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Thursday, May 17, 2018

Nicaraguan bishops and businessmen put pressure on Ortega


The Episcopal Conference of Nicaragua and the main business leaders of the country increased on Friday the pressure on the president, Daniel Ortega, to negotiate an exit to the deep political crisis that shakes the Central American country and that has already left almost fifty dead. Most analysts consider it is time for the government to provide answers.

In a harsh pronouncement, the bishops summoned the president to allow "in the shortest time possible" the entry of a mission of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) to investigate the violent events of April, when Ortega unleashed a bloody repression against protesters who opposed a Social Security reform. The Nicaraguan Church also asks the president to "suppress paramilitary bodies and shock forces" and cease immediately the repression.

The bishops put as limit the noon of Monday so that the agent chief executive - plagued by massive protests in the streets - accepts to sit down to a table of dialog. The Government of Nicaragua responded Friday night. The first lady and vice president Rosario Murillo appeared on a public television network to read a letter from President Ortega, which has not appeared in public since April 30, in which he said he "agreed on the points raised" by the bishops and "welcomed" the proposals of the Church, as well as being willing to sit down and talk "as soon as possible". However, it did not guarantee the fulfillment of the requirements of the Church.

According to local media, Nicaragua was a country under strong tension this Friday. Several access roads to Managua, the capital, were blocked by barricades erected by citizens demanding the end of the Ortega regime. There were also road closures in the productive areas of the south and center, an important livestock region. The businessmen valued in more than 100 million dollars the losses generated by the crisis. The country has already completed 23 days of violence. The number of deaths rose to 49 after armed groups of the Sandinista Front attacked the entrenched students at the National Autonomous University of Nicaragua and the Polytechnic University at dawn on Friday.

The attacks left three dead and at least 16 injured. The tension generated by a night of terror caused the businessmen, students and representatives of civil organizations to come together to put pressure on Ortega. In a communiqué made public this Friday, they said they were ready to participate in the so-called national dialogue. "Dialogue is the only alternative, the only option we have at this moment," said Juan Sebastián Chamorro, executive director of the Nicaraguan Foundation for Economic and Social Development (Funides), who has been invited to participate for the private sector in a future negotiation with the Government.

After the violence of last Friday, the bishops, businessmen and students put in a difficult situation the former Sandinista guerrilla, who must demonstrate the political will to negotiate a way out of the crisis that has put it on the ropes.