San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Renowned opposition journalist accuses the Nicaraguan military of political spying

MANAGUA, Nicaragua – The editor of the magazine Confidencial de Nicaragua, renowned opposition journalist Pedro Joaquín Chamorro, the son of ex-President Violeta Barrios de Chamorro (1990-1997), accused the military on Monday of “performing political spying activities and intimidation” against one his journalists and his family.

Chamorro made his accusation public on his television interview show “Esta Semana,” which broadcasts every night, after presenting an “energetic” letter of protest to the head of the Nicaraguan military, Gen. Julio César Avilés, who has not responded to the accusation.

In the letter, Chamorro accused officials of the Defense Investigation Administration (DID, in the military), of monitoring, pursuing and harassing journalist Ismael López and his family in order to call into question the investigative work he was doing for the magazine.

“After insistent phone calls and contacts with his family members, on Friday, Oct. 11, DID officials summoned” López to a meeting in a public place in order to “interrogate him” about his activities and also inquire about the operation and the people who worked for the magazine Confidencial and Esta Semana, Chamorro protested.  

“Our Republic’s Constitution prohibits in formal language the military from conducting political spying,” Chamorro said, demanding an immediate end to the activities against the reporter, his family and the media.

Chamorro runs one of the few media outlets with a critical investigative profile that survives in the country, since the Sandinista returned to power in 2007.

Chamorro said the Nicaraguan Center for Human Rights brought López’s case before the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, Catalina Botero.

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