Argentina, Mexico recall ambassadors as Nicaragua broadens crackdown

A man, wearing a face mask for protection against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), walks by a mural depicting Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega, in Managua, Nicaragua March 30, 2020. Picture taken March 30, 2020. REUTERS/Oswaldo Rivas

MANAGUA, June 21 (Reuters) - Mexico and Argentina are recalling their ambassadors to Nicaragua to discuss the "concerning" situation there after the government broadened its crackdown against opposition figures, according to a joint statement on Monday.

Nicaraguan police late on Sunday detained journalist Miguel Mora, the fifth person to be arrested in recent weeks who is seeking to challenge President Daniel Ortega in November elections.

Mora, 57, was detained for "carrying out acts that undermine the independence and self-determination" of Nicaragua, police said in a statement.

Mexico and Argentina, in the statement shared by Mexico, said their ambassadors to the Central American country would return to their respective capitals for consultations.

Nicaragua had carried out "concerning" actions "that have put the wellbeing and freedom of various opposition figures (including presidential pre-candidates), activists and Nicaraguan businessmen at risk," the statement said.

Nicaraguan police in recent weeks have detained at least 14 political opponents and five presidential candidates, drawing international criticism from governments and human rights groups.

Ortega, who is seeking reelection for a fourth consecutive term to extend his 14 years in office, returned to power in 2007 having previously led the country from 1979 to 1990.

The Organization of American States' permanent council this month adopted a resolution to condemn the restrictions and arrests in Nicaragua and called for the release of all political prisoners. read more

U.S. President Joe Biden's administration imposed sanctions on Ortega's daughter and three of the Nicaraguan leader's allies and has said it is prepared to review "trade-related activities" with the country if its coming elections are not free and fair. read more

Reporting by Ismael Lopez, Writing by Cassandra Garrison Editing by Paul Simao

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