A note from the Biden administration was sent to Congress indicating that over 200 detainees from Nicaragua were released from prison and brought into the United States.
According to the note, the U.S. has “facilitated their transportation and entry into the” country.
The U.S. Department of State put out a release saying the group was brought to the country “on humanitarian grounds.”
.@StateDeptSpox: Earlier today, a plane arrived at Dulles International Airport carrying 222 individuals who have been held by the Government of Nicaragua. We welcome the opportunity to offer humanitarian protection to these political prisoners. pic.twitter.com/d7grdN7y3n
— Department of State (@StateDept) February 9, 2023
Nicaraguans who were released from their country were reportedly overwhelmingly happy. As PJ Media wrote, when the 68-year-old Javier Álvarez caught wind of news that his wife, daughter, and son-in-law were among the released detainees, he said, “This was totally unexpected. But it seems there were secret talks, and they managed this.”
The outlet noted that Nicaragua is one of the most poverty-stricken countries in Latin America and has a weak economy. Unsurprisingly, this has largely led to many Nicaraguans attempting to illegally immigrate to the United States.
Washington Post covered the alleged conditions are the Nicaraguan prison:
The prisoners had endured some of the harshest conditions in any jails in Latin America, according to their families. They were denied visits with relatives and their children for months. Many were not permitted to have books or writing materials; one was reduced to reading the label on a tube of toothpaste, family members said. The prisoners had little access to sun or fresh air. Some lost weight and became gaunt.
One prisoner, Hugo Torres, 73, died in captivity.
Several of the prisoners had planned to run against Ortega in the 2021 elections. But they were detained before the vote, and Ortega cruised to a fourth consecutive term.
Nicaragua’s Judicial Council reportedly proclaimed the prisoners are “traitors to the nation,” removing their citizenship and nationality entirely.
“The release of these individuals… marks a constructive step towards addressing human rights abuses in the country and opens the door to further dialogue between the United States and Nicaragua….” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement on the matter.
Among those let out of the prison were former Nicaraguan presidential candidates Juan Sebastian Chamorro and Felix Maradiaga reported CBS. The pair’s wives appeared on a 60 minutes report last year, aired on Oct. 31, 2021.