By Leonor Alvarez (La Prensa)
HAVANA TIMES – The main objective of the political opposition in Nicaragua is to remove the Ortega regime from power. To that end, different groups that are part of the opposition have undertaken a number of actions, the first being sparking a debate around electoral reforms.
The electoral system is currently entirely under the control of the ruling Sandinistas (FSLN), thus making it virtually impossible to have full and fair participation in any elections. To date, several organizations from the opposition have put forth proposals to reform the electoral system.
These include the Civic Alliance, Blue and White National Unity movement and the Electoral Reform Group. The next step is to put forth a single proposal supported by the entire opposition. At the same time, Daniel Ortega is preparing his own, unilateral, proposal.
Keeping the protests going
Another, ongoing, strategy are the protests demanding justice and freedom. Massive demonstrations by citizens last year were brutally crushed, to the point of armed attacks on the population by the Ortega dictatorship. Even in the face of this violence, organized groups of citizens continue taking to the streets, risking repression and violence from the Ortega dictatorship.
University students; feminists; citizens who have been released after serving time for protesting; and relatives of the disappeared and murdered (united as the Association of the Mothers of April) are among the groups calling for demonstrations – today, mostly held in private places such as Catholic churches, universities, restaurants, banks or businesses where they can protect themselves. There are also groups that take more risks by protesting on the streets – including the Youth for Democratic Change, lead by opposition leader Zayda Hernández.
Organization and Political Unity
The political organizations that emerged in April 2018, including the Civic Alliance and the Blue and White National Unity, are driving a process of unity with other opposition groups and political parties, working on forming a large coalition to be ready for eventual elections. To that end, on November 4th, the Civic Alliance issued a statement indicating that it will meet with a number of different groups involved in the national political process.
The statement notes that the “Civic Alliance will hold meetings with various social movements, political movements, political parties, economic and trade sectors to put forth our position on the foundation of this coalition. These meetings are intended as a way to exchange ideas about the formation of the opposition coalition. At the same time, issues about the electoral reforms necessary to carry out transparent, trustworthy and safe elections will be addressed.”
Also on November 4th, the Citizens for Freedom political party, headed by Kitty Monterrey, announced a Council of Advisors to support the search for unity among the opposition. The advisory group is made up of Humberto Belli, Bosco Matamoros and Arturo Cruz. The challenge facing all sectors of the opposition is how to separate their political, individual interests from the need to form a cohesive bloc that can take on Ortega.
The organized opposition continues to speak out to the international community about the human rights violations that the country has been suffering since April 18, 2018 when the regime’s repression against the protests began. According to a report by the Interamerican Commission on Human Rights (IAHCR), more than 328 people were killed in the repression.
One of the most recent formal accusations was made to a special commission of the Organization of American States (OAS), created with the mandate to seek a negotiated solution to the crisis in the country. [This commission is expected to report back to the OAS Permanent Council some time this week.]