Nicaraguan people call for a change of government
Since this past Tuesday, April 17, thousands of people have taken to the streets in Nicaragua to protest an unjust social security reform. Over the course of five days, 30 deaths have been reported, dozens have either disappeared or been wounded, and more than 100 people have been arrested. The government under Daniel Ortega has refused to initiate an inclusive dialogue among all of the sectors of the country, and continues to use the police and army to suppress the protests.
What began as a sign of dissatisfaction with changes in the social security system, changes that increase the share that companies and workers give to the system and in turn remove 5% of their pensions from retirees, is now a popular insurrection against a lack of leadership and structure. Evidently, the issue embodies the struggle of Nicaraguans for democracy.
The Ortega government has been known to silence protests that criticize it, but the levels of repression have reached new heights these past few days. Between the police, army, and the Sandinista Youth, the paramilitary-partisan organ, the government has expressed absolute cruelty and arrogance by refusing to listen to the people of Nicaragua.
In his two televised appearances, Ortega has not even mentioned the deaths of the young students as well as a journalist. Additionally, instead of calling all sectors of the country into dialogue, he invited only the representatives of private companies, his once allies, who are now distancing themselves from him and calling for cessation of the ongoing repression.
The president of Nicaragua, who has been in power for 11 years, has dared to call young students "criminals manipulated by the right." The protesters claim that "they do not represent any party." Rather, they say that "We are the people fighting against oppression.”
The escalation of violence under the Ortega government appears to have no limits, and is a direct attack against the possibility for peaceful protest.
The European Union, the United Nations, and Amnesty International, among other organizations, have called on the government to stop the repression. Meanwhile, Ortega turns a blind eye.
We call on the Nicaraguan government to stop the repression and open a frank dialogue with all sectors of the country, especially with young people who have now been massacred by the forces of the regime.
Ortega must condemn the culprits of the murders and clear the way for clean and transparent elections in the country.