President Daniel Ortega this week sided with Venezuelan counterpart Hugo Chávez following his decision to expel the U.S.-based rights group Human Rights Watch after they released a report criticizing Chávez’s rights record.
Chávez last week ordered José Miguel Vivanco, Human Rights Watch researcher and Americas director, out of the country after his group released its critical report of the rights situation in Venezuela.
Ortega applauded the decision from Nicaragua, where the Sandinista government has launched its own offensive against critical human-rights groups.
Earlier this month, Nicaragua’s First Lady Rosario Murillo launched an aggressive campaign called “Operation No More Lies,” calling non-government organizations (NGOs) “modern day Trojan Horses” that mask “an international campaign against the revolutionary government” of President Ortega.
The Ortega government has since launched a selective campaign against certain non-governmental organizations, accusing them of illegally “triangulating” international funding to promote abortion “against the values of Nicaragua.”
Several feminist groups are already being audited by the government, in a case rights leaders claim is political revenge for supporting rape allegation filed against Ortega by his stepdaughter a decade ago.
In Venezuela, the report by Human Rights Watch called Chávez’s time in power a “lost decade” and said his government has weakened democratic institutions.