Words by Andrea Granera
This is the information I have gathered from family and news sources. I’m trying my best to stay accurate but my goal is to give what I’ve gathered in a clear way, and share ways in which we can help (I don’t feel there are many right now unfortunately but staying informed is significant).
Nicaragua is on its sixth day of violent civil unrest. Last Wednesday, April 18th, protests broke out over President Daniel Ortega’s new social security reform. University students took to the streets over the decision which was not legally consulted. Ortega sent out police to stop the protests and things became violent. In the past six days, there has been tear gas, gunshots, terror and arrests into Nicaragua’s maximum security prison by the police. In the past six days, there have been at least 40 deaths. President Daniel Ortega is not taking accountability for the deaths and atrocities, but proposing that there be dialogue over the new reform. After so many lives have been lost, social security reform is no longer the point…
“We are in the streets asking for Ortega and his wife to go. This has already gone beyond the social security issue. Here there have been dead, wounded, and he does not even apologize for his killings or the savage repression against the people,” said Mauri Hernandez, one of thousands of demonstrators at a central rotunda.
Ortega is a sandinista. The Sandinistas are a radical “socialist” group that overthrew long-time dictator Anastasio Somoza in the 1970’s, but in turn, brought about a violent civil war and another dictatorship. Both sides of this war were being supplied arms by outside countries (the US + Russia). The people have always suffered as a result. My parents’ generation fled the country to places like Miami and Guatemala.
Here are details I have gathered from my cousins:
- Ortega sent out sandinista radicals to accompany the police confrontation. They have enhanced and inflicted chaos and violence only to be framed and blamed on the students and peaceful protestors.
- There are ten news channels in Nicaragua. Five of them are government controlled while the other five are independent. The government shut down the five that are independent. The government-owned media has been framing the students who were killed to be delinquents and criminals. My cousin asked me to clarify that those murdered have indeed been innocent students.
- The police force has been focusing all of their energy on “stopping protests” – this means armed threats towards protesters at any given time. My cousin’s husband, in the midst of protesting, had to run and hide inside of a restaurant with a group of people while armed police stalked them outside of the establishment.
- With the country completely unregulated, there have been raids and property destruction all over. One in particular is at La Universidad Nacional de Ingeniería (UNI) – here is a video of the destruction these raids have caused at UNI… as you can see, it looks like a horror film.
- The destruction is being caused by government-delegated Sandinista Radicals, NOT students!
- There are still people being held at Nicaragua’s maximum security prison, Chipote.
My people deserve better. My parents deserved better. My grandmother who never knew a peaceful Nicaragua deserved better.
I was video chatting with my cousin who lives in Managua last night. She felt things had calmed down yesterday but minutes later she heard about more deaths. It is very hard being so far away. My heart aches for the strong students who have lost their lives and are still being detained in the country’s maximum security prison. Another cousin of mine has been going place to place bringing food and water – at one point, his supplies were confiscated by the police. Food and water for people were confiscated. There’s really no telling what will happen when a country sits on top of decades of corruption.
[HOW TO HELP NICARAGUA]
- Sign this petition: “WE THE PEOPLE ASK THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT TO CALL ON CONGRESS TO ACT ON AN ISSUE: Human Rights Violations in Nicaragua due to the oppression and rule of Dictatorship Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo.”
- Share the hashtag #SOSNICARAGUA, #sosinss on social media.
- Share any live videos from direct sources, like Twitter, Periscope, and Instagram. Social media is a vital tool when it comes to initiating direct action. Please help get their voices across all of your timelines.
- Share this flyer made by @smugmorenita and @anaiscat. I’m very grateful for these two LA-Based Nicaraguan women who are using Instagram as a platform to inform & organize!