According to reports on Tuesday, the governments of Chile and Argentina are among those willing to grant citizenship to Nicaraguan expatriates who were recently expelled from their country and stripped of their nationality on treason charges. Prominent writers Sergio Ramirez and Gioconda Belli are among the top candidates eligible for new passports.
The Chilean Foreign Ministry stated, “The Government of Chile will arbitrate the necessary legal means to offer them due international protection, which will allow them to reside in the country and obtain Chilean nationality, according to the constitutional and legal norms that regulate it.”
Chile is the country in the region that has most strongly condemned the regime led by Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo. With the decision announced on Tuesday, Chile becomes the second country, after Spain, to formally offer naturalization to Nicaraguan opponents.
“The Argentine government is willing to grant Argentine citizenship to @sergioramirezm @GiocondaBelliP and all those who are suffering what is happening in Nicaragua,” presidential spokeswoman Gabriela Cerruti said on Twitter. Foreign Minister Santiago Cafiero also noted in a radio interview that “if Sergio Ramírez asks for Argentine citizenship, we will give it to him; it’s a simple procedure, and Argentina is in a position to do it.”
However, Cafiero emphasized that interested individuals must initiate the procedure, adding that “The applicant has to initiate the procedure, which is very simple, at the Argentine Embassy.”
In addition to Ramírez and Belli, also among the new stateless people are journalist Carlos Fernando Chamorro, feminist leader Sofía Montenegro, and former guerrilla Dora María Téllez, who once fought alongside Ortega. Nicaraguan authorities have also released some 222 former political prisoners, who were sent on a plane to the United States on Feb. 9.
The Chilean Government added, “The history of our country has taught us that the defense of democracy and human rights, and international solidarity among peoples, transcend political conjunctures and are part of civilizing standards essential for life in society.”
Chilean President Gabriel Boric Font expressed solidarity on Twitter, sending “a fraternal embrace to Gioconda (Belli), Sergio (Ramirez), Sofia (Montenegro), Carlos (Fernando Chamorro), and all those whom Ortega has tried to strip of their Nicaraguan nationality. The dictator (Ortega) does not know that the homeland is carried in the heart and in actions, and is not removed by decree. They are not alone!”
Chile’s Foreign Minister Antonia Urrejola, while chairing the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) in 2021, was also critical of the situation in Nicaragua.
Ramírez, a former Nicaraguan vice president and 2007 Cervantes Prize winner, thanked Boric “for embodying dignity and integrity by not keeping quiet about Nicaragua,” while Belli praised him for “being consistent and for supporting the rule of law and the democratic demand in Nicaragua and Latin America.”