The Crisis in Nicaragua
For more than two months now, the Nicaraguan government of one-time revolutionary Daniel Ortega and his wife Rosario Murillo has been brutalizing its own citizens. When the police shocked the country by firing upon and killing protesters who were rallying against a proposed social-security reform on 18 April, people from all sectors poured into the streets calling for accountability and democratic reforms. The police escalated the violence, then were withdrawn by the government only to reappear in plain clothes in support of paramilitary groups that continued the attacks on unarmed civilians.
On 7 June, our organization, The Development GAP, helped organize and appeared on Democracy Now with Nicaraguan colleagues to inform a U.S. and global audience about the situation in Nicaragua.
Click on the 30-minute mark of the linked video below to watch the interview.
Since then, the chaos and massacre have intensified, with the police and paramilitaries attacking the defenseless population in the streets and in their homes and attempting to beat and intimidate the people into submission while blaming the opposition for the violence. Last week that fiction was put to rest with the release by the Organization of American States of its human-rights mission report that condemned the Ortega government and called on it to cease the violence.
National dialogue and international diplomacy, however, have so far failed to achieve this end. Sanctions that would isolate the government and circumscribe the travel and financial activities of its leaders may be required to force their departure. Meanwhile, the Nicaraguan people remain united in national strikes, the barricading of roads and other non-violent actions as they put their lives on the line to pressure for justice and a new politics. With the arrival of additional official human-rights delegations, the Nicaraguan government has begun to pinpoint its violence at the dismantling of roadblocks and taking protest leaders from their homes. We will continue to monitor the situation through our ongoing contact with friends around the country.
The Crisis in Nicaragua - Democracy Now
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Steve Hellinger, Executive Director of The Development GAP