Nicaraguan ambassador to OAS turns on Ortega, denounces 'dictatorship'

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MANAGUA, March 23 (Reuters) - Nicaragua's ambassador to the Organization of American States (OAS) on Wednesday condemned the government of President Daniel Ortega, accusing it of repressing the political opposition, human rights abuses and cracking down on freedom of speech.

Ambassador Arturo McFields said in a video address posted on Twitter by the OAS that he was speaking up on behalf of scores of political prisoners and over 300 people who have died in the country since protests broke out against Ortega in 2018.

"Denouncing the dictatorship of my country is not easy," he said. "But to continue remaining silent and defending the indefensible, is impossible."

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McFields, a television journalist who took on his role as OAS ambassador in November, also said he had resigned from the post.

The government, which has long argued that opponents of Ortega have been attempting to oust him with foreign support, dismissed McFields' remarks, saying he did not represent the government and that his declarations were "not valid."

The administration said Nicaragua's ambassador to Washington, Francisco Campbell, was now the OAS representative.

McFields also pointed to the closures of nongovernmental organizations and curbs on the media, and said elections in the Central American country were "not credible."

His comments came the same week that a judge sentenced former presidential candidate Cristiana Chamorro to eight years detention for financial crimes, in a case the opposition said was politically motivated. read more

Chamorro led Ortega in several polls when she was arrested last June. Ortega won re-election to serve a fourth consecutive term in November after at least 46 opposition figures, including six presidential candidates, were detained.

The United States and the European Union said Ortega's last election was illegitimate and have pressed him to hold new elections and release more than 160 prisoners.

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Reporting by Ismael Lopez; editing by Jonathan Oatis and Bill Berkrot

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