Nicaragua: Gov. and Civic Alliance Say Yes to Resuming Dialogue

…but no date is set for that to happen

By Gabriela Selser (dpa)

The Catholic Church mediators made the announcement.

HAVANA TIMES – The government of Nicaragua and an alliance of students, business people and civil society agreed Monday to resume the dialogue suspended last week with a view to resolving the serious crisis in the country, reported the Episcopal Conference, mediator in the process.

In a statement, the bishops said the decision was taken by a mixed commission (three delegates of President Daniel Ortega and three of the Civic Alliance for Justice and Democracy) that met Monday, at the same time violent attacks were taking place in a downtown area of Managua that left at least 16 injured, according to local media.

The parties “expressed their willingness to resume the national dialogue in the plenary to take up the agenda of the issue of democratization,” said the report of the Commission of Mediation and Witnesses of the National Dialogue. However, they did not mention a date to continue with the national dialogue.

The government had refused on Wednesday to discuss the issue of democratization and had described it as “a route for a coup d’état”, as it proposed reforming the Constitution and advancing the presidential elections of 2021, among other governmental changes demanded by the opposition.

In their agreement today, the parties called for “the immediate cessation of all forms of violence and compliance with the recommendations” of a delegation of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) that visited the country this month.

The Civic Alliance committed itself to making efforts towards the flexibilization of the “barricades” (roadblocks) in the interior of the country maintained by farmers and other rural residents who support the protests against the Government.

The parties also condemned the armed attacks against the National University of Engineering (UNI) and the official radio station “New Radio Ya”, which occurred Monday in the busy commercial zone of Metrocentro, where riot police fired on civilians, according to journalists.

Channel 15 reported that at least 16 people were injured, mostly young people who were persecuted by police after the attack on the radio station. Spokesmen for the students denied any responsibility in the attack and burning of the “New Radio Now”.

Previously, alleged paramilitaries had attacked with firearms and homemade bombs the installations of UNI, where a group of university students had barricaded themselves early in the morning to “defend university autonomy,” according to student sources.

Violent events were witnessed by former actress and human rights activist Bianca Jagger and Erika Guevara-Rosas, director for Amnesty International’s (AI) Americas, who arrived in Managua to present a report on the situation tomorrow.

“We have witnessed the brutal attack of the repressive apparatuses of the regime (of Daniel) Ortega- (Rosario) Murillo against the students who are entrenched in the UNI university. I call on the Government to stop the murders,” wrote Jagger, a Nicaraguan who lives in the United States, on Twitter.

For his part, Guevara-Rosas said in the same social network: “We have documented live the armed attack of Sandinista mobs against young students” of the UNI. The complaint was accompanied by a video.

When reporting on the burning of her Party’s Radio station, Vice President Rosario Murillo condemned the “acts of hatred, foolish acts, acts that cannot or do not have anything to do with the Christian heart and solidarity” and assured that the Government continues to work for peace.

Already in the early hours of the morning, the buildings of the Prosecutor’s Office and the Attorney General’s Office in the city of Masaya, southeast of Managua, had been burned down by unknown persons.

No group attributed the attacks and Pablo Cuevas, spokesman for the non-governmental Permanent Human Rights Commission (CPDH), said that both buildings had been previously evacuated by the authorities who removed all their furniture and files.

The riots are part of a serious political crisis that began in April with a protest by students against a Social Security reform – now repealed – that affected many thousands of workers and retirees with an increase in monthly payments.

The conflict multiplied in Managua and other cities after the extremely violent reaction of the Police and the Army. The IACHR records at least 79 deaths, 868 injured and more than 430 detainees from April 18 to May 24, figures that are increasing every day.