Protests in Nicaragua: unconditional maintenance of power, no matter at what price

In the beginning, supporters of President Daniel Ortega were still uncoordinated against protests. But now the government is waging a war against its own people.

Protests in Nicaragua: unconditional maintenance of power, no matter at what price

Sometimes re is no need for long speeches to explain a political strategy. Sometimes it only takes a single sentence: "Even if it hurts you, Daniel stays." This is chorus of a song that is currently being played in government-related radio stations in Nicaragua. The message: Daniel Ortega, president of Central American country, will stick to his power, no matter how many people have to die for it. Even now it is more than 350, including children.

There has been a state of emergency in Nicaragua for three months. It started with protests after a fire in a nature reserve and against a social reform. But this has resulted in an increasing government war against its own people.

Every day re are attacks by police and paramilitary forces all over country. Hundreds of videos document how masked with assault rifles patrol streets or shoot in demonstrations. Emergency workers arrest people in ir homes. Opponents are tortured, or y disappear without knowing what is happening to m. At weekend, a ten-year-old girl is said to have bled out because supporters of government did not let ambulances to injured. All this is reported by human rights organizations such as CENIDH or Amnesty International. In recent days, situation escalated in such a way that United Nations, European Union, Organization of American States and German government also condemned violence.

Government relies only on oppression

When protests began in April, many hoped that conflict would be resolved quickly. While many people have been dissatisfied with president for a long time, re has been hardly any organised protest until n. The demonstrations against Ortega's policy began spontaneously. The subsequent repression also seemed to be unplanned. Sure, it would soon be quiet again, thought many at that time. Especially when Catholic Church succeeded in bringing president and opposition to a table in a national dialogue. At that time, government had an independent human rights commission in country to investigate crimes. There were rumours that President Ortega was planning to move abroad.

But dialogue failed and henceforth rulers only put on oppression, and repression became even harder. About a week ago, government announced that it would remain in office. Even early elections will not exist. She is now relying exclusively on strategy that sounds in her support song: The unconditional receipt of power, no matter at what price. What this means for people of country shows above all two moments of past days.

Storm on University

On weekend government had University of UNAN in capital Managua Storm. For 15 hours, policemen and paramilitaries shot at approximately 200 students who had been entrenched in it. The attackers killed two people with targeted headshots. At least ten were injured. Perhaps storming of university could have been averted: students had discussed to retire peacefully, Nicaraguan representative of Human rights organization CIDH tweeted.

The storm on university is part of a major operation throughout country, ruling y call "Operation Purge". This is how President Ortega wants to gain complete power over country. For several days, police and paramilitary forces have been pursuing critics all over country. They tear down roadblocks that demonstrating had built all over country. People died as well. The police arrested dozens directly at barricades, ors later picked m up from ir homes.

Prison in torture

To date, many opposition activists in military prison El Chipote are in custody. Hardly anyone knows what is being done with m. The government is denying human rights organizations access. The prison is a symbolic place in Nicaragua: Behind walls, former dictator Anastazio Somoza had opposition tortured by end of 1970s.

The or moment, which shows that government's course has intensified, is about ten days ago. It occurred in Diriamba, a town near capital Managua. Demonstrating had fled from violence on street to a church. Bishops and priests took care of injured, when suddenly armed forces invaded church. They beat all present. Bishop Silvio Báez was also injured in this attack by arm and kicked in abdomen. This is how church representatives and journalists who were on ground are portrayed.

This attack breaks with a special taboo. So far, priests in Nicaragua have always been spared violence. In deeply religious country, y were among few people in country who were still respected by government forces in recent weeks. Often y were only ones who could offer persecuted protection. In ir churches, but also on street. Again and again, clergy travelled to towns and villages and opposed police and paramilitary forces. Bishop Silvio Báez was one who organised national dialogue and had become a major mediator in recent months.

So, after three months of violence, situation in Nicaragua is worse than ever. And song that government followers dance to makes little hope that it will be better so soon.

Date Of Update: 18 July 2018, 12:02

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