‘Riverdale’ casts stands up to Nicaragua as Ortega administration detains showrunner’s father
Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa’s father is a journalist in the country and was detained at the airport as he tried to come to the U.S. for a scheduled surgery.
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The cast of The CW’s show, Riverdale, is coming together to show support for their series creator and his father.
Riverdale’s showrunner, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, recently discovered that his father, Francisco Aguirre-Sacasa, has gone missing. He received a call from his sister in late July, who told him that their father had been “arrested or kidnapped,” according to Deadline.
The 77-year-old Aguirre-Sacasa served as the Nicaraguan ambassador to the U.S. for three years, beginning in 1997. He eventually became the country’s foreign minister.
Roberto told Deadline that his father had a political career and was most recently working as a pundit and a journalist covering the state of Nicaragua and its relationship to other nations.
“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,” Roberto said.
On Tuesday, July 27, Aguirre-Sacasa, who is not a U.S. citizen, was stopped at an airport in Costa Rica with his wife where they were set to board a plane to Washington D.C. for a scheduled surgery.
His passport was taken and he was informed that he was under investigation for “treason” for being an “enemy of the state.” They were then told to go back home, but before they returned, the couple was stopped by National Police and Francisco was detained.
It’s actually been 24 days since my dad was kidnapped. No contact, nothing. More people are being disappeared by the dictator. Managua’s free newspaper, La Prensa, was raided & shut down. The situation in Nicaragua is worsening. #freefrancisco #sosnicaragua #presospoliticos pic.twitter.com/9ESo4xydYo— RobertoAguirreSacasa (@WriterRAS) August 20, 2021
His home was also searched, and documents and computers were confiscated by the police. His son has not received any information about his whereabouts, but believes he may be held at the prison known as El Chipote.
“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,” Roberto said.
It’s been thirty days since my father was abducted and disappeared in Nicaragua. We’ve had ZERO contact with him. He’s 76 and needs medicine. He and the other political prisoners MUST be released and returned to their families. #freefrancisco #sosnicaragua #PresosPorQue pic.twitter.com/Ol7ZnRodTT— RobertoAguirreSacasa (@WriterRAS) August 27, 2021
In an Instagram post on Aug. 27, Roberto wrote that his father and other political prisoners have been missing for more than a 100 days, and no families have heard anything about their loved ones’ whereabouts.
“Worry is turning to despair. Horrible atrocities are happening every day, all over the world. What’s happening in Nicaragua to those who stand for freedom and democracy is one of them. Free the prisoners. Return them to their families,” Roberto wrote.
Actors Cole Sprouse, KJ Apa, Camilia Mendes, Lili Reinhart and other stars of the Riverdale cast, recorded a video that they each posted to their social media pages.
They informed fans about the situation and urged them to use the #FreeFrancisco hashtag and sign the petition demanding the release of political prisoners in Nicaragua.
“Roberto’s father and a dozen other activists were kidnapped and arrested. No one knows where they’re being held, if they’re being given food, water or medicine,” Reinhart said.
Mendes said, “We’re imploring you to use your voices to put pressure on the global community and rectify this miscarriage of justice, not just for Francisco, but for any political leaders who put their lives on the line to make this world a better place.”
I am blown away by the love and support from my RIVERDALE family, the best cast and crew on the planet. This means everything to my entire family. Getting the word out about what’s been happening in Nicaragua to my dad and so many others fighting for freedom! #FreeFrancisco pic.twitter.com/slyvHQcaLg— RobertoAguirreSacasa (@WriterRAS) September 8, 2021
The stars finished their plea with the simple message, “Make your voices heard and help right this terrible injustice.”
On Aug. 6, Texas Congressman Joaquin Castro tweeted in support of the cause.
“The Ortega-Murillo regime has arrested over two dozen political opponents — including the former Nicaraguan ambassador to the United States. Francisco Aguirre-Sacasa and others should be immediately released. The people of Nicaragua deserve free and fair elections,” Castro wrote.