Human Rights Activists in Nicaragua Await OAS Condemnation of Ortega

By Gabriela Selser (dpa)

An artists call to end the violence.

HAVANA TIMES — On Wednesday, the president of the Nicaraguan Center for Human Rights (CENIDH, independent organization), Vilma Nunez, urged American countries to express their “emphatic disapproval” of Daniel Ortega’s government at the OAS Permanent Council’s meeting which is set to take place in Washington on Friday.

Nunez said that Nicaragua is waiting for the Organization of American States (OAS) special meeting, where the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (CIDH) will present its final report about their visit to the country.

“I’m making a call to every democratic State in Latin America to stand in unity with the United States and Canada. The Nicaraguan government violates human rights and needs to go,” the activist said in an interview with Channel 15 TV. (a privately-owned channel).

“We don’t want speeches full of diplomatic language, we don’t want them to say “we are sorry to learn (about the violence)”; we want them to emphatically disapprove of this Government,” she added.

The Permanent Council’s special meeting is set to take place in Washington tomorrow. The IACHR, which visited Nicaragua from May 17th-21st, received a large number of reports about deaths and arrests as a result of protests which began on April 18th.

Nunez said that the CENIDH have recorded 191 fatalities up until now, ever since the political crisis began. The latest fatality took place Wednesday in Esteli as a result of bullet wounds, she added.

Another human rights organizations has recorded at least 215 deaths in just over two months, while the Truth Commission created by Parliament (and made up of mostly pro-government members) has reported 173 deaths.

CENIDH’s president appreciated the fact that the Government had finally invited the IACHR back to Nicaragua, as well as the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and a mission from the European Union (EU) which will investigate reports on crimes against humanity.

Masaya, June 19, 2018. Barricades and coffins, familiar sights over the last two months in violence torn Nicaragua. Photo: Manuel Esquivel / laprensa.com.ni

“Nicaragua is under the world’s watchful eye and these international events have great importance and moral weight. This strengthens the Nicaraguan people’s spirit of resistance and legitimizes their struggle,” she added.

On Wednesday, spokespeople and officials from the IACHR, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the EU confirmed that they were ready to travel to Managua, after having received their much-awaited official invitations from Managua.

The National Dialogue process, which seeks to find a way out of the serious crisis which Nicaragua has been experiencing since April 18th, was interrupted on Monday after Government representatives refused to show the opposition copies of the invitations made out to these three international organizations.

Meanwhile, today, Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos asked the OAS to intervene and stop the violence in Nicaragua.

“I want to call upon the OAS Secretary-General and its Permanent Council to please intervene, to please discuss matters, to please use the tools they have available to stop this hurricane from growing and leaving victims behind,” Santos said from the Caribbean city of Cartagena.

“Everyone is obligated to respect human rights, to respect freedoms, and this is something which should also unite us, like the fight against climate change should,” the leader added.

The US ambassador to the OAS, Carlos Trujillo met on Wednesday morning with Ortega and Murillo.

Meanwhile, the US representative at the OAS, Carlos Trujillo, ended a two-day visit to Managua today where he met with Ortega and his wife, vice president Rosario Murillo, also the government coordinator and chief spokesperson.

No details have been disclosed about this meeting as of yet as Trujillo left the country without giving a press conference. He is expected to make a statement in Washington, a US embassy spokesperson confided to dpa.

Nicaragua has been experiencing great bouts of violence over the past 48 hours. In Masaya, to the east of the capital, six people died on Tuesday and another 70 were injured after police and paramilitary forces broke down some protester barricades and roadblocks.

In spite of violent police action, many of Masaya’s neighborhoods continue under the opposition’s control, who have set up even more barricades to stop armed groups from passing through.

In the city’s south, funerals for the dead were held quickly on Tuesday out of fear of new armed attacks. “The coffins quickly came to the cemetery and workers dug out the graves without resting,” a witness said.

Managua, Nicaragua, June 20, 2018. Singer/songwriter Carlos Mejia Godoy, took his music to the gate of the feared El Chipote jail to support the mothers and relatives of some 70 mostly young people being held incommunicado, including the son-in-law of a member of his musical group.  Photo: Oscar Navarrete /laprensa.com.ni

In Managua, famous singer-songwriter Carlos Mejia Godoy arrived outside El Chipote (as the cells belonging to the Police’s Judicial Assistance Department (DAJ) are known), where he gave an impromptu concert for the mothers of the young people arrested.

The musician, who supported the Sandinista Revolution in the 1980s, asked Ortega to stop the violence and said that artists should continue holding their “protests” of music and solidarity.

Dozens of people, mainly mothers, remain outside El Chipotle in its surrounding areas, waiting for news about their loved ones or their release. It is estimated that at least 70 people are being held in these cells.


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