By Gabriela Selser (dpa)
HAVANA TIMES – The third major civic demonstration against the government of Daniel Ortega will be held Wednesday in Managua with the participation of students, farmers from the anti-canal movement, women’s organizations and professionals, and supported by activists from opposition civic groups, confirmed the organizers on Tuesday afternoon.
“Today we are more united, we call on people to participate dressed in blue and white,” the colors of the national flag, said a representative of the newly created University Coalition, formed by four student movements that have staged protests in different cities of the country since last month.
As expected, the protesters will depart from the Metropolitan Cathedral and walk several kilometers in the Metrocentro sector, a busy area of the capital very close to two large universities that suspended classes three weeks ago.
The march will be attended by farmers who are fighting against the construction of an interoceanic canal in the south of the country and the law that turned national sovereignty over to a foreign consortium even if the canal isn’t built. “I ask the people not to be afraid and to march peacefully for justice and democracy,” said Medardo Mairena, leader of the Council for the Defense of Land, the Lake and Sovereignty.
Gabriel Alvarez, director of the Movement for Nicaragua, which will also participate in the mobilization, asked the police not to suppress the protest and assured that “it will be peaceful.”
Rumors circulated on social networks that the ruling Sandinista Front had called on supporters to march at the same time and in the same sector of the capital, but the information was not officially confirmed. Such a provocation could easily lead to further bloodshed.
This will be the third major opposition march since the start of the protests against Ortega on April 17. The other two, convened by the private enterprise organizations and the Catholic Church, brought together several thousand people. The Government also held a rally of its own on April 30.
The spokespersons of the University Coalition read a statement at a press conference reiterating their “conditions to sit down and talk” with the Government with the mediation of the Episcopal Conference, on a date not yet defined.
“We continue to wait for the Government to create an environment conducive to peace,” they said, revealing that they have already elected their representatives in the talks, whose names for now will be kept “secret for security reasons.”
The students’ agenda for the dialogue has three main points: to do justice for the dozens of deaths in the protests, to promote a profound process of democratization of the country and to establish a Rule of Law, said the young people, who have also demanded the resignation of Ortega.
The university students rejected a recently created Truth Commission, as it was made up of people allied to the Government, and reiterated that the crimes should be investigated by a delegation of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), for which they urged Ortega to authorize their entry to the country.
“We hope that there is still some sense in Daniel Ortega, (the vice president) Rosario Murillo and their close supporters,” said Victor Cuadras, of the April 19th University Movement. If they do not accede to the demands,” the people are going to intensify the peaceful protests, “he added.
Cuadras denied that any political organization that opposes the government, national or foreign, directs or finances them. “The only one who leads and supports us is the Nicaraguan people,” he said.
The crisis began with a student protest against a reform of the Social Security Law, which increased the contributions of workers and companies and put a tax on pensions, but extended as a result of the deadly action of the Police and government shock forces against the demonstrators.
The conflict, which left 59 dead according to independent human rights organizations and 10 according to the government, has affected tourism, exports and trade, which has already reported losses for some 75.5 million dollars, as revealed by the larger private entrepreneurs.
The uncertain situation of the country also forced organizers to suspend the VI meeting of narrators scheduled for May 21 to 25, with the attendance of more than 100 international guests, informed the writer Sergio Ramirez, founder and president of the event.
Meanwhile, the regional director of the Carter Center of the United States, Jenny Lincoln, visited Nicaragua and met with representatives of the Government, politicians, religious leaders and NGOs to offer support in carrying out a dialogue.
Violeta Granera, leader of the opposition Frente Amplio por la Democracia (Broad Front for Democracy) and who attended one of the meetings, told dpa on Tuesday that Lincoln wanted to learn “about the situation in the country, about the national dialogue and how the international community could cooperate” to resolve the conflict.
“We told them that the dialogue has two themes: Justice as a pre-condition to talk, and the democratization of the country, which means the departure of President (Daniel) Ortega,” said Granera.