HAVANA TIMES – Members of a mission of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (CIDH) were prevented on Wednesday from entering the cells of the Police Judicial Assistance Directorate, known as El Chipote, in Managua, reported dpa news.
Álvaro Botero, member of the IACHR, told journalists that they wanted to know the situation of the detainees in El Chipote (about 72 people, according to human rights organizations). He recalled that, in his first visit, last May, the IACHR received more than 1,007 complaints in three days.
The visit of members of the IACHR to El Chipote and other prisons was requested at the verification table of the National Dialogue, but apparently the Ortega / Murillo government does not agree.
As a way to downplay the issue, the vice president and first lady Rosario Murillo described as “criminals” the protesters who protest against the government and advocated “divine protection, justice, reconciliation and the reunion of families to work for peace and the common good. ”
Bishops of Nicaragua: “It is urgent to stop the repression”
The Nicaraguan Bishops’ Conference (CEN) urged the government Wednesday to dissarm the paramilitary groups and “stop the repression” against civic protests, during a meeting with a mission of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).
The meeting was attended by Bishops Silvio Baez, from Managua, Abelardo Matta, from Esteli (north) and Jorge Solorzano, from Granada (south), and by the UN team headed by Marlene Alejos.
“We proposed that it is urgent to stop the repression, no more people killed by riot police or paramilitaries,” said Baez, noting that the conflict has already left 285 victims in just over two months, according to independent humanitarian organizations.
The bishops also explained that the serious political crisis “did not emerge overnight,” but rather as a result of the population’s “many years of submission” to the government, he said.
“This is the result of years of submission for fear, violation of human rights, destruction of democratic institutions and electoral fraud,” said Baez.
He announced that next week the plenary of the national dialogue between the Government and the opposition Civic Alliance could be resumed, and defended that space as “a necessary instance” to avoid a major crisis.
“(Although) the population continues in peaceful resistance, the indignation of the people is growing; I believe that if the dialogue falls, the situation would be worse,” warned Baez.
Journalists denounce sieges and threats
A group of journalists, photographers, bloggers and independent media owners denounced “harassment and threats” by individuals and groups linked to the government and demanded that the State “adopt a zero tolerance policy on attacks against journalists.”
In a press release, they also condemned the “attacks and assaults” against reporters from channels 12 and 15 who, after being detained by armed paramilitaries, were threatened with death and robbed of their press equipment and personal belongings.
“We reject the slander and defamation campaigns promoted against journalists and blame the Government for its consequences,” said a statement signed by a dozen communicators, recalling that the current Constitution enshrines “full respect for the right to freedom of thought and Right to information”.
The attacks, threats and robberies against national and foreign journalists have been frequent during the coverage of the crisis in Nicaragua since April 18.
Global Campaign for Nicaragua
At least 50 cities in the Americas and Europe confirmed their participation in a “world vigil” in support of the protests in Nicaragua, which will be held on Saturday. The vigil is organized through social networks by the Latin American Youth for Democracy Network.
Edipcia Dubon, member of the Network, told dpa that the objective is to “bring together all the Nicaraguans scattered around the world” in order to start forming committees to support the civic struggle against the government of President Daniel Ortega.
Some Latin American capitals with groups that confirmed their participation in the vigil are Buenos Aires, Santiago, Lima, Quito, Guatemala City, Tegucigalpa, Panama and San Salvador. The cities of Cali, Pereira and Cartagena (Colombia) will also be added, as well as Mexico City, Guadalajara and Puebla.
In the United States, Washington, Miami, Charlotte and Houston are mentioned, while in Europe they have confirmed Madrid, Barcelona and Bilbao (Spain), Munich and Frankfurt (Germany), Rome (Italy), Geneva (Switzerland), London (Great Britain). and Copenhagen (Denmark), among others.
The crisis in Nicaragua has caused huge economic losses of up to 1.9 billion dollars, according to economists, with the tourism industry being the most affected sector with 230 million dollars.
“The situation is serious and forced us to live in a shutdown, tourism has dropped to almost zero,” Lucy Valenti, president of the National Chamber of Tourism (Canatur), told the program “Esta Noche” on channel 12 of television.
Valenti said that 35 percent of tourist businesses (hotels, bars and restaurants) have closed operations and have dismissed nearly 65,000 employees of the sector’s 120,000, due to the climate of insecurity and violence throughout the country.
“Every day that passes is a step towards the collapse of an industry that has been important for the economy and macroeconomics of Nicaragua,” she lamented.