At the end of last month, the Nicaraguan government asked the parliament to close the Nicaraguan Academy of the Language (Academia de la Lengua de Nicaragua), which was founded 94 years ago, and accused another 82 nonprofit organizations of breaking the law for not declaring themselves as “foreign agents,” according to official announcements from the government, led by Daniel Ortega.
The Nicaraguan Academy of the Language, based in Managua, was created in August 1928 by a group of seven intellectuals with the mission of protecting and promoting the Spanish language. On the academy’s shield appears its motto, a verse by Nicaraguan poet Rubén Darío: En espíritu unidos, en espíritu y ansias y lengua. (“In spirit united, in spirit and yearning and language.”) Among the reasons for closing the NGOs are “failing to comply with the registration as a foreign agent; not reporting their financial reports and not promoting transparency in the use of funds; not knowing the execution of the same and whether they were in accordance with the objectives and purposes for which they were granted legal personality.”
“It is unheard of. It is an institution that enjoys the respect of the whole world. This can only be understood by the regime’s policy of not leaving any space for any organization, be it cultural or for the promotion of human rights,” novelist and Cervantes Prize winner Sergio Ramirez told the ABC newspaper.
“This is the only case in the world of a language academy that has been closed ‘manu militari.’ This has not even happened in Cuba,” added the novelist, who has been living in exile in Spain since October, when an arrest warrant was issued against him.
“The Nicaraguan Academy of the Language has had legal status since 1928!!!! And now they come out with that it has not fulfilled the requirements and that they will suspend the legal status of an academy that is apolitical by nature. Not even Somoza did it,” exiled writer and academy member Gioconda Belli denounced on Twitter.
The Royal Spanish Academy (RAE) expressed “deep concern” about the possible closure, stating that it “will deprive the Central American corporation of legal personality and cause its disappearance after 94 years of fruitful existence at the service of the greatest cultural value of the nation.”
“The RAE, which defends the freedoms of thought, expression, and association as the first values of any system of coexistence, strongly supports and vindicates the legitimate right of the Academia Nicaragüense de la Lengua to serve its fellow citizens,” concludes the statement.