Diplomatic Briefing

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Newsline: Spain’s top diplomat offers freed Nicaraguans citizenship

The Spanish government offered citizenship to more than 200 Nicaraguan political prisoners who were freed and flown to the United States on Thursday, Spain’s top diplomat said on Friday. Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Albares made the announcement to Servimedia news agency, following the surprise release of 222 Nicaraguan prisoners later expelled to the United States. After their release, lawmakers loyal to authoritarian President Daniel Ortega voted to strip them of their Nicaraguan citizenship, which could thwart plans to return home someday. But since it requires a constitutional change, a second vote is needed, likely not until 2024. In the interview, Albares hailed Ortega’s decision to free his jailed critics, many of them prominent opposition politicians, journalists and religious figures. He added that Spain stood ready to receive others, noting that Madrid’s decision had been made “after news reports that proceedings had begun to declare them stateless.” (https://neuters.de/world/europe/spain-offers-citizenship-222-freed-nicaraguan-political-prisoners-2023-02-10/) Spanish authorities will reach out to the prisoners, who were allowed into the United States under a temporary humanitarian visa, so they can formally apply for citizenship. Several opposition presidential candidates were among the released political prisoners, including several who sought to challenge Ortega in a 2021 election only to be arrested and detained in an unprecedented dragnet and criminalizing of political dissent. Most international observers declared the 2021 vote a sham.

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