San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Daniel Ortega's stepdaughter lashes out at Nicaraguan president for deporting her domestic partner

Bolivian Carlos Ariñez Castel, the domestic partner of Zoilamérica Ortega Murillo, stepdaughter of Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega, was arrested and deported on Tuesday by Nicaraguan authorities for supposedly violating immigration laws, reported an official source. 

Ariñez “has violated the laws of this country by illegally overstaying [his visa] and not updating his duration of stay,” announced the head of Nicaragua’s Directorate of Immigration, regiment commander Martín Jarquín, on the official website 19 de Julio. 

Zoilamérica, however, told the magazine Confidencial that her mother, First Lady Rosario Murillo, called her on the telephone to say that they were deporting Ariñez, who has lived in the country for four years, in retribution for the support that they lent to senior citizens who have been protesting since last week against the government for attempts to reduce pensions. 

“I received a telephone call from my mother saying that this was the consequence of my actions and I was responsible,” Zoilamérica told Confidencial magazine, which is run by independent journalist Carlos Fernando Chamorro, son of ex-President Violeta Barrios de Chamorro (1990-1997).

Zoilamérica’s husband worked as a projects and communications consultant for the Center for International Studies (CEI), which she directs in Nicaragua.

In 1998, Zoilamérica accused her stepfather – now President Daniel Ortega – in court of sexually abusing her when she was 11 years old, but the court dismissed the case and ended proceedings in 2001 on the basis that the statue of limitations had expired. 

When local legal proceedings failed, the stepdaughter took her case before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, where she accused the Nicaraguan state of denying her justice. But in 2008, Zoilamérica dropped the lawsuit.

During the last five years, Zoilamérica began promoting and managing groups dedicated to sexual orientation, among other projects, and this year, she denounced the Sandinista government for supposedly blocking funds to an organization she ran, sparking a new conflict with her family.

Zoilamérica explained to local media that she arrived at immigration offices on Tuesday in Managua, when four agents from the entity intercepted the vehicle carrying her and her husband. 

The immigration director explained that they decided to deport Ariñez because his documents were not in order, and when a patrol found him in the capital he tried to “stop our officials.”

Jarquín said Ariñez is one of 120 foreigners who have been deported in the last few months because of an irregular immigration status in the country. 

Nicaraguan officials escorted Ariñez across the border into Costa Rica, where he has residency, the Nicaragua Dispatch reported.

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