democracy.”
Prosecutors on Tuesday accused Chamorro of an array of crimes, and asked for her to be barred from public duties given that she is facing criminal proceedings.
Chamorro, the 67-year-old daughter of ex-president Violeta Barrios de Chamorro, has declared herself a candidate for the November poll.
Her mother had beaten Ortega to the presidency in elections in 1990 to become the first female head of state in the Americas.
“Arbitrarily banning opposition leader @chamorrocris reflects Ortega’s fear of free and fair elections. Nicaraguans deserve real democracy,” Blinken, on a visit to Latin America, tweeted Wednesday.