National Dialogue continues Saturday
HAVANA TIMES – The Government of Nicaragua and the Civic Alliance agreed on Friday evening to urge the presence in the country of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and a mission of the European Union (EU) , as well as the OAS secretary general, at the conclusion of a national dialogue session, reported dpa news.
A statement outlining the results of the day’s talks was read around 9:00 p.m. by Cardinal Leopoldo Brenes, president of the Episcopal Conference of Nicaragua (CEN), which served as mediator. Other agreements were also approved during the marathon session to unblock the dialogue agenda in search of solutions to the crisis engulfing the country.
The Government and the Civic Alliance (students, business people and civil society) also agreed to officially install the functioning of the Interdisciplinary Group of International Experts (GIEI) that will be appointed by the IACHR. The GIEI will play an important roll in deciphering those responsible for the deaths and wounded since April 18th.
In addition to the Government’s “immediate invitation” to the UN High Commissioner and the EU, the parties also agreed that “the immediate presence of the general secretariat of the Organization of American States (OAS) becomes important,” the statement said. The OAS secretary general, Luis Almagro, has been seen by many in Nicaragua as a key supporter of the Ortega government.
The Civic Alliance and the government also agreed to make “a plan for the removal of the roadblocks” that the protesters have maintained for more than a month, when security conditions exist for the population, which will be monitored by a “verification and security” commission that will be formed Saturday with representatives in the national dialogue.
The parties agreed to call for “the cessation of all types of violence and threats, wherever they come from.”
Democratization issues to be discussed starting Saturday
The talks resume Saturday morning when the issue of the democratization process will be addressed, which includes the demands of the Civic Alliance to advance the elections of 2021 and the withdrawal of Daniel Ortega and his wife Rosario Murillo from the government.
The dialogue, which resumed on Friday after being suspended on May 23rd, lasted more than ten hours, six of which were private conversations of four members of each side plus the mediators. The first four hours in the plenary session was broadcast live.
As the talks occurred, several cities, including the capital, were under the siege of the government’s paramilitary forces operating alongside the police in a reign of terror that has included illegal detentions.
The hooded and heavily armed paramilitaries circulated in pickup trucks without license plates in various neighborhoods of Managua, where in addition to the illegal detentions there were shootings.
Denunciations were made by the Civic Alliance about the intimidating presence of the paramilitaries in or near the cities of Nindiri, Masatape and Masaya as well as Nagarote and Leon. In this last city the opposition announced an indefinite strike due to the presence of armed people in the streets.
The non-governmental Nicaraguan Association for Human Rights (ANPDH) added to the dealth count another 31 persons, raising the death toll to 200 since the protests began, on April 18 with a student demonstration against a social security reform.
Álvaro Leiva, director of the ANPDH said that its members are covering “emergencies after emergencies” in several cities of the country, where people are living “hours of reprisal and pain”.
Leiva said that he was in Nindirí and that it was impossible for him to carry out his work because the city was full of hooded civilians and police officers who together dominated the streets of that neighboring city of Masaya.
During the day of national strike that paralyzed the country on Thursday, the police and paramilitary action against unarmed demonstrators took many victims in Nagarote, Nindiri and Masatepe.
Five deaths occurred in Bilwi, the capital of the North Caribbean, where businesses closed their doors Thursday and barricades were built in many neighborhoods. Citing an opposition source, the newspaper “El Nuevo Diario” reported that a 15-year-old girl was among those killed and that there were also 20 wounded, many seriously.
In Leon, a 15-year-old teenager was murdered. The altar boy from the Metropolitan Cathedral, was shot in the chest by paramilitary forces related to the government, according to the Catholic Church in that city.
In Tipitapa, 20 kilometers east of Managua, a 22-year-old protester bled to death after being hit by a bullet while videotaping a protest by women, who were sounding pots and pans, demanding an end to the repression and the withdrawal of police and paramilitaries.
The serious crisis afflicting Nicaragua began on April 18 with a student demonstration against a social security reform, but it quickly extended after the deadly repression unleashed by the government against demonstrators.