Ex-OAS ambassador detained in Nicaragua

MANAGUA, Nicaragua (AP) — Nicaragua’s former ambassador to the Organization of American States was detained by unidentified men outside his home, his wife said Monday.

Edgard Parrales was forced into a vehicle by two men dressed in civilian clothes, according to his wife, Carmen Dolores Córdova.

She said the men did not show any badges or arrest warrant, and said she considers it a kidnapping.

However, the circumstances were similar to the arrests of dozens of opposition figures since May. Those arrested include seven people who had been considered possible rivals of President Daniel Ortega in the Nov. 7 presidential election.

Parrales had been one of the few political analysts willing to criticize Ortega openly in recent months.

The government did not confirm Parrales had been detained. The incident comes three days after Ortega’s government announced its intention to withdraw from the OAS, a move that Parrales had described as “nonsensical.”

Nicaragua’s government announced Friday that it will withdraw from the OAS, a regional body that has accused Ortega’s government of acts of repression and rigging this month’s election.

Ortega was elected to a fourth consecutive term in elections that were broadly criticized as a farce, after seven likely challengers to Ortega were arrested and jailed.

The OAS General Assembly voted to condemn the elections, saying they “were not free, fair or transparent, and lack democratic legitimacy.”

Twenty-five countries in the Americas voted in favor of the resolution, while seven — including Mexico — abstained. Only Nicaragua voted against it.

The ruling Sandinista Front and its allies control the congress and all government institutions. Ortega first served as president from 1985 to 1990, after the 1979 revolution that ousted the Somoza family dictatorship, before returning to power in 2007.

Relatives of political figures held prisoner in Nicaragua have expressed concern about the declining health of the inmates and called for their immediate release.

The families distributed a statement to reporters complaining the prisoners were subject to isolation, constant interrogations and insufficient food.

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