Attack on University in Nicaragua Breaks Truce and Darkens Dialogue

By Gabriela Selser (dpa)

Students showed the press the shells from the attack against the Agrarian University (UNA). Photo: laprensa.com.ni

HAVANA TIMES – An armed attack on a university in the capital of Nicaragua on Saturday night, left at least four students injured and broke the truce promised by the government in the now uncertain national dialogue, coincided student and religious sources.

Lesther Aleman, a leader of the students confronting the government of Daniel Ortega and entrenched in three universities since a month ago, said that unknown persons fired on the National Agrarian University (UNA), in the northern zone of Managua.

The attack occurred at 8:00 pm (02:00 GMT Sunday) against university students who guarded the entrance to the building. Four young people suffered injuries, two of them seriously.

The students claimed that they were attacked by “mobs” (Sandinista paramilitaries) although human rights activists accused the police of the action, who denied having participated.

Marcos Carmona, director of the Permanent Commission of Human Rights (CPDH, non-governmental) and the executive secretary of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (CIDH), the Brazilian Paulo Abrao, visited the scene.

After the attack on the UNA was known, peasants who support the students put back “tranques”(road blocks using stones and tree branches) on several roads in the interior of the country, which had been dismantled in response to the 48-hour truce agreed on Friday.

“We cannot continue to allow these abuses, we call on the government to order a ceasefire,” said Carmona.

For his part, Abrao met with the injured students, two of whom were taken to a private hospital.

“We are here to document and monitor what is happening. The attacks that you suffered here are very serious and rest assured that we are going to register them in the IACHR. You are not alone,” Abrao told the university students.

“You have the right to demonstrate and struggle for a better country. We are here to verify  any type of complaint and information,” he added, according to statements broadcast on channel 15 of television.

Before midnight, Abrao and his Chilean colleague Antonia Urrejola, special rapporteur for Nicaragua of the Commission, also visited the Polytechnic University (Upoli), which is also occupied by students entrenched there since a month ago.

In declarations to official media, the deputy director of the Police, Francisco Diaz, “categorically” denied the presence of uniformed personnel in the vicinity of the UNA university.

However, the rector general of the UNA, Telemaco Talavera, expressed in a statement his “total repudiation” of the attack, blaming it on the police and called on the authorities to respect the ceasefire agreement reached on Friday in the National Dialogue.

The statement by Talavera, broadcast on social networks, caused surprise since the rector of the UNA is an official very close to Ortega. He chairs the National Council of Universities and is the spokesperson for the Interoceanic Canal project, whose construction is in serious doubt.

Burning tires in front of the Agrarian Univerity (UNA) in Managua, attacked by government forces on the evening of Saturday, May 19. Photo: Uriel Molina /laprensa.com.ni

The surprise attack on UNA occurred at the end of a quiet day, in which large peaceful demonstrations were held against the Government in Managua and other cities. Ortega’s followers also held a peaceful rally in the capital.

The incident breaks a 48-hour truce agreed on Friday in the first working session of the National Dialogue, when the government promised to withdraw the police to their barracks and not use its paramilitary forces against the demonstrators.

This “is a serious breach of the agreement in the National Dialogue,” wrote Monsignor Silvio Baez, one of the five mediating bishops in the conversations on his Twitter account.

The truce was agreed after a month of a conflict that began on April 17 with a student protest against a Social Security law reform which increased the quotas of companies and workers, and deepened after the violent action of police and paramilitaries against unarmed protesters.

The Government of Nicaragua only recognizes 18 dead during the crisis, but independent human rights organizations report 66 deaths and more than 540 injured.  The CIDH is currently in the process of receiving and verifying information on the repression.

17 thoughts on “Attack on University in Nicaragua Breaks Truce and Darkens Dialogue

  • Politics also says they are fighting for your rights while they are biggest violators of Human Rights.

    What you say? All the road blocks are manages by criminals or is that something anecdotic and the most of the blockade are run by people who want to make the government listen to them?

    I don´t like this kind of riots, many average people lost property and even life, violence is never an answer, but that is also and even more valid for governments.

  • It is not your country, so far it is Ortega/Murillo´s country. That is exactly why there are young people dying.

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