:: Friday, Oct 29, 2009 3pm EST ::
VIOLENCE: The US Ambassador to Nicaragua Attacked this Morning
US ambassador to Nicaragua, Robert Callahan ducking into his car
US ambassador to Nicaragua, Robert Callahan, was attacked this morning in Managua by Ortega supporters who surrounded a university and launched mortars into the compound where the ambassador was making a speech. He was forced to seek refuge in his armored car and his convoy was attacked with homemade mortars and rocks. Yesterday the US embassy was attacked by mortars and rocks by Ortega supporters. Nica government officials are demanding that Callahan be expelled from the country after he made made a public speech condemning Ortega's recent violation of the constitution seeking indefinite reelection.
:: Tuesday October 27, 2009 2pm EST ::
Ortega changes Constitution allowing for Reelection
Nicaraguan President, Daniel Ortega
Despite the fact the Nicaraguan National Congress voted against a change to the constitution allowing for presidential reelection, Supreme Court Justices loyal to president Ortega issued an illegal ruling on Monday clearing the way for Ortega to run for another term.
The U.S. State Department questioned the way the court had reached its decision, and said "the move threatens democratic governance."
"The ruling appears to short-circuit, through legal maneuverings, the open and transparent consideration by the Nicaraguan people of the possibility for presidential re-election," State Department spokesman Ian Kelly said in a statement.
"We share the concern of many Nicaraguans that this situation is part of a larger pattern of questionable and irregular governmental actions," Kelly added.
Latin American countries are increasingly wrestling with the issue of presidential term limits as leftists such as Venezuela's self-styled socialist President Hugo Chavez seek to stay in power as long as they can win elections.
Click to download Supreme Court Ruling allowing for Reelection
:: Monday June 30, 2009 2pm EST ::
Womens' Rights Group in Nicaragua Hold Protest Against Eric Volz
banner referring to Eric as a "murderer" and "rapist"
This last Friday, June 26 2009, a prominent women's rights group joined by the mother of Doris Jimenez, held a protest in the Nicaraguan capital of Managua in front of the office of the (OAS) Organization of American States. They demanded that the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights reject the petition filed by Eric Volz, June 16, 2009, against the State of Nicaragua.
Read article here (Español):
The question remains: Since the mother of Doris Jimenez (and now with the support of a prominent women's rights organization) continually expresses outrage at the appellate court’s decision to release Eric Volz, why is she not putting an equivalent amount of attention on the lower court’s decision regarding Armando Llanes and Nelson Danglas, who were released illegally after formal accusations were filed against them, then set free with no trial?
:: Monday June 22, 2009 2pm EST ::
Public Survey being held in Nicaragua on Eric Volz’s Guilt or Innocence:
The Nicaraguan national newspaper El Nuevo Diario is currently conducting a public survey on their website asking readers to vote on Eric’s “guilt” or “innocence.” El Nuevo Diario has been, since the beginning of Eric's ordeal, the driving force in the manipulation of public opinion through erroneous, sensationalized and libelous accusations.
As of the time of this posting, according to the newspaper’s website, Nicaraguans are voting 76.62% for Guilty and 23.38% for Innocent.
No one in Nicaragua will give Eric an interview. Why?
Eric's recent submission of the Human Rights Petition to the Inter-American Court has dominated the Nicaraguan press for the last week. Eric has made repeated requests for interviews with several of the Nicaraguan networks, including El Nuevo Diario, but no media entity has granted his request.
The media coverage in Nicaragua has been careful not publish the URL of Eric's website for fear that their reports will be exposed as the erroneous and biased articles that they are. El Nuevo Diario, specifically, has made a practice of keeping the facts a secret since the very beginning of the case. Is it possible that the editor, Francisco Chamorro, has a personal agenda regarding Eric's case?
We challenge El Nuevo Diario to publish an unfiltered and unedited statement from Eric detailing the specifics of this case and the Petition to the Inter-American Court.
:: Wed June 17, 2009 3pm EST ::
Short Video on Eric's Human Rights Lawsuit
We arrived at the Organization of American States at approximately 10:30 a.m. this morning. The people at the front desk seemed a little confused by our arrival and seemed particularly thrown by our video camera. After explaining why we were there again and calling the Commission to let them know that we were there to file a petition, we were all issued guest passes and proceeded to the fifth floor. Only our videographer and her camera had to stay in the lobby. When we reached the fifth floor, where the Commission is located, we were escorted to a conference room in the Secretariat’s offices. Once there, three people – 2 attorneys with the “registry” group that processes petitions and 1 person from the “protection” group that processes emergency requests for precautionary measures – met with us. They asked us to give a general oral presentation of the petition, and they provided some background about their respective roles and process. They said the requests for precautionary measures are often ruled upon relatively quickly but, after the precautionary measures are ruled upon, there is a backlog of petitions. They are currently reviewing petitions from 2005 (only nine attorneys review the petitions and they receive approximately 1500 petitions each year). Before we left they explained that they will follow up in writing if they need any more information.
After leaving the Commission, we jumped into cabs again and headed over to the Nicaraguan Embassy. Drew and Maggie went into the Embassy to deliver a letter notifying Nicaragua of our filing, as a courtesy. Eric stayed across the street, not wanting to risk setting foot on Nicaraguan turf. Maggie and Drew met with the Deputy Chief of Mission and two of his aides. Maggie and Drew explained they were there as a courtesy to tell them that we had filed a petition on Eric’s behalf. Drew asked the Deputy Chief of Mission if he could confirm that the Republic of Nicaragua would cooperate with the Inter-American Commission. The DCM was non-committal. He also requested that we keep “this” out of the press. Maggie explained that because Eric was tried unfairly in the Nicaraguan press originally and because the Nicaraguan press is the main reason for so much of the misinformation used at Eric’s sham trial, keeping the press in the dark is not an option. After that we headed back to the attorney’s offices for a deep breath and some food.
: : June 15, 2009 3pm EST : :
Eric Volz Files Emergency Human Rights Petition
June 15, 2009 (Washington, D.C.) - Eric Volz, an American citizen whose sham conviction on murder charges in Nicaragua and subsequent release made headlines around the world last year, will file an emergency petition against the Republic of Nicaragua with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rightsin Washington, D.C., Tuesday, June 16 at 9:30am.
The petition asks the Inter-American Commission to issue an order terminating the Nicaraguan government's unlawful and improper efforts to have his conviction reinstated by the Supreme Court of Nicaragua. The petition also seeks a declaration that Volz's human rights were violated by the Nicaraguan court system. click here for more...
:: Mon April 27, 2009 10am EST ::
Short Documentary on Recent Election Fraud in Nicaragua
Produced by Esta Semana's Camilo de Castro
:: Wed April 15 2009 12pm EST::
Nicaraguan political refugee granted asylum in the United States
Ms. Martinez said, "This is a great defeat to Daniel Ortega. I hope President Obama tells him that the U.S. should not have to clean up after the suffering that Ortega is causing Nicaraguans who do not support his socialist revolution."
Read full story of her asylum case in the World Net Daily.
:: Tues April 7 2009 12pm EST ::
Young Nica Persecuted for Political Views
Auxiliadora Martinez, 23, a Nicaraguan political refugee, was beaten with sticks, shot at, nearly raped and almost murdered by Sandinista loyalists– all because she fought for free elections.
Now, the U.S. is prepared to deny her asylum. Read more here.
:: Thurs March 26, 2009 8am EST ::
NY Times: The Many Stories of Carlos Fernando
click here to read article.
:: Wed Mar 4, 2009 11am EST ::
Eric Volz case cited in new Washington Times article: Decline of Ortega's Nicaragua
"Consider Nicaragua, where Daniel Ortega, like his friend Hugo Chavez in Venezuela, is using the trappings of democracy to impose more and more authoritarian control... It's not just U.S. businesses that are targeted. In a sensational rape and murder case in Managua, a young American, Eric Volz, was imprisoned for a year in what the New York Times called 'a political spectacle,' then finally exonerated. 'Nicaragua's justice system has found itself on trial,' wrote Marc Lacey of the Times..." read more.
:: Fri Jan 22, 2009 8am EST ::
Some International Cases of Interest to Ortega
Yesterday in a press conference, Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega demanded that the U. S. release five Cubans who have been behind bars since 1998, after being accused of terrorism. He defended their actions by claiming that "they are Cuban heroes that are victims of the terrorist policies of the empire (United States), that fought to prevent terrorist acts against Cuba."
The Sandinista leader added that "while these heroes are imprisoned, terrorists such as Luis Posada Carriles are freely roaming the streets of the United States after committing terrible crimes such as the bombing of the Cuban airliner that killed dozens of Cuban athletes." He has asked that Posada Carriles be extradited to Nicaragua to stand trial, despite the fact he has never been accused of any crime in Nicaragua.
Ortega claims Posada Carriles was involved in the bombing of a Cuban airliner that killed 73 people on October 6,1976. Read article for more details.
:: Jan 21, 2009 12 noon EST ::
U.S. Sends Strong Message to Nicaraguan President
US Ambassador Robert Callahan
In a press conference yesterday, US Ambassador Robert Callahan, warned Nicaraguan president Daniel Ortega that he could "have problems" with Obama if he continues to disregard the "fundamental principles and values of democracy and Human Rights."
click here to read article.
:: Friday Jan 16, 2009 10am EST ::
A Power Above The Law
We have been receiving many letters asking, "How can the Nicaraguan court just ignore the facts?"
The answer is, the Nicaraguan judicial system is not independent as we understand our judicial system to work. Nicaraguan Judges are more likely to follow orders from political party leaders than to review cases objectively and/or according to the Rule of Law. There are no balancing constraints of accountability and transparency. This is a common trend in countries experiencing Democratic decay such as Nicaragua with the return of Daniel Ortega's dictatorship. Judges are regularly pressured to represent political interests within the court in order to preserve their jobs, and subsequently their well-being. Judges who preside over cases based on their conscience, or are not willing to give in to corruption, face many difficult challenges.
This morning, one of Nicaragua's newspapers reported that Liberal Party judges (the main opposition party to the Ortega-led Sandinistas) have not been receiving their salaries, while Sandinista Judges have yet to miss a paycheck. (See article in La Prensa.)
Indeed, some of the judges not receiving their salaries are the same ones who have openly expressed support for Eric's case in the Supreme Court.
:: Wednesday Jan 14, 2009 10am EST ::
Internet Defense Initiative
Nicaraguan Supreme Court
This morning the popular Nicaraguan newspaper, La Prensa, ran an article titled "Volz complains about the delay in Justice" referencing yesterday's post here on our site. The article puts pressure on the Supreme Court to deliver a verdict.
Eric said, "Newspapers are the main source for information in Nicaragua. La Prensa circulates even to the most remote parts of the country. If the content that we publish on our website gets printed in the paper down there, that means that even Nicaraguan farmers and fisherman got to visit our website indirectly. We have been forced to use the web as a defense tool. We started calling it our Internet defense initiative, actually. I cannot be there physically, so let's hope what we are posting generates a bit of pressure in this corrupt court 2,000 miles away."
:: Tuesday Jan 13, 2009 8am EST ::
Nicaraguan Court Violates the Law Again
The three Sandinista judges that are trying to convict Eric again.
Alba Luz Ramos
Nicaraguan Supreme Court violates due process again in Eric's case. A hearing was held on Nov 17, 2008 in an effort to overturn the ruling of NOT GUILTY by the Sandinista judges presiding. The court is given 30 days (as stated in the Nicaraguan Penal Code) to announce a verdict and yet it has been almost two months with no formal opinion in sight.
Justice Delayed is Justice Denied. Eric is considering appealing to a higher court. We will share details as we we learn more...
UPDATE: Monday Nov. 24, 2pm EST
NY Times article on Russians back in Latin America
The New York Times has recently published a series of well-researched articles on the instability in Nicaragua and the recent efforts of Russia to re-establish allies from the cold-war era in Latin America (including Nicaragua).
NY Times articles:
UPDATE: Friday, Nov. 21st, 2008 12 noon EST
Nicaragua situation is "reopening deep wounds" from the 80's
Yesterday, Nicaragua's Roman Catholic bishops said recent clashes over the elections were "reopening deep wounds" from the 1980s, when the U.S.-backed Contra rebels tried to overthrow Ortega during his first round as Nicaragua's leader.
The U.S. ambassador to the Organization of American States (OAS), Hector Morales, responded by saying "the region can't ignore antidemocratic practices."
NY TIMES - Claims of a Rigged Vote...
El Nuevo Diario - Youth in Nicaragua call for President Ortega to Resign
Washington Times - Nicaragua blasts OAS for election criticism
El Nuevo Diario - Nicaraguans in the US protest against election fraud
UPDATE: Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2008 1:00pm EST
Foreign Investors Being Affected by Unrest
The tension in Nicaragua is growing, and the international community is pressuring President Ortega to maintain institutional Democracy. Yesterday, three radio stations calling for a vote recount were looted and destroyed by Ortega's loyalists. Additionally, American baseball great Cal Ripken had his baseball camp cut short for security reasons.
See NEW articles:
THE ECONOMIST - How to Steal an Election - Ortega sets an ugly precedent
(Nicaraguan Newspaper) La Prensa - Police Chief, Aminta Granera, is in check mate. Does she uphold the Democratic institution of following orders from President Ortega?
** Note from Eric to Foreign Investors **
I have received some letters from Americans and other foreigners with investments and assets in Nicaragua who are concerned about the negative impact that reports from the media (including my updates to supporters) are having and will continue to have on their ability to do business. I completely understand their concerns... They are valid concerns. But I also challenge investors and travelers to consider the larger picture of not how they are being affected, but rather how the Nicaraguan people, who have lost their most basic civil liberties and peace, are being affected in the center of violence and corruption.
UPDATE: Tuesday, Nov. 18, 2008 10:00am EST
YESTERDAY'S HEARING CONCLUDED
IMPORTANT ADVANCEMENT - At the last minute yesterday morning, three Opposition Party Supreme Court Justices broke their strike and entered the court room to preside over Eric's case. This moderates the balance of political influence on the 6 judge panel. The substitute Sandinista judges did not appear, so the final count was three judges from Ortega's Party and three judges from the political opposition. The presence of the judges from the opposition greatly improves Eric's chances of receiving an objective ruling. Eric is innocent of this crime! It is our hope that the Appellate Court verdict declaring Eric's innocence will be upheld by the Supreme Court.
The information we have received is that the judges will take 30 days to announce their decision. Three officers from the U.S. Embassy were in attendance for the hearing in an observational capacity.
Eric and his family would like nothing more than to put this case behind them. We pray for the objectivity of the judges and, ultimately, for justice to be honored in memory of Doris Jimenez.
Thank you for your continued support!
NEW important articles to read:
Washington Post - Ortega moves to construct another Dictatorship
Herald Tribune - U.S.Gov Issues Travel Warning for Nicaragua
Article on yesterday's hearing in Nicaraguan Newspaper La Prensa
UPDATE: Monday, Nov. 17, 2008 8:00am CST
ERIC VOLZ TO BE RE-TRIED IN NICARAGUA TODAY AT 9am CST
follow the twitter feed @ericvolz
The Nicaraguan government has just announced that Eric will be re-tried this morning at 9am in the Supreme Court. The announcement was a total surprise and the way in which the court is proceeding is completely illegal and politically motivated.
Newspapers in Nicaragua reported yesterday that the appellate ruling of innocence will most likely be overturned and Eric will be re-convicted for the Doris Jimenez murder. There is speculation that President Daniel Ortega may be using the case to provoke the U.S. since they have expressed concerns over the status of Democracy in Nicaragua.
Click to see these related articles and resources:
NY Times - Councils Stir Fear of Dictatorship
Carter Center - Statement on Nicaraguan Elections
Carter Center - Statement on the Status of Democracy in Nicaragua Oct.23, 2008
La Prensa - Caso Volz a audiencia en CSJ
La Prensa - Gobierno acusa a la OEA