New shake-up in the Supreme Court: magistrate Marvin Aguilar removed from his position as political secretary and under investigation

Aguilar, a magistrate appointed by the dictatorship as “acting president” of the Supreme Court of Justice, “fell into disgrace”, while his personal assistant and Lenin Cerna’s niece, Nadezda Obando Cerna, was arrested on Tuesday, February 20. Judge Alba Luz Ramos is no longer under police escort, but is still restricted from leaving Nicaragua. The Supreme Court continues to be paralyzed by this purge, whose main executor is the dictator’s security advisor minister, retired Commissioner General Horacio Rocha

Poder Judicial Nicaragua
Sandinista magistrate and acting president of the Supreme Court of Justice, Marvin Aguilar. Divergentes | File

Magistrate Marvin Aguilar, who has served as “acting president” of the Supreme Court of Justice (CSJ) since November 2024, was not allowed to enter the central court building this Monday morning, after the beginning of the purge carried out by retired Commissioner General Horacio Rocha. 

Police officers dressed as civilians denied him access to the building, and in a bad mood, he began calling people from his cell phone. Although he was later allowed to enter the building, two hours later he was notified that he had been dismissed as political secretary of the Sandinista Front of the SCJ. 

According to sources consulted by DIVERGENTES, the one in charge of removing the magistrate, very loyal to Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo, was Commissioner Rocha himself. “Super-minister” Rocha, was joined by Fidel Moreno, secretary of the Mayor’s Office of Managua and Rosario Murillo’s right-hand man. 

“The incident happened after a version that Aguilar had been forced to resign was circulated over the weekend. Last February 12, some area directors of the Court were informed that, since that day, all decisions were in the hands of the new administrator Róger Eduardo Martínez, who is now in charge”, says the source, a version supported by two other sources.

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Marvin Aguilar’s assistant was arrested

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Marvin Aguilar is seeking to be officially appointed as president of the Supreme Court of Justice. He is currently under investigation. Divergentes | File

The sources also inform that this Tuesday Nadezda Obando Cerna, personal assistant of magistrate Aguilar, was arrested. She is the niece of retired colonel Lenin Cerna, who in 2011 was expelled from the Sandinista Front by Murillo’s orders. 

“Nadezda Obando operated under her uncle’s shadow and under Aguilar’s protection. She committed all kinds of abuses, both against Court employees and intervening in lawsuits for her own benefit. Obando is the mother of the pro-Ortega judge Natalia Ubeda Obando who, until recently, was known for her viciousness against political prisoners,” the source says.

Another source linked to the SCJ adds: “Aguilar was taken to El Chipote on January 16 and was kept under interrogation for three days, after a ‘complete change’ in the Attorney General’s Office and the General Directorate of Revenue in Chontales, revealed that a farm that the magistrate owns in La Libertad, where he is originally from, went from being 500 acres, to 3,000”.

Apparently, Magistrate Aguilar did not report the increase in the size of the property, nor did he pay the corresponding taxes for this operation, which was used as an argument to arrest him. 

Alba Luz Ramos no longer under police escort

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Current president of the Supreme Court of Justice of Nicaragua, Alba Luz Ramos, who was removed de facto by the Ortega regime. Divergentes | File.

“It is possible that after removing Aguilar as political secretary they will also remove him as magistrate, although he is very loyal to the presidential couple. But it is the safest thing to do, just as they did with Alba Luz Ramos”, says another source, in reference to the president of the SCJ, who “fell into disgrace” last November 24, 2023, when commissioner Rocha also arrived at the court building and kicked Ramos out of her office, without even allowing her to get her belongings.  

Aguilar’s fall as political secretary is a continuation of a purge in the Supreme Court that has reached more than a thousand officials of all levels. It began with the dismissal of the administrative secretary of the SCJ, Berman Martinez, and of the director of Information Technology, Martin Garcia. 

Martinez was part of Judge Ramos’ circle of trust. Sources agree that the “investigation” entrusted to commissioner Rocha was motivated by alleged acts of corruption by Martínez. 

“Alba Luz was very protective of Berman. They were good friends, because he went to the horse races, to all the parties with her. They became personal friends and that was Alba Luz’s mistake. Then, what happened? Rosario (Murillo) and Alba Luz have never had a good relationship. Rather, it has been a bad relationship since the eighties and it turns out that the vice president took advantage of this corruption case to finally get rid of Alba Luz, who has always been protected by Daniel Ortega”, commented another of the sources. 

Rosario Murillo eliminates all of Ramos’ influence in the Court

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Nicaragua’s de facto co-president, Rosario Murillo. Divergentes| EFE | File

For some years now, several journalistic investigations have shown that Judge Ramos filled Court positions with her relatives and friends. All of them were removed by Vice President Murillo. But the “purge” is bigger: more than a thousand were fired not only at the SCJ building, but in all judicial offices nationwide. 

This means almost 10% of the total personnel of the judicial body. Among those dismissed are senior magistrates, such as Yadira Centeno. It also includes magistrates of Appeals, area directors, judges and secretaries in central and local levels, as well as administrative and service personnel.

Although Ramos had been removed from her post since November, she had not been publicly removed as president of the Judicial Branch. However, she was confined to her home under police custody. The Sandinista sources consulted agreed that “co-president” Murillo wanted to arrest Ramos, but Daniel Ortega intervened on her behalf. 

According to the sources, Ramos will formally present her resignation to the National Assembly soon and, a few weeks ago, her police escort was withdrawn and she is now circulating normally in the streets of Managua. However, she is still forbidden from leaving Nicaragua.

Appointments of magistrates stopped

“The recent movements in the Court have paralyzed the appointment of the new magistrates in the National Assembly, scheduled for February 20. But now they say that it is scheduled for February 27, but we already know that nothing is certain here”, says another source. 

With the removal of Magistrate Aguilar as Political Secretary, the Court is now empty and paralyzed, since the purge is keeping employees from working.

“Only the criminal courts are half working. The civil courts are only moving cases of interest to the presidential couple, and the appeals courts are no longer taking turns to receive personal exhibition appeals”, says the source close to the SCJ. 

“Upon receiving their payment this February 5, the judicial workers confirmed the decrease in average of between 20 and 30 percent of their salary since November 2023, by eliminating the payment of all types of per diems for food, transportation, refreshments, lodging, etc. The delivery of State fuel bonuses, which benefited between 15 and 20 percent of the employees and officials, was completely suspended; this has forced many to park their cars at home and travel to work by bus”, they added.

The information we publish in DIVERGENTES comes from contrasted sources. Due to the situation in the region, many times, we are forced to protect them under pseudonymity or anonymity. Unfortunately, some governments in the region, including the Nicaraguan regime, do not provide information or censor independent media. For this reason, despite requesting it, we cannot rely on official, authorized versions. We resort to data analysis, anonymous internal sources, or limited information from the official media. These are the conditions under which we exercise a profession that, in many cases, costs us our safety and our lives. We will continue to report.