Shame on Nicaragua

By Alex P. Vidal

“Oh, humiliation is poisonous. It’s one of the deepest pains of being human.”—Pierce Brosnan

IT’S a shame that instead of giving newly crowned Miss Universe 2023 Sheynnis Palacios a grand welcome and a ticker tape parade for being the first Nicaraguan beauty queen to be crowned Miss Universe in history, the authoritarian government hogged headlines worldwide for banning Miss Palacios’ entourage from returning to the country.

What a waste of grand opportunity for the Nicaraguans to show the world how proud and grateful they are for producing a world class beauty titlist in this generation.

What a bizarre timing for the entourage that brought pride and glory for Nicaragua to be shabbily treated and humiliated by its own government which benefited tremendously in terms of international fame, goodwill and distinction with Miss Palacios’ scintillating victory.

According to the Global Centre for Responsibility to Protect, the Nicaraguan government has gradually eroded the rule of law and rapidly descended into authoritarianism, resulting in an unprecedented human rights crisis.

It has engaged in a broad campaign of repressing dissenting voices, including human rights defenders, women’s rights groups, journalists, religious and community leaders, students and academics, business owners and political opponents, as well as violence against indigenous and Afro-descendant peoples. Repression further intensified in the context of the 2021 presidential elections, when the government banned large parts of the opposition from participating, including through criminal prosecutions of presidential candidates.


Various government structures are committing widespread human rights violations and abuses that may amount to crimes against humanity, including persecution, murder, imprisonment, torture and sexual violence, deportation and politically motivated persecution.

The Nicaraguan government has revoked the citizenship of more than 300 alleged political opponents since early February 2023.

On February 9, Nicaraguan authorities reportedly forcibly deported 222 of these individuals, who had been arbitrarily detained for political reasons, and sent them to the United States.

On May 3 at least 40 government critics, including political opponents, independent journalists, human rights defenders and peasant activists, were detained in a massive police raid overseen by President Ortega and Vice President Murillo.

According to the newspaper El Pais, this operation was likely the highest number of detentions registered on a single day since the so-called “Operation Clean-Up” in 2018.

On June 21, the UN Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights warned that the silencing of critical voices persists in a context of widespread fear and harassment by authorities.

As a sign of intensifying repression, 119 civil society organizations and eight universities have had their legal personality cancelled since March.

Dozens of government critics, including prominent members of the Catholic Church, remain arbitrarily detained under what the GHRE has defined as a state policy.

On August 19, the US announced the imposition of visa restrictions on 100 Nicaraguan officials who restrict Nicaraguans’ human rights and undermine democracy.


LET’S be honest. If he was not among those 24 hostages released by Hamas on November 24, the Philippine Government wouldn’t know that Filipino caregiver Gelienor “Jimmy” Pacheco was among those held hostage when the terrorist group attacked and massacred more than a thousand people in northern Israel on October 7.

The Philippine government announced on November 25 the release of Pacheco, one of the two Filipinos reported missing following the reescalation of the Israel-Palestine conflict on Oct. 7 that had since killed thousands, only after he was listed as the only Filipino in the initial group of freed hostages.

Before the release of hostages, the Philippine Government never mentioned Pacheco’s name because, in the first place, they had no idea he was alive or whether he existed.

Now that Pacheco was freed, both the Philippine Embassy in Tel Aviv, Israel and the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) officials apparently tried to share if not own the credit as shown by their “full force” attendance in a press conference.

Indeed, victory has many fathers while defeat is an orphan.


SENATOR Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa, a former police general, should read this announcement from Department of State spokesperson Matthew Miller on November 24, 2023:

The United States is designating former Colombian General Jesus Armando Arias Cabrales due to his involvement in a gross violation of human rights during the retaking of the Palace of Justice of Bogotá in November 1985. 

As a result of today’s action, Arias Cabrales, his wife Martha Paulina Isaza de Arias, and his children Francisco Armando Arias Isaza and Martha Lucia Arias Isaza, are ineligible for entry into the United States.

The United States steadfastly supports Colombia’s 2016 Peace Accord and joins the Colombian people in commemorating its seventh anniversary. 

The United States congratulates Colombia on this anniversary, and we value its continuing achievements thus far. We also commend the Special Jurisdiction for Peace’s (JEP) work to end impunity for conflict-related crimes. 

The JEP integrates reparative justice and acknowledgment with criminal prosecutions to ensure victims play a central role in all stages of the peace process.

ON VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN. On the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, the United States commits to marshaling our full range of policy and diplomatic resources to preventing and responding to gender-based violence around the world.

To continue making progress toward the global eradication of gender-based violence, the United States is pairing the updated 2022 U.S. Strategy to Prevent and Respond to Gender-Based Violence Globally with concrete, survivor-centered actions, utilizing the $250 million in foreign assistance Congress appropriated in Fiscal Year 2023 for efforts to prevent and respond to gender-based violence. Furthermore, the

Department recently awarded a new $3 million program to prevent, mitigate, and respond to technology-facilitated gender-based violence in South and Central Asia.

The prevalence of gender-based violence is alarmingly high, leaving no country, society, or socioeconomic group unscathed.

Working with our partners, the United States will continue to work for a future free from gender-based violence.

(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two daily newspapers in Iloilo.—Ed)