Nicaraguan police arrested the president of the Superior Council of Private Enterprise (COSEP), Michael Healy Lacayo, and the vice president of that business entity, Álvaro Vargas, who were imposed preventive detention for 90 days, the entity said in a statement.
The police report indicated that Healy and Vargas are being investigated for money laundering, for carrying out acts that undermine independence and sovereignty, for inciting foreign interference and proposing economic blockades, among other crimes similar to those charged to some thirty opponents arrested in the last four months.
COSEP maintained for years a political alliance with President Daniel Ortega that was broken in the wake of the social hyp of 2018, after the private sector rejected a unilateral reform to Social Security and supported the demands of the students.
Healy was arrested after appearing to testify before the Prosecutor’s Office and his residence was later raided, COSEP said in a press release. He added that Álvaro Vargas, who also had a summons this day before the Public Ministry, was arrested at his home.
COSEP recalled that Healy is president of the Federation of Private Entities of Central America, Panama and the Dominican Republic (FEDEPRICAP) and enjoys precautionary measures issued by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) in August 2018.
With the arrest of Healy and Vargas, there are 39 people linked to the opposition detained since last May, including political leaders, students, professionals and seven presidential candidates who intended to dispute the power of Ortega in the elections of November 7.
The arrest of the businessmen comes a day after 26 countries of the Organization of American States (OAS) approved a resolution in which they demanded that Ortega hold free elections and release the detained opponents, which according to the opposition total 155 since 2018.
Ortega, who turns 76 on Nov. 11, first ruled in the 1980s and returned to power in 2007. In these elections he aspires to achieve his third consecutive re-election and the second of his wife, Vice President Rosario Murillo.
Nicaragua is experiencing a serious political crisis that began after the protests of 2018 and was violently quelled by police and paramilitaries. According to the IACHR, the repression left 328 dead, more than 2,000 injured, 1,600 detained at different times, and more than 100,000 exiles.
From the Confederation of Production and Commerce of Chile (CPC) they expressed their “firm condemnation and rejection of the arbitrary detention of the president of the Superior Council of Private Enterprise (COSEP) and FREDICRECAP, the Nicaraguan businessman Michael Healy Lacayo, and the vice president of COSEP and president of UPANIC, Álvaro Javier Vargas Duarte”.
Both arrests, together with that of the former president of COSEP, José Adán Aguerri Chamorro, are for the CPC “illegitimate acts and attacks against the human rights and dignity of these business leaders, who, in their capacity as representatives of the private sector, play their role with courage and rectitude, in defense of civil and economic rights and liberties.”
“The Chilean businessmen gathered in the CPC send our solidarity to the businessmen of Nicaragua who today are being oppressed and violated in their human rights, as well as to all the Nicaraguan people, with the hope that they will soon recover social peace and democratic stability, put at risk by the current dictatorship,” they said from the Chilean business union.