MANAGUA – Nicaragua has been suffering under a wave of riots since April 18. The protests erupted in response to the government’s social security reforms. In a power demonstration to overthrow President Ortega protesters shout “Together we are a volcano (juntos somos un volcán).”
A wave of protests has taken Nicaragua for several months, as protesters demand the immediate resignation of President Daniel Ortega. Citizens began protesting the social and political crisis of the country, and recently started a new round with the slogan: “Together we are a volcano (juntos somos un volcán).” Fed up with the crisis and furious over the death toll, protests have grown more intense.
According to news outlet Agencia EFE, the opposition blames Ortega for the murder of at least 351 people during 86 days of protests. Aside from failed social security reforms, protests now also focus on rampant corruption in a government that has been in power for 11 years. Thousands have shown their anger over the violations of human rights by government-sponsored paramilitaries and pro-government groups that also attacked members of a Catholic Church committee.
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights reported several violations, including murder and harassment, against the opposition. To quell the protests, the government has only stepped up escalation through lethal force. In addition, medical staff interviewed by the organization, stated that during the protest period they have assisted many victims suffering headshots, suggesting the deployment of snipers.
President Ortega blamed the opposition. He ensured he has nothing to do with the high number of casualties. Ortega said that it is an undercover coup, alleging the opposition began the violence. Foreign minister Jacinto Suárez dismissed the events as result of a US conspiracy. The minister compared Nicaragua’s situation to Venezuela’s. According to him, the opposition is following the same pattern in which the US is sponsoring an anti-government campaign.
Chile’s President Sebastián Piñera condemned the violence and the high death toll. He said that the country has to restart dialogue to find a solution and stop violence. “I condemn with all my strength and indignation the death of 350 people during the protests in Nicaragua,” Piñera said on twitter.
— Prensa Presidencia de Chile (@presidencia_cl) July 15, 2018