1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites
Press FreedomNicaragua

Nicaragua: Prominent anti-Ortega newspaper raided by police

August 14, 2021

The raid comes after authorities forced the newspaper to suspend its print edition. The paper has previously called Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega a "dictator" and slammed his response to antigovernment protests.

La Prensa newspaper in Nicaragua
La Prensa was recently forced to suspend its print editionImage: Alfredo Zuniga/AP Photo/picture alliance

The offices of a major Nicaraguan newspaper that is critical of President Daniel Ortega were raided by authorities on Friday, the Nicaraguan National Police said in a statement.

The police said the managers of the La Prensa paper were being investigated for "customs fraud and money laundering." The newspaper's offices in the country's capital, Managua, will remain under police custody. 

A video on La Prensa's Twitter account showed a group of police entering the offices of the newspaper.

La Prensa is the oldest newspaper in Nicaragua, having been established in 1926. The paper has previously called 75-year-old Ortega a "dictator" multiple times, and criticized his response to antigovernment protests.

How did the newspaper respond?

The paper's board secretary Juan Lorenzo told a Nicaraguan radio station on Friday that the government "will not silence us." 

The raid comes one day after the paper was forced to suspend its print edition. The Nicaraguan government had held up a shipment of newsprint paper, which caused the outlet to go to an online only format.

La Prensa was the last newspaper in the country to have a print edition.

Another opposition paper, Nuevo Diario, was forced to shut down its print version in 2019 due to a similar government blockade. 

The US State Department's Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs called on "the regime to respect La Prensa's freedom of expression instead of moving to silence independent reporting." 

Ortega cracks down on opposition ahead of elections

Ortega swept to power in 2007, and is vying for a fourth consecutive term in November's national election. Ortega's government has cracked down on the opposition ahead of the voting and arrested multiple key opposition politicians

Christiana Chamorro Barrios, the vice president of La Prensa, was a pre-candidate for the president in the election, but was arrested by the government in June.

Western countries such as the US, UK and EU have condemned the crackdown and called for free and fair elections in Nicaragua.

Ortega's wife, Rosario Murillo, serves as Nicaragua's vice president and has been sanctioned by the EU for human rights abuses.

Washington D.C.-based human rights watchdog Freedom House has characterized Nicaragua under Ortega as "not free," while French organization Reporters without Borders has ranked Nicaragua 121 out of 180 countries on its press freedom index.

wd/wmr (Reuters, AP, dpa)