Nicaragua: Ortega Forces Attack Universities

Attack on the UPOLI leaves one dead and at least 11 injured

By Gabriela Selser (dpa)

Photo: Carlos Herrera /confidencial

HAVANA TIMES – One more student killed and at least 11 persons wounded is the preliminary result of an armed attack Thursday night on entrenched students at a university in Managua, said Víctor Cuadras, a spokesperson for the April 19th Student Movement (M19A).

Cuadras told dpa news that an 18-year-old student died Thursday night at the hospital where he had been taken after receiving a bullet impact during the attack on the Polytechnic University of Nicaragua (UPOLI).

The deceased, identified as Kevin Joel Valle, was one of the 12 people injured in the assault, which according to the students was executed by police and activists of the Sandinista Youth, an organization linked to the government of President Daniel Ortega.

Valle “died in a trench (in the vicinity of the Upoli) after gunmen shot him from a truck,” Cuadras said, adding that the university student was a member of the M19A.

After the attack on the Upoli and shortly before midnight, it was learned that riot police and Sandinista activists were allegedly heading to attack the National Autonomous University of Nicaragua (UNAN), in the south of Managua, according to channel 15 TV (See below).

The same television station said that a second attack by unknown people against the Upoli occurred early Friday, but the information was not confirmed by the university students.

Cuadras said that about 80 students are entrenched in the Upoli since the protests against the government began in mid-April, and that around 70 more occupy the headquarters of the UNAN for three days, as a way to apply pressure against Ortega.

“The Government of Nicaragua has started a hunt against the students and the people who are supporting us,” said the university leader.

The attack against the Upoli occurred hours after Vice President Rosario Murillo announced that the Government is “ready” to attend a dialogue with civil society under the mediation of the Catholic Church, to supposedly resolve the crisis that the country is experiencing.

Cuadras reiterated that before any dialogue can take place the M19A demands the presence in Nicaragua of a mission of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) to investigate the deaths that occurred during the April protests and warned that they will call a national work stoppage if the government does not authorize their entry into the country this Friday.

“We are going to call for a national strike if the government does not allow the IACHR to enter within ten hours,” said the young leader, speaking in front of the UNAN headquarters, where hundreds of residents had gathered to protect the students after hearing of the attacks on the social networks.

The supporters arrived at the UNAN in their cars and formed a fence of vehicles on the avenue to prevent the access of the Police or the Ortega paramilitaries.

“These attacks show that this government does not want to talk,” Cuadras said, at the same time he asked the private employer organizations to speak out against the government. “Stand up, tell the business people that our colleagues are being killed in the universities,” he exclaimed.

For his part, in a message posted on his Twitter account, the president of the Higher Council of Private Enterprise (Cosep), Jose Adan Aguerri, called for an end to the attacks on students who have challenged the government of President Daniel Ortega.

“Please, enough of the violence, no more bloodshed, we are all Nicaraguans, stop the attacks on the Upoli,” wrote Aguerri. Cosep brings together the 27 business chambers of the country.

The American-Nicaraguan Chamber (AMCHAM), which groups US companies operating in Nicaragua, also appeared on the same social network.

“The National Police and the State of Nicaragua must guarantee the physical safety of all Nicaraguans, especially the students and all the people who demonstrate,” the AMCHAM tweet said.

The Upoli and the UNAN are two of the main public universities in Nicaragua, which until a few months ago were tightly controlled by the Sandinista Youth and other organizations linked to the ruling Sandinista Front.

Simultaneously with these events, the destruction of another “tree of life” was reported. The 134 iron costly energy wasting structures of 17 meters high symbolize Ortega’s Government, installed at the whim of the First Lady and Vice President Rosario Murillo.

One of the First Lady and Vice President’s “Trees of Life”

In the citizen protests, at least a dozen of the “trees”, installed starting in 2015, have been burned and demolished.
Meanwhile, residents of the northern sector of the capital reported an alleged assault of strangers against the headquarters of the District 6 Mayor’s Offices of Managua.

The M19A denied any responsibility in that event. “We think that the government sent vandals to attack District 6 to distract attention, we have nothing to do with it and we condemn that action,” the spokesman said.

Nicaragua is experiencing moments of tension due to a series of protests that began in April and left dozens dead, injured and detained at the hands of the police and paramilitaries. The civic demonstrations have continued and are now focused on demanding the departure of Ortega from power.

Breaking News:

The UNAN University also Under Attack

HAVANA TIMES – The main campus of the National Autonomous University of Nicaragua (UNAN), in the southern zone of Managua, was attacked today by heavily armed people in plain clothes to evict students protesting against the government of Daniel Ortega, reported a student leader.

Víctor Cuadras, spokesperson for the Student Movement April 19 (M19A), told Channel 15 that the attack was initiated at 2:00 a.m. local time (08:00 GMT) by men in civilian clothes who shot with guns at the students entrenched in their facilities.

“We are being shot at with firearms, we need the Red Cross and a fire department unit to avoid a fire,” Cuadras said. He added that the attackers, believed to be plainclothes police and paramilitaries, did not enter the university campus, but instead fired from a neighborhood in front of their facilities.

Some students inside the building said that the armed action had left several young people injured, but the information has not been confirmed by the M19A.

The attack on the UNAN, the country’s main public university, came after a similar action against the campus of the Polytechnic University (UPOLI), which, according to the spokesman of the M19A, left a student of 18 years deceased and at least other 11 people injured

Channel 15 TV, which broadcast live for more than five continuous hours, reported the death of another student and a total of 18 injured in the Upoli, but this was not yet confirmed by the M19A.

No official information has been issued about these events, neither from the National Police or by the all-powerful vice president, first lady and government spokesperson, Rosario Murillo.

The students have been barricaded in the Upoli for more than three weeks, when a student protest against a reform of the Social Security law (which increased the quotas of workers and companies and put a tax on pensions) became a civic rebellion after the deadly repression of the police and Ortega paramilitary forces.

Another group of university students occupied the facilities of the UNAN three days ago to pressure the government to “stop the repression” against the students and residents who support them.