For months, Nicaragua has been in a state of political unrest and the recent protests in the country are only escalating in violence.
Marxist President Daniel Ortega’s aggressive approach to handling the protesters has led to over 187 people killed and 1,500 injured.
According to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR,) at least 838 people have been detained by Ortega’s government.
As the situation intensifies, the violent tactics of the government officials and police are being condemned by Human Rights groups
“As the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights presents its findings in Washington, policemen and pro-government armed gangs are killing protesters with total impunity in the streets of Nicaragua,” said José Miguel Vivanco, Americas director at Human Rights Watch. “Democratic leaders in the Americas should urgently call on President Ortega to end the bloodbath in the country and dismantle pro-government gangs.”
The Organization of American States (OAS) has called on Ortega to halt the abuses on his citizens and has condemned the“acts of violence, intimidation, and threats directed against the general public” in Nicaragua.
The OAS met on Friday for a special emergency session to address the Nicaragua crisis.
At the meeting, OAS Secretary-General Luis Almagro said that Nicaragua should hold an early snap presidential and parliamentary election.
“We suggest holding early general elections… at least in nine months – to allow for new electoral registration – or in 14 months at the latest,” said Almagro.
Vivanco has argued that the OAS needs to take a stricter stance on the crisis.
“During its previous discussion on Nicaragua, the OAS members failed to call out the government’s responsibility for the abuses – it was almost as if they were describing a natural catastrophe,” said Vivanco. “But the crisis in Nicaragua merits a much stronger and clearer response from leaders across the Americas.”
However, the OAS’ emergency meeting appeared to have no impact. Over the weekend, seven more people were claimed dead.
In April, the protests started after Ortega decreased pension benefits.
As a Marxist–Leninist, Ortega has implemented controversial socialist policies like wealth redistribution and land reform.
Ironically, Ortega led a movement in the 1870’s against the former President/Dictator Anastasio Somoza Debayle and later was elected president in 1984.
The tables have turned as protests against Ortega’s government have continued to gain momentum as the majority of Nicaragua citizens believe he has lost his revolutionary roots.
Ortega has managed to get control of the Supreme Court, the National Assembly, and the electoral commission.
Often referred to a dictator, Ortega is desperately trying to maintain control with violence.
“Policemen and pro-government groups are working together in Nicaragua to abuse and terrorize the population,” said Vivanco. “Unless the democratic leaders in the Americas strongly condemn the abuses by the Nicaraguan government, victims of these egregious abuses may never have their day in court.”
Author’s note: Like Venezuela, Nicaragua’s social policies paired with a power-hungry ruler has led the country to be on the verge of collapse. Unlike Venezuela, the country isn’t rich with oil reserves, so it’s demise is going to be much quicker.