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Human Rights

Nicaragua closes Mother Theresa charity and 100 other civil groups

These latest closures bring the total number of NGOs that the regime has shut down in recent years to 758

June 30, 2022 12:32pm

Updated: June 30, 2022 1:47pm

The Nicaraguan government closed down 101 additional non-governmental organizations and civic groups in the country on Wednesday, including a local branch of Mother Theresa’s charity, amid a crackdown on such institutions. 

The closures were approved by the Central American country’s congress, bringing the total number of NGOs that the regime has shut down in recent years to 758. 

Daniel Ortega’s government has been cracking down on NGOs and groups over the past four years. The government views most of these organizations as opposed to the regime and claims the groups receive funding from abroad to conspire to remove him from office. 

Mother Theresa’s charity, the Missionaries of Charity, had been in Nicaragua for 34 years operating a children's center, a home for girls, and a facility for the elderly. Additionally, the charity offered music and theater classes for children and vocational training for victims of violence. 

This year alone, Nicaragua has closed more than 200 institutions already. In addition, the government announced that an additional 100 groups might be forced to shut down soon.

In March, Ortega expelled the representative of the International Red Cross (ICRC) from the Central American country. According to the organization, the government’s decision came as a surprise given that the ICRC was “adhering to its principles of neutrality, impartiality, and independence.”

Other organizations that have been targeted by the regime include the Society of Pediatrics, the Nicaraguan Development Institute, the Confederation of Nicaraguan Professional Associations, the Cocibolca Equestrian Center and various Rotary Clubs. 

Ortega has been widely criticized for the November 2021 presidential elections, when he was elected as president for the fourth consecutive term. Ahead of the elections, the regime arrested more than 46 opposition leaders and six presidential candidates.  

"The Ortega regime in Nicaragua has systematically canceled legal registration of human rights organizations and other NGO's in an effort to demolish the few trenches of democracy that still survive in the country," Juan Pappier, senior researcher on Latin America at Human Rights Watch, told Reuters.