The Police burst in shooting AK-47 rifles, along with the Sandinista Youth, against the barricades.
Intimidation and attacks on these eastern neighborhoods of the capital came the day after the anniversary of their revolt against Somoza, residents warn.
By Patricia Pernas (EFE / Confidencial)
HAVANA TIMES — “Here we have Daniel Ortega’s response.” You can hear it. It resounds on every corner. “Bang. Bang. Bang.” They are dry and continuous shots, from AK-47s. Rifles. East of Managua, The Maria la Auxiliadora neighborhood on the east side of Managua has been attacked without mercy. With fury. “They want to kill us.”
“They’re going to shoot. Get inside.” Three seconds later, you can hear 10 shots one after the other. Everyone is inside a house with green walls. They’ve been shot at since early Monday morning. On every flank. However, the violence has been turned up since dawn.
Through the holes in the decorative bricks at the entrance, you can see a dozen policemen. Some are armed with AK-47 rifles. Others aren’t wearing a uniform but are hooded. “These are the paramilitaries.”
They are the ones who have entered their neighborhood shooting. It had always been calm, but ever since protests broke out on April 18th, they’re coming in with everything they have. Without any regard. Without looking.
On social media, dozens of Nicaraguans have pointed out the historic coincidence between the attacks and intimidation of this part of Managua on the day after these neighborhoods revolted against the Somoza dictatorship, 40 years ago, supporting the revolution led by the Sandinista Front (which is now in power and been labeled a new tyranny, headed by Ortega and his wife and vice-president, Rosario Murillo).
“It’s happened lots of times now. That’s why we’ve put up barricades.” But, they aren’t any good anymore. Now, policemen are using them to hide. To take shelter. That’s where they are attacking from.
They are just 10 meters away. Maybe even less. They shoot every 5 minutes. “It’s a warning. Don’t go outside. They are just waiting for us to go outside to hit us.” The house’s owner warns people. He was a militaryman during the war and knows what he’s talking about. “I’m already old, but you guys are young. Don’t take the risk.”
Almost 20 people are entrenched. They are all young. A child even walks past the house, oblivious to the danger around him. He laughs. He’s shy. But, the situation gives him a confidence boost. So much so, that he soon comes up to the reporter and shows him his weapon. It’s the end of a coat hanger. “I’m going to defend myself with this.” He is only 6 years old, but his eyes have seen so much already.
And that’s because children are no longer children in Managua.
“The barricades are the only things we have”
Meanwhile, people keep an eye out as the young people look after their neighborhoods. Their people. They have already lost so many. There’s been no word of Tony, a young man who went to the bakery on the corner, now missing since Saturday. “I told him to be careful. He was here. And I saw him.”
He was taken. Like so many others. Nobody knows if he’s dead or alive. Like the nearly 140 who have lost their lives and been accounted for. “We aren’t armed and they keep attacking us. Barricades are the only things we have. Without them, they come in the neighborhood and steal, shoot and Kill.”
You can hear more shots being fired. “Let my sister through. Please.” A woman’s anguished voice can be heard, asking the green house’s owner to give her sister shelter. This house has now been turned into a bunker. It isn’t safe, not completely anyway, but it’s the safest in the area.
“We aren’t afraid”
More shots. Through a crack, you can see the Police and a hooded man holding a large firearm. At least one. “Be quiet. They can hear us.”
Silence reigns. Armed people walk past. Policemen and hooded paramilitaries. “I was going to buy bread. At a bakery nearby because stores are closed. We couldn’t even go outside. They’re just shooting bullets.” You can hear them. These aren’t rubber bullets. “They’re real bullets.”
Managua is a ticking time bomb. Suddenly, it’s calm and peaceful and then the storm comes. Ten minutes before the violence unfolded, people were looking suspiciously out of their windows. “Are they going to attack? They are close. Three blocks to the south. Careful, there are police hiding behind trees.”
Just a few meters away is ground zero. “They’re hiding behind the white car.” You can see how an armed person moves. “You see, you see.” He’s just watching, he’s not shooting just yet. People take advantage and put up new roadblocks. They’ve put one up in 10 minutes.” For all of the ones they’ve taken down.”
Hours beforehand, a group of hooded men, armed with mortar throwers, from the Sandinista Youth (JS) came with a bus and large trucks to take paving stones away. To destroy their parapets. But, people won’t surrender. They are convinced that standing together, they won’t be defeated. Even if they aren’t armed. “They (Ortega and Murillo) are going, yes they are going”
They aren’t afraid.