Nicaragua: Attack on Citizens Who Demand Free Elections

Five men violently assaulted two members of the Nicaraguan Democratic Movement (MdN) about to present a survey that repudiates the Supreme Electoral Council.

By Alvaro Navarro  (Confidencial)

Gaby Garcia shows her wounds from the attack on her and her partner Carlos Bonilla. Photo: A. Navarro/Confidencial
Gaby Garcia shows her wounds from the attack on her and her partner Carlos Bonilla.  Photo: A. Navarro/Confidencial

HAVANA TIMES — Gaby Garcia and Carlos Bonilla, two opposition activists who for several months have maintained a crusade to demand free elections in the country, were stabbed and beaten by five men armed with knives and pipes outside their home in the June 10 neighborhood of Managua on Friday.

Interviewed the night before on the Esta Noche (Tonight) TV program, Bonilla said they would deliver to the Supreme Electoral Council the results of more than nine thousand surveys made in the country in which the participants repudiate the Nicaraguan electoral system.

Bonilla received two knife wounds in the chest and is in serious condition at the Manolo Morales Hospital, while Garcia was treated for head injuries that required ten stitches.

The criminal attack occurred in the morning when the two activists of the Nicaraguan Democratic Movement (MdN) came out of their house heading for the Supreme Electoral Council to drop off a letter informing the electoral magistrates of the survey conducted by their organization.

The night before they had announced on the Esta Noche program, a citizens demand for free and fair elections; for all Nicaraguans to be able to obtain their identity cards regardless of their party affiliation, and that national and international electoral observation be authorized.

Speaking from the Manolo Morales hospital, Gaby Garcia narrated how she and Bonilla were attacked by five men when trying to board a taxi. “They appeared suddenly, attacking us with a dagger, stabbing Carlos twice while they knocked me down in the street with a pipe blow.”

Garcia directly blamed the government of Daniel Ortega and the Sandinista Front (FSLN) party, “because the attack was no common theft, it was an intimidating message for us not to speak out,” she said, noting that Bonilla is waiting for emergency surgery.

Garcia also warned that this aggression will not stop their protest to demand transparency and fair elections. “Instead, we will continue on the streets. This is not going to stop us,” said the young woman while showing her bloodied hands.

Meanwhile, the US ambassador in Nicaragua, Laura Dogu, used her Twitter account to condemn the attack on the opponents. “We strongly condemn the attack on the activists. The police must investigate,” said the diplomat, who expressed support for the families of the victims.

The opposition Independent Liberal Party (PLI) also expressed its condemnation of the assault. “The Independent Liberal Party (PLI) repudiates and condemns the brutal attack suffered by political activists Carlos Bonilla and his wife Gaby Garcia, of the Nicaraguan Democratic Movement (MDN), as they left their home on Friday morning. We condemn all violence and attacks and call upon the National Police to investigate the facts and process the perpetrators accordingly. We cannot allow this act of violence against two people demanding free elections and identity cards for all, go unpunished,” said the political organization in a statement.