Felix Maradiaga

“Building a Democratic Ecosystem: A Practical Guide to Transnational Activist Collaboration” (March 2024–August 2024)

Mr. Felix Maradiaga is a Nicaraguan human rights advocate widely recognized as one of his country’s leading voices for democracy. He is president and founder of the Fundación Para la Libertad, an organization focused on developing democratic education and research programs that the Ortega regime declared illegal in 2022. He previously served as director of the Institute of Strategic Studies and Public Policies (IEEPP), a leading Central American think tank. Mr. Maradiaga is a recipient of the 2023 Geneva Summit Courage Award, as well as the 2023 Magnitsky Human Rights Award for Outstanding Political Opposition. In 2018, during widespread protests against the Ortega regime, he survived two assassination attempts and faced numerous criminal charges and smear campaigns. In 2021, after announcing plans for a presidential campaign, he was arrested and sentenced to 13 years in prison. In February 2023, he and 221 other political prisoners were stripped of their citizenship and expelled to the United States. During his fellowship, Mr. Maradiaga plans to develop an activist toolkit and handbook for democracy advocates to combat global authoritarianism, with a particular focus on civic collaboration to counter transnational repression.