Nicaragua: Day 2 of Dialogue as Nationwide Protests Continue

Students and civil society to insist on an end to repression and democratic reforms

By Lucia Navas, Emiliano Chamorro Mendieta  (from laprensa.com.ni)

Student protest leaders and members of different civil society organizations that support them. Photo: laprensa.com.ni

HAVANA TIMES – Today, on the second day of the national dialogue, the university movement and civil society will reiterate to the Government that the central agenda is ending the repression of protests and the restoration of democracy in Nicaragua.

No other issue will be accepted at the moment so as to concentrate on the month long political and social crisis, assured the representatives of the sectors that make up the newly formed Civic Unity Alliance for Justice and Democracy.

“We believe the objective of the national dialogue is justice and the analysis of the situation of democracy in Nicaragua,” said the students and the different, civic, academic and labor sectors of society in a letter sent to Cardinal Leopoldo Brenes , president of the Episcopal Conference of Nicaragua (CEN), whereby they define their agenda.

The CEN acts as mediator and witness of the dialogue between the university students, civic groups and representatives of the rural population with the government of Daniel Ortega.

The university movement and civil society stated in the letter that the way to achieve justice and the restoration of democracy is for Ortega to accept “the immediate cessation of repression in all its forms, the investigation of all human rights violations by the IACHR and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, which should be to determine the responsibility of the crimes for prosecution.”

They also demand: “The recovery of democratic institutions so that authentic democracy is a reality in our country, according to the Inter-American Charter (of the member countries of the Organization of American States) whose requirements are the rule of law, the independence of State powers and transparent elections through the reorganization of the Electoral Power.”

However, the president has thus far shown no political will to overcome the social crisis, as the paramilitary groups of the Sandinista Youth and the riot police continue to repress and kill demonstrators.

Proof of Ortega’s intransigent stance is the fact that on the same day of the installation of the dialogue, on Wednesday, his paramilitaries attacked the Cathedral of Jinotega in the night, where students protesting against the regime were given refuge. And on Thursday the attacks continued at the Polytechnic University of Nicaragua (Upoli), where a 16-year-old boy died; and in Masaya, the siege and looting of shops continued on the part of the mobs launched by the Ortega regime.

They will not talk about the Social Security Law

Carlos Tünnermann, a representative of civil society, affirmed that they will not accept that Ortega intends to impose in the dialogue the Social Security issue, “because although it is important, it became a sectoral issue”, which will be addressed after the bigger issue of democracy.

Tünnermann said they will insist that Ortega order the disarmament of his paramilitary forces and mobs, the release of political prisoners, the appearance alive of the disappeared, respect for press freedom, and the right to hold civic protests, and security for all participants in the national dialogue, mainly the students.

Maria Nelly Rivas, president of the American Chamber of Commerce of Nicaragua (Amcham) and part of the dialogue, said that “we call for an independent and credible process to respond to the demands of justice for the deaths and people who were imprisoned” in the repression of demonstrations.

How to advance?

The representatives of the Civic Unity Alliance for Justice and Democracy do not expect that Ortega and his wife and designated vice president, Rosario Murillo, will attend the dialogue again, but that their representatives will be the members of the economic cabinet. Those officials of the Executive accompanied the presidential couple in the installation of the dialogue two days ago.

The advisor to the civil society group, Ernesto Medina, said that “we want to see if the government is willing or not to talk about democracy” and if the answer is negative, then the actions used to apply pressure will be reconsidered.

Juan Sebastian Chamorro, also a participant in the dialogue, said that a starting point could be the agreement between the Government and the Organization of American States (OAS) to promote electoral reforms, to take steps to restore democracy. “We believe that what has been missing is to define the route (to achieve those reforms) and that can only happen if there is political will,” Chamorro said.


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