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:

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 /

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

  • May 23, 2018 at 8:30 am

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

  • May 23, 2018 at 8:00 am

    I am an U S citizen who moved to Nicaragua to be near my famiy we believe it would be wonderful to live in such a peaceful country but now I am worried first of all I had to leave my husband for suppose to be a month because he has alzhimers and unable to travel I have been trying to get back but because of the situation I am unable I can fly in but with all the barricades and burning of tires no one can come and get me in Managua to get back to my husband in Esteli I really wish for the people of Nicaragua and myself this would get resolve the diaologue is today and I am hoping they will lift the barricades I need to get back

  • May 22, 2018 at 11:34 pm

    Peaceful road blocks? Starving poor people to death is peaceful. In medieval times that road block that you’re doing to poor people was called lying siege. And it was used to starve the enemy to death. So if you’re trying to defend the country as you say, all you’re really making are enemies of those you’re trying to “defend”. Taking away my civil liberties doesn’t make better and does not make them my saviors.

  • May 22, 2018 at 7:48 am

    As a volunteer in Diriamba, (about 45 kilometers south of Managua), I completely agree with J. I’d been Volunteer Coordinator of 1.2..Tree! since December 14, 2017, but we (six others) were forced to flee last Thursday, May 17, after Ortega failed to remain in 1st round of talks. The 4-year-old NGO taught 3rd – 6th grades in seven local elementary and High Schools. Additionally, my brother, Gary, who’s been its Director since inception, also had amazing outreach programs teaching approximately 250 in nightly Adult Classes, Vega Baja, Rap Sessions, Pacentia and other specialized programs. It’s truly a shame that pro-Ortega supporters and others like “Frankie” are confusing matters, making it even harder for all to fully understand or gain accurate pictures of the entire situation. Yes, Frankie, it’s true even as far away as Diriamba and Rivas, students and much older citizens were burning tires and setting up road blocks. It’s called Civil Disobedience, a form of non-violent protest. While it’s disruptive nature is detrimental to all, the effects; to bring attention to issues, STOP income to complacent big business cronies and to bring international attention to decades of abuses. Like J. and her/his family, 1.2..Tree! has indefinitely suspended all public school operations. Those volunteers are now in Costa Rica, Panama, Guatemala, Colombia and Mexico looking for other volunteering opportunities…or peaceful places to share, learn and grow. My heart goes out to all those fighting for justice in peaceful ways.

  • May 21, 2018 at 10:05 pm

    Frankie, it was your government that asked the ICAHR to come and investigate what has happened during all the violence during the last month. So is Ortega promoting his own regime change? Also, the spokesperson for the interoceanic canal project, rector of the university that was attacked, and also until today a key member of the government’s representatives at the national dialogue [he appears to have suddenly fallen ill], admitted that the attack came from the police. LIkewise, whether they were the Police or the government’s paramilitary forces, doesn’t make a whole lot of difference.

  • May 21, 2018 at 8:39 pm

    Un-uniformed police? Funny, so people defending themselves against violent people are police. You know that here in Nicaragua people have the right to defend themselves as in another country. Stop trying to stirr violence in my country. We don’t need road blocks. We need more jobs and peace.

    We can clearly see in the picture from this blog who is burning tires and causing destruction to our country. You peaceful protesters look very friendly burning tires around you.

  • May 21, 2018 at 8:34 pm

    This commission that you are talking about is the one that promes regime changes when they don’t like the one running a country. They have tried it in Venezuela, Cuba, and now my country.

  • May 21, 2018 at 8:30 pm

    Thanks you for speaking the truth that is happening in our country. We can’t even go to have fun with out having the so called peaceful protesters putting road blocks in the streets and asking you for money so you can pass. That’s a violation of my human rights. How can you say you’re fighting for my rights when you tremple over my liberty to move freely in my country.

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