Apparently undeterred by an international scandal over his alleged connection to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, President Daniel Ortega this week granted asylum to two Colombian women who survived the March 1 bombing raid on a secret jungle rebel camp belonging to the FARC.
In a press release, the president announced May 11 that he had granted asylum for humanitarian reasons to Doris Torres, 21, and Martha Pérez, 24, both of whom arrived in Nicaragua on Sunday with human-rights workers from South America.
The President’s announcement came the same day as a the daily La Prensa led with a headline accusing Ortega of being embroiled in “FARC-gate,” for his alleged offer to supply the Marxist Colombian rebel group with old weapons hidden in Nicaragua, according to information allegedly found in emails on a computer that belonged to Raul Reyes, the FARC’s No. 2 in command. Reyes was killed in the raid, but his laptop allegedly survived, according to the Colombian military. The information they claim to have found on the computer was first published last week in the Spanish newspaper El Pais.
Ortega last month offered similar asylum to Mexican Lucia Morett, who survived the same attack on the FARC camp but insists she was a visiting student, not a rebel.
Although the FARC is on the United States’ list of terrorist organizations, Ortega has maintained his support for Reyes and FARC leader Manuel Marulanda, whom he has called a “dear brother” and decorated with the Order of Augusto Sandino.
Opposition leaders in Nicaragua, meanwhile, have expressed growing concern over Ortega’s relation to the FARC and how it might affect Nicaragua’s relations with the United States and other donor countries.