A reporter for a left-wing British newspaper claims that he was detained without explanation in Mexico on his way to Nicaragua to follow the Sunday elections. The United States has threatened the country with new sanctions ahead of the poll.
Steve Sweeney, international editor of the British socialist newspaper Morning Star, said he was placed in police custody while on a transfer flight through Mexico City. If his detention continues, he will not be able to reach Nicaragua in time to cover the general elections, which will be held in the country on Sunday.
The runoff is complicated, with critics of President Daniel Ortega and his Sandinista government branding it as a farce. Days before the election, the US stepped up pressure on Nicaraguan officials as the House passed the so-called RENACER act, calling it a response to human rights violations in Nicaragua.
Ortega’s defenders, including Sweeney, say the US is simply continuing its decade-long bipartisan campaign to overthrow Ortega. The International Court of Justice (ICJ) famously ruled in favor of Nicaragua after accusing the United States of violating international law by supporting armed Contras groups in the 1980s.
The reporter said he suspected his detention was part of a Western attempt to dictate the election narrative, which Ortega is expected to win overwhelmingly.
“I am the only journalist for a British newspaper who covers the Nicaraguan elections from the ground”, hey stated. “Stopping me from doing that would leave the British press free to regurgitate their standard anti-Nicaraguan tariff unchallenged.”
I am the only reporter for a British newspaper who covers the Nicaraguan elections from the ground. Blocking me from doing so would leave the British press free to regurgitate their classic anti-Nicaraguan fare unchallenged.
-Steve Sweeney (@SweeneySteve) November 7, 2021
The United States has said it will not recognize the outcome of the elections, accusing the Ortega government of cracking down on opposition forces. This could indicate that a coup was underway in Nicaragua similar to the one that ousted Bolivian President Evo Morales in 2019, Sweeney suggested.
“Solidarity with everyone on the ground is now vital. We must not fall in love with the structural disinformation that is provided by the mainstream press “, he said, asking the Mexican government to release him.
He said the United States banned him from entering two weeks before his trip to Nicaragua.
Sweeney is no stranger to being arrested and even kicked out of foreign nations. In 2019, Turkey barred him from entering when he aimed to cover local elections, reportedly citing national security concerns. Sweeney and the newspaper he works for openly criticize the Turkish government.
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