Student Protestors in Nicaragua Agree to Dialogue


With the Ortega government and other participants

HAVANA TIMES – The students who have led the recent protests in Nicaragua and who remain entrenched in a university in the capital accepted a dialogue with the government on the condition that President Daniel Ortega offers security guarantees for them and their families, reported dpa news. 

The position of the newly created April 19th Student Movement (M19A) was embodied in a proclamation released at a press conference on Wednesday night at the Polytechnic University (UPOLI) by student leaders whose identity has not been revealed.

“To avoid further bloodshed, we accept the invitation extended by the Episcopal Conference to be participants in the dialogue, within the framework of respect for all students and our Political Constitution”, indicates the text read by a young woman from the group.

However, they will attend the dialogue “as long as we have guarantees for the safety of all the students (…) and that there is no political persecution for any of the protestors,” the proclamation warned.

The student movement said it will hold Ortega and the vice president and first lady, Rosario Murillo, responsible “for any act that violates the guarantees and constitutional rights of us and our families.”

The young people shook the country a week ago and their protest was joined by a diverse cross section of the population in rejection of police violence. Daniel Ortega, 72, is a former Sandinista guerrilla fighter who ruled during the revolution of the 1980s and returned to power in 2007 and was re-elected in 2011 and 2016 in questioned elections.

Last Sunday and under a hail of criticism from governments and international organizations, Ortega agreed to dialogue with the mediation of the Catholic bishops, who will also be witnesses of what is agreed at the talks. The start date, the themes and the participants in the dialogue are still to be defined.

Although they expressed their consent to dialogue, the youths warned that the recent reversal of a reform to Social Security, which triggered the protests, “does not resolve the situation of the country” and therefore will keep standing a series of demands.

“We will continue resisting from the UPOLI (…) until our demands and the restitution of a social state of law are met,” said the students, who have already demanded the removal of eight senior police chiefs and their trial in the courts.

To these demands last night they added the cessation of the use of police force to stop peaceful protests, the appearance alive of young people still missing (60, according to the Permanent Commission of Human Rights, CPDH) and the payment of “compensation to families of each of the dead. ”

The M19A puts the death toll at 40 thus far, mostly students. According to Marcos Carmona, director of the CPDH, another 10 people are “seriously injured” hospitals around the country.