The Ortega and Murillo dictatorship has not only frozen the Central American University (UCA) accounts, but the Public Registry has also frozen all the institution’s assets, at the request of the Office of the Attorney General of the Republic (PGR). A source close to the institution confirmed to DIVERGENTES that the regime’s authorities did not notify them about this ” freezing”, just as it happened with the bank accounts this Wednesday.
“They became aware of the freezing of all their assets when they went to transfer the properties. UCA was not notified at all and it seems that it was an order given a couple of months ago,” said the source. He added that the attack against the university is all out since it has not been granted accreditation by the National Council of Universities (CNU), the National Council of Evaluation and Accreditation (CNEA), and the Ministry of the Interior (Migob).
UCA sent another email to its community and said it “continues to operate as a house of higher studies, with more than 60 years of trajectory. Like so many adverse situations we have faced throughout our history, we are currently taking the necessary steps to overcome obstacles and setbacks that affect our regular operation,” reads the message.
In the absence of these accreditations, the regime has cleared the way to dismantle the university and, according to the source, execute its confiscation. For example, with the bank accounts, the government put pressure through the Superintendence of Banks and Other Financial Institutions (Siboif) to close them “for financial administrative reasons”. A measure similar to the one used by the government against thousands of NGOs: to deny them the annual permit through MIGOB to keep them in illegality. At the same time, they ask them for frequent records information, but they do not give them any receipts. UCA has not been granted a permit since 2019. This causes, in theory, a legal loophole that creates doubts for national banks to approve transactions or financing.
Confiscation in process?
The source fears the confiscation of the university, as they take into account the immediate precedent of cancellations and takeovers of 26 private universities, starting in 2021 through MIGOB and the CNEA. The latter institution argues, in most cases, that the universities fail to comply with “established quality standards”. The excuses for the closures of the universities range from accusations of money laundering to Universidad Hispanoamericana (Uhispam), “falsifying information”, not reporting their financial statements and not registering as foreign agents. In recent months, the reasons have been that the academic offerings are inconsistent or that they do not have adequate infrastructure.
With these measures, the eventual confiscation of UCA is on the table, since the regime had decided to asphyxiate the Jesuit institution by various means, such as taking away the constitutional 6%. However, they had not decided to confiscate the campus because of its historical significance.
Experts in higher education believe that the cancellations are part of a total control plan by the Sandinista regime over all levels of Nicaraguan education. Professors, former rectors, students, and political scientists consulted agree that the ruling couple intends to eliminate university diversity and free thought.
The newspaper Confidencial revealed that there are currently 13 universities awaiting accreditation, among them, the Central American University (UCA), the American College University (UAC); the American University (LAU); the Central University of Nicaragua (UCN); and the University of Administration, Commerce and Customs (UNACAD), among others.
UCA was the center for students who protested against the burning of the Indio Maíz Reserve and later against the reform of the Nicaraguan Institute of Social Security (INSS). Several of the students who confronted the dictatorship, such as Lesther Alemán, attended this campus. Alemán was convicted for the alleged crime of “conspiracy to undermine national integrity”, and remained in prison for more than a year and a half until he was finally exiled six months ago.