A group of Nicaraguans claiming to be victims of political violence and persecution by the Sandinista government has fled across the northern border into Honduras to seek political asylum, according to Honduran press. The group of 32 Nicaraguans—28 men, three teenagers and a woman—identify as member of the “contra” and claim they are the first in a forthcoming wave of anti-Sandinista refugees fleeing Nicaragua.
The group is currently being lodged at a police station in the city of Danlí, where they are requesting protection. The group’s leaders claim that hundreds more Nicaraguans will be following their lead into Honduras in the coming weeks.
“If Honduras denies us support, we will go to another country because I am not going back,” Enrique Castrillo told the Honduran daily La Tribuna. Castrillo said he is from the municipality of Nueva Guinea, where the opposition documented electoral fraud and subsequent police repression during last year’s municipal elections. Castrillo mentioned that the opposition candidate—Denis Obando—has already fled to the United States to seek political asylum.
Another contingent in the group is reportedly from municipalities in Matagalpa where there were similar claims of election fraud and subsequent bouts of post-election violence last year. The men who talked to the Honduran press told similar tales of persecution, political assassinations and total impunity in Nicaragua’s countryside.
Honduran Police deputy commissioner Edgardo Arriaga told the Honduran press that police were coordinating with Honduran immigration authorities to determine what to do about the alleged Nicaraguan refugees. In the meantime, he said, police are requesting help from the Red Cross to lodge and feed the group.
Nicaraguan authorities have not commented on the situation.