Cardinal Brenes Urges Ortega to Stop the Attacks on the Nicaraguan Population


Cardinal Leopoldo Brenes (c). Photo: Carlos Herrera /confidencial

HAVANA TIMES – Cardinal Leopoldo Brenes, today denounced new attacks by police and paramilitaries against civilian protesters in different areas of the country and urged the authorities to stop them, reported dpa news.

In a message entitled “Urgent Denunciation,” Brenes said that “he condemns and repudiates the attacks in various parts of the country” and formulated “a call to continue seeking peace in a peaceful environment and not one of violence.”

“The Cardinal also calls on the authorities in charge to stop the attacks on the population,” which have left an unquantified number of dead and wounded, added the text published by the Archdiocese of Managua on social networks.

According to the cardinal’s report, riot police and armed paramilitary groups attacked the city of Jinotepe, 50 kilometers south of the capital, starting at 03:00 local time on Tuesday (09:00 GMT), where the wounded were denied hospital care.*

“The archbishop regrets and condemns in the same way the decision of the public hospital NOT to receive the wounded,” the message said.

Another armed attack was reported early this morning in Managua, in the sector of the National Autonomous University of Nicaragua (UNAN), where the students were scattered by bullets from the barricades installed in its surroundings.

A spokesman for the university students said that paramilitary forces fired with assault rifles and that they responded with stones and mortars (homemade bombs) but had to retreat to the interior of the enclosure. No injuries were reported and the police removed the barricades and roadblocks at the site.

Also in El Crucero, 24 kilometers south of Managua, police and plainclothes Ortega forces took over the roadblock and carried out raids and arrested at least eight young people, according to residents in the area, who do not know there whereabouts. 

Previously, on Monday night, hooded paramilitary groups raided Masatepe and fired shots and detonations in different neighborhoods of the city, located in the neighboring province of Masaya and about 45 kilometers from the capital.

For its part, the police reported that one of its agents died and another was injured on Monday afternoon in a neighborhood of Managua, after being attacked by “rightwing criminals” (the term used by the government for the protesters). However, civilian demonstrators who witnessed the attack said that the police were shot by paramilitaries, according to local television.

Nicaragua is experiencing a crisis that began in mid-April with a student protest over a reform of the Social Security law, which multiplied in the country after the violent repression of government forces.

According to the non-governmental Nicaraguan Center for Human Rights (Cenidh), the death toll now stands at 139, mostly males and youth. The Government only recognizes 46, of which three were policemen who died yesterday.

*The government reported yesterday’s events from a totally different viewpoint from Brenes. According to the, publication of Vice President Rosario Murillo:

“Since 3:00 a.m. Tuesday, criminals of the right have attacked Jinotepe families, in confrontations that have left dead and wounded. The criminals directly attacked the Regional Hospital Jinotepe, generating fear and terror in those who were inside the health facility. “