A leak of official information from the Nicaraguan Ministry of Health (Minsa), carried out by the group Anonymous, has revealed that the Nicaraguan government hid 6,245 positive COVID-19 cases between March 18th and July 24th, 2020.
An analysis of the data conducted by Doctor Álvaro Ramírez, former director of epidemiology at Minsa, indicates that out of the 17,249 tests that the institution performed between February and July, 56% were positive. That is to say, 9,683 citizens were infected with the virus, three times more than what was officially reported by the Government.
The information also details that, among those infected, 1,172 people were part of the health personnel. Twenty-three children below the age of one also tested positive.
The data reveals that the Nicaraguan government has had daily access to the real number of COVID-19 cases. However, Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo decided to hide this information in the weekly reports to the population.
Doctor Álvaro Ramírez is not surprised by this concealment of data, but questions “the fact that the information was there, it reached the presidency every day, and that for whatever reason that we cannot easily understand, they chose to lie to the population, change the data, and include different data”, which means that the Ministry was “deliberately” ordered to report a lower figure.
The presidency and the Ministry of Health have remained silent regarding the leak. Daniel Ortega only recently acknowledged that the pandemic has killed data personnel. However, he did not offer data on the real impact of COVID-19 on the healthcare sector.
Citizen Observatory publishes new COVID-19 contagion figures
The COVID-19 Citizen Observatory (Observatorio Ciudadano COVID-19) raised its independent registry of the pandemic to 9,822 suspected cases of COVID-19 and 2,62 deaths associated with coronavirus. The death toll contrasts with the official count of the Ministry of Health, an institution that only admits 122 deaths and registers 4,311 positive cases until August 18. To date, the Observatory registers 105 health workers who have died due to COVID-19 infections, as well as infections in 74 municipalities in the country.
PAHO warns of a second coronavirus outbreak due to public activities
The Panamerican Health Organization (PAHO) called on the Nicaraguan government to reduce public activities that persist in the country because they could cause a second outbreak of infections and deaths due to COVID-19.
In a recent virtual conference, the director of Health Emergencies of the Organization reiterated that one of the most important measures to reduce transmission is physical distancing and warned that large crowds of people promote transmission from one person to another.
“These events should be reduced, as is being done throughout the world,” Ugarte said, referencing the case of Nicaragua. “Failure to comply with the distancing measures, especially in conditions where there is an apparent decrease in the number of cases, can later lead to a very significant increase in infections. A massive increase in cases has a direct impact on mortality rates because health services are saturated in a very short term,” he insisted.
Journalist Kalúa Salazar accused of libel and slander
The Nicaraguan Independent Press Forum denounced the recent “attacks, intimidation and aggression” against Radio La Costeñísima (Bluefields) by the Ortega-Murillo regime, which continues pressuring Caribbean journalists through the judicial system.
Kalúa Salazar, journalist and press officer for La Costeñísima, faces a trial for defamation and slander of officials of the Mayor’s Office of El Rama, who are allegedly involved in acts of corruption, according to a report released on this radio. Salazar affirms that this is a political retaliation against the journalists and the station.
“Here in Bluefields, for doing or job, for presenting a daily newscast, for always being on the side of the people, looking for a way to bring our microphones to the violations that they (the citizens) suffer (…) that is the job that we do, and for which we are now here (facing trial),” lamented Salazar.
Assembly approves reform on joint-stock companies
The National Assembly approved a reform to the Public Registry Law that incorporates controls on commercial companies, supposedly to remove Nicaragua from the “gray list” of countries exposed to money laundering.
The new controls approved on commercial companies seek to determine who are the final beneficiaries of the businesses, violating the principle of joint-stock companies.
5,230 commercial companies must “migrate” to the Registry of the Final Beneficiary (Registro del Beneficiario Final), managed by the Supreme Court of Justice.
Prosecutor’s Office accuses former Foreign Minister Fransisco Aguirre Sacasa
The Nicaraguan Prosecutor’s Office formally charged former Foreign Minister Fransisco Aguirre Sacasa for the alleged purchase of two bronze bells, stolen from the San José Obrero parish, in the city of Granada. The former official was summoned to a court hearing this week.
Aguirre Sacasa, who was also the former Nicaraguan ambassador in Washington, denied the charges and assures that the accusation against him has taken a political turn.
Nicaraguan army captures two exiled citizens
The Nicaraguan Army reported the arrest of Jean González y Cristian Meneses, two citizens who were living in exile and who were captured on August 13 when they tried to enter the country, irregularly, from Costa Rica.
One day after their capture, the police released a statement in which they presented the two citizens as members of the criminal group “El Topo”, linked to the criminal of Costa Rican nationality, Gerson Orozco Rodríguez.
The official version does not coincide with that of humanitarian organizations or family members, who assure that both detainees were exiled in Costa Rica as a result of the persecution experienced for their participation in the civic protests of April 2018.
Arbitrary detention violates the laws of Nicaragua. So far, González and Meneses have not been presented publicly as has been done with other Nicaraguans captured in retaliation for protesting against the regime.
This article has been translated by Ana Maria Sampson, a Communication Science student at the University of Amsterdam and member of our staff*