Riverdale Creator Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa’s Father Taken by Nicaragua Police
The CW’s Riverdale Creator Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa took to social media to ask for help in figuring out what happened to his father, journalist Francisco Aguirre-Sacasa. His father has been missing for 10 days in Nicaragua and is believed to be in the custody of the government there.
“My father has had a political career and most recently has been working as a pundit and a journalist covering the state of Nicaragua and its relationships to other countries,” said Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa to Deadline in reaching about what has happened to his father. “He’s been a vocal critic of the current regime under President Daniel Ortega who is governing with his wife as his vice president. Nicaragua has been in a bad, bad, way.”
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He continued, “About 10 days ago, I was flying back to Los Angeles from the East Coast, where I was scouting locations for Pretty Little Liars when I got an emergency call from my sister Georgiana. She told me our father had been arrested or kidnapped, as he and our mom were driving to Costa Rica to board a flight to Washington, D.C., where my father was to have surgery.”
“Around 15-20 minutes after his passport was taken, a statement was released saying our father was under investigation for treason and for being an enemy of the state,” said Georgiana. “He was supposed to return to his house where they’d follow up with him and see how to move forward in a case against him. But they didn’t.”
They were then stopped a second time by National Police, who detained Francisco. He has not been heard from since. Roberto and Georgiana have said that their father’s documents and computers were taken by police.
“We believe he is being kept as a political prisoner with an estimated 30 other people who have been detained similarly in past months in the lead-up to Nicaragua’s election in November,” said Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa. “The current administration has been arresting anyone who attempted to run against Ortega or who have been speaking out against him and those who are fighting for a free democratic election. They’ve been disappeared. We believe he’s being kept at the infamous prison called El Chipote, where my mom has visited every day bringing food, water, and medicine for our father. She’s been denied each time and the food and medication refused.”
“By speaking up, we’re trying to do what our father was doing. We want to bring attention to what’s happening in Nicaragua. We hope that he will not suffer because we’re speaking out,” Roberto said. “If they’re going to put him under arrest, we ask that he be allowed to do home arrest where he can take his medications. We just want to be in contact with him. We ask that they free him and the other prisoners. Our father is also a grandfather, a brother, and a son. We want him to get home safely.”
So, what is going on in Nicaragua and who is Daniel Ortega?
Ortega is a former leader of the Sandinista National Liberation Front, a leftist group that wanted to reform Nicaragua. Ortega pursued programs of nationalization, land reform, wealth redistribution, and literacy during his first period in office. But it was a presidency marred by conflict and economic downfall. He was defeated in the 1990 general election by Violeta Chamorro but remained a prominent figure in politics. In 2006, he was elected again and transformed into a complete despot.
Tim Rogers wrote for The Atlantic: “He then completed his palace coup by assuming full control of all four branches of government, state institutions, the military, and police. He banned opposition parties, rewrote the constitution, and turned Nicaragua into his personal fiefdom, which he rules from inside the walls of his stolen compound, a concrete fortress he rarely leaves.”
Both Amnesty International and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights of the Organization of American States reported that Ortega had responded to protests against him with violence since 2018.
The New York Times shared that “Most of the latest political detainees have been held under Nicaragua’s so-called “Guillotine Law,” which since late last year has allowed the government to accuse any citizen of working for foreign powers and fomenting unrest without having to produce evidence.”
The latest arrests have included former allies and officials of Mr. Ortega; three of the detainees had participated in the peace dialogue with the president following the police’s brutal suppression of protests in 2018, which left more than 300 people dead.
“We’re witnessing something without precedent in modern Latin American history — a return to Cold War-style dictatorships,” said Mateo Jarquin, a Nicaragua expert at Chapman University in California.
It is a haunting situation, and we hope that Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa will get answers soon and that their father will be returned to them safely.
(via Deadline, image: Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
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