Nicaragua’s Business Leaders Decry Hardened Police State


Riot police outside the Central American University in Managua. File photo: La Prensa

By Yubelka Mendoza Gonzalez (La Prensa)

HAVANA TIMES – Cosep, Nicaragua’s leading business council, reiterated the “urgency” of implementing the agreements signed two years ago. In the interim, the government of Daniel Ortega has completely failed to comply with these accords.  Their commitment to reestablish citizens’ rights and guarantees, among other promises, has remained empty words on paper.

On March 31, the business owners issued a statement regarding this failure. They note that the regime has not only failed to honor these accords, but in addition: “has installed a police state. The repressive framework doesn’t allow the exercise of the most basic social and political rights.”

The accords the business chamber refers to were signed on March 29, 2019. At that time, delegates from the opposition Civic Alliance met for negotiations with the FSLN. The two sides subsequently presented a signed document consisting of 18 points. Highlights of the agreement include the prohibition of detentions over 48 hours without a hearing. It also guarantees a safe return for those who fled the country following the April 2018 social explosion.

The regime has totally failed to fulfill these agreements. They’ve increased the restrictions imposed on dissident voices, as well as on the civil society organizations. The police siege of active opposition figures has intensified. Over 100 political prisoners are being held in different jails and prisons across the country. All expressions of anti-government protest have been forbidden.

This has all taken place in a year when general elections are scheduled. These loom ever closer, amid a context of repression, with no conditions to assure a free and transparent voting process. In this regard, Cosep affirmed: “it’s essential that the government approve and implement electoral reforms. Such reforms should be approved by a broad consensus of civil society and the political parties. This is a firm condition for aspiring to free, transparent, competitive and observed elections.”

More companies closed and greater unemployment

Company owners recalled that there can be neither stability nor social cohesion while the police siege, repression, and arbitrary detentions continue. Such conditions don’t allow for economic stability. On the contrary, if they don’t change, more companies will continue to close and unemployment will rise.

The most recent company to announce their indefinite closure was Astor Packing Solution Inc. This company provided cardboard packing materials to national industry and commerce.