Special Event

Hope Amid Horror: Courage, Determination, and Personal Transformation in a Fight for Democracy and Liberty

Hope Amid Horror

Juan Sebastián Chamorro
Nicaraguan economist, businessman, and presidential candidate
Hewlett Visiting Fellow for Public Policy

Victoria Cardenas
Nicaraguan business woman
Human rights advocate

Juan Sebastián Chamorro became involved in Nicaraguan politics when civic protests and governmental violence erupted in April 2018. After announcing his candidacy for the presidency of Nicaragua, he was arbitrarily detained by Daniel Ortega’s regime in June 2021. He spent almost two years in prison before being released and banished from his country in February 2023. His wife, Victoria Cardenas, was a business woman who had never played a role in politics or the socio-political crisis in Nicaragua. But after Juan’s arbitrary detention, she decided she could not stay silent.

Juan and Vicky will present their individual perspectives of this period in their lives: Juan's testimony details his arrest, trial, conviction, and sentence to 13 years in prison, describing the horrendous conditions of jail, the farce trial, the death of a jail mate, and the isolation and deprivations political prisoners suffered under Ortega’s regime. Vicky’s testimony reflects her transformation into a public voice in Nicaragua – at first not knowing if her husband was alive – as she began denouncing the human rights violations suffered by her husband and all political prisoners in Nicaragua.

Listen to their powerful story as they together present their journey fighting for freedom, for the human rights of all political prisoners, and for democracy in their beloved country.