News Topic

Advocacy, Historians at Risk


Latin America/Caribbean

Update: The AHA is pleased to report that Professor Ricardo Baltodano Marcenaro has been released under the auspices of Amnesty Law voted on Saturday, June 8 by the Nicaraguan National Assembly.

On January 24, the Association sent a letter to Daniel Ortega Saavedra, president of the Republic of Nicaragua, articulatingconcern about the imprisonment of Professor Ricardo Baltodano Marcenaro of the Universidad Politécnica de Nicaragua and the charges leveled against him. The AHA cited the UN High Commission for Human Rights’ inquiry into the case and urged Baltodano’s immediate release.

January 24, 2019

Daniel Ortega Saavedra, President of the Republic of Nicaragua
Rosario Murillo Zambrana, Vice President of the Republic of Nicaragua

Presidencia de la república de Nicaragua
Reparto El Carmen
Managua, Nicaragua

Dear Mr. President,

The American Historical Association expresses its grave concern for the well-being of Prof. Ricardo Baltodano Marcenaro, faculty member of the Universidad Politécnica de Nicaragua, who is currently detained by Nicaraguan authorities. I respectfully urge you to call on the appropriate authorities to release Prof. Baltodano immediately.

We take note of the communications of the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights concerning the detention of Prof. Baltodano on September 15, 2018, regarding this case, and of his incarceration in a maximum security facility, with very limited access given to his family.

The government’s charges against Prof. Baltodano appear to be based on the claim that the movement that emerged in April 2018 is prima facie a “terrorist” enterprise. The nonviolent exercise of the rights to freedom of expression and freedom of association, however, is expressly protected under international human rights instruments including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as well as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

The American Historical Association is the largest organization of professional historians in the world, with approximately 12,500 members spanning the globe. On behalf of this international network of scholars, I respectfully urge you to direct the appropriate authorities to release our colleague Prof. Baltodano and furthermore to ensure that any case against him proceeds in a manner consistent with Nicaragua’s obligations under international law, including those relating to due process and fair trial.

We appreciate your attention to this important matter and look forward to your reply.


John R. McNeill
President, American Historical Association

CC: Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores
Ministro. Sr. Denis Moncada
Bo Candelaria Ave Bolívar,
Fte Cine Gonzalez Nuevo Edif. Cancillería
Managua, Nicaragua