HAVANA TIMES – A student group in Nicaragua, which forms part of the Civic Alliance for Justice and Democracy, called upon the country’s private sector today to immediately call for a general strike, as well as accusing them of being “accomplices” of Daniel Ortega’s Government,” dpa news agency reported.
In a statement published on social media, the University Coordinator for Democracy and Justice (CUDJ) denounced the capture of seven student leaders last weekend in the City of Leon, who they believe will be tried for serious crimes, including terrorism.
“The private sector has been complicit with the dictatorship for years. The private sector’s political ineffectiveness in the Civic Alliance is costing us lives and freedom. General Strike now,” the report stated.
According to the university students, they asked four business groups nearly two months ago to “declare a tax resistance, which they would announce individually, demanding Ortega’s resignation and paving the way for an indefinite general strike,” but they didn’t “even get a response.”
“Today, seven of our CUDJ comrades have been charged with terrorism and homicide. Our comrades at the UNAN (National Autonomous University of Nicaragua) and the April 19th Movement in Leon are being arbitrarily accused of committing crimes of “terrorism, homicide, arson, kidnapping, armed robbery and death threats,” the CUDJ informed.
The students’ appeal was addressed to four private groups represented in the Civic Alliance: the Superior Council of Private Enterprise (COSEP), the Nicaraguan-American Chamber of Commerce (AMCHAM), the Nicaraguan Foundation for Economic and Social Development (FUNIDES) and the Federation of Livestock Associations (FAGANIC).
Ever since protests broke out last April, the Civic Alliance has held two 24-hour national strikes which were considered successful. The private sector has proven themselves to be reluctant to call an indefinite strike, claiming that this would lead to further unemployment, in addition to the nearly 250,000 workers that had been laid off since April.
Opposition groups have urged the Civic Alliance to put more pressure on business people and have even asked that they be excluded from this coalition because they are afraid that they might make a deal with the Government “behind the people’s backs”.
In recent years and up until April 18th, the Government had maintained a so-called “strategic alliance” with the private sector and unions, which, according to Ortega, was key for economic stability and progress.
The Civic Alliance coalition was created when students, business people and civil society came together to take part in the national dialogue process with Ortega, which began in May and was suspended in July, which tried to resolve the crisis that had left over 300 people dead and 2,000 people injured over just four months, according to human rights NGOs.
The Government has only recorded 198 deaths over the same time period. Ortega has said that he will hunt down and arrest those responsible for these crimes, who he identifies as “terrorist and coup mongers” and “Rightist groups receiving funding from abroad.”
In the latest raids of opposition members, former military men and former Sandinista guerilla fighters have been arrested, several of whom were Ortega’s comrades in the struggle against dictator Anastasio Somoza in the 1970s or worked side by side with him during the Revolution (1979-1990).
Other well-known dissidents of the Sandinista Party have received death threats and have been forced to flee the country or to hide in “safe houses”, according to media reports.