Tegucigalpa (EFE).- The crisis that Nicaragua has been going through since April 2018 has caused the largest exodus in its history, even greater than that of the 1980s, when a civil war broke out in the country that left tens of thousands of dead, according to a report released by a Nicaraguan NGO.
The report “Situation of Nicaraguans forcibly displaced”, prepared by the Nicaragua Nunca Más Human Rights Collective, indicates that at least 605,043 Nicaraguans have left their country in the last 62 months, 9% of the total population, due to the state repression against opponents, religious and critics of the Government of Daniel Ortega.
“As of the closing date of this update, more than 605,043 Nicaraguans had to leave their homes due to the sociopolitical crisis that Nicaragua has been experiencing since 2018 and as a result of political violence,” mostly under 35 years of age, said that NGO, made up of exiled Nicaraguan activists.
USA the main destination for Nicaraguan exiles
The Nicaraguan population continues to “displace forcibly in search of safety” and have chosen the United States as their main destination, according to the document.
In the United States, since April 2018, at least 344,000 Nicaraguans have been intercepted at the southern border of that country, according to the Office of Customs and Border Protection of the United States of America (CBP, for its acronym in English).
“Only in the United States has there been an exponential increase since 2018 as a result of the unstoppable repression of the Nicaraguan government,” said the Collective.
In 2018, 3,337 Nicaraguans left Nicaragua for the US; 13,373, in 2019; 3,169, in 2020; 50,722, in 2021. 164,600, in 2020, and 108,968 as of May 2023, he specified.
“To this (last) must be added the 19,000 Nicaraguans who have been approved for humanitarian parole. Reaching a total figure of 127,968 compatriots in 2023, ”he detailed.
In the United States, according to the NGO, Nicaraguans who have sought political asylum face several challenges in the process, because immigration policies “have become more restrictive in recent years.”
“Throughout US history, asylum claims have often been complex, and denials of claims are common. Those who fail to obtain asylum may face the possibility of deportation and the uncertainty of returning to a country where their safety may be at risk.
Costa Rica, Mexico and Spain
After the US, Costa Rica, Mexico and Spain are, in that order, the main destinations for Nicaraguans seeking some type of international protection.
Costa Rica was the main destination for exiles until 2021, it has welcomed 209,344 Nicaraguans since the crisis broke out in April 2018.
Mexico, with 17,047, and Spain, with 15,470, are the third and fourth destinations for Nicaraguans fleeing the Sandinista government. In power since January 2007.
“If the migration growth curve remains like this, by December 2023, it is likely that 341,359 (Nicaraguans) will leave. This would mean that between 2018 and 2023 at least 804,000 Nicaraguans have gone into exile”, 11.7% of the total population, projected that Collective.
The exodus from Nicaragua
That NGO warned that the migratory wave of Nicaraguans, for political reasons, continues this year.
“In Nicaragua, the state repression against the Nicaraguan population continued in 2023, now through more brutal mechanisms,” denounced that body. He specified that between January and May of this year at least 108,986 Nicaraguans have been forcibly displaced due to political persecution.
“This coincides with the increase in political persecution of the Ortega dictatorship against independent journalism, the Catholic Church, civil society, activists, political opponents, human rights defenders,” the agency noted in the report.