Citizenship stripping as a political weapon in Latin America

Recent news from Colombia and Nicaragua points to citizenship stripping increasingly being used as a political weapon.

In Colombia, 40,000 people have been arbitrarily deprived of their nationality over the past two years. In late 2021, the Colombia’s National Civil Registry Office began to annul civil registrations and cancel the national ID cards of individuals. Many of the victims had been originally displaced by the conflict in Colombia to Venezuela, where they were then forcibly returned. A recent study on “the arbitrary deprivation of nationality in Colombia” shows the effects of citizenship revocation, such as the economic consequences and loss of social welfare.

Nicaragua has recently stripped 94 political opponents (activists, journalists, and writers) of their citizenship. These individuals were considered guilty of “spreading false news” and “conspiracy to undermine national integrity.” Most left the country over the last two years when President Ortega began arresting political opponents. Spain has offered citizenship to 222 Nicaraguan exiles.