MANAGUA – The self-appointed demonstrators of Nicaragua called on marchers in several cities on Friday to demand the release of the “political prisoners” held by the government, for protests the next day, while the presidency announced a “counter march.”
The largest march is expected to be in Managua, the scene of the numerous demonstrations against President Daniel Ortega over the last four months.
The protesters believe that at least 135 people are “political prisoners,” after being “kidnapped” by the “combined forces” of the government, composed of police, riot police, paramilitaries and groups related to the government, who capture them without judicial order or proven charges.
For the government, Vice President Rosario Murillo, announced “tomorrow the walk in Managua and throughout the country, during the weekend we will demonstrate demanding justice and not impunity, because we all know who are the terrorists, the coup plotters, the murderers, the criminals.”
The first lady also referred with these qualifiers to the people who oppose Ortega remaining in power after as many as 448 people died in protests since April 18 against his administration, although the president only recognizes 197.
In this regard, the auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Managua, Silvio Baez, said he dreams “of a Nicaragua without ‘pharaohs’ and ‘oppressed,’ where the dignity and rights of every person are respected, where we renounce particular interests to share our goods and interests in peace and justice, and where dissent from power is not a crime.”
For its part, the Organization of American States formed a group of 12 countries that make up the “Working Group,” created by the Permanent Council of the agency, to seek a solution to the crisis in Nicaragua.
The “Working Group” was composed of Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, the United States, Guyana, Mexico, Panama and Peru.
Meanwhile, Ortega also proposed a cut of 9.2 percent to the General Budget of Nicaragua for 2018, as well as the creation of Financial Stability Bonds, to strengthen the economy.
Nicaragua is going through its bloodiest socio political crisis since the 1980s, when Ortega was also president.
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (Acnudh) have blamed the government of Nicaragua for “murders, extrajudicial executions, ill-treatment, possible acts of torture and arbitrary detentions,” which Ortega has denied.
The protests against Ortega and his wife, Vice President Rosario Murillo, were initiated by failed social security reforms and became a demand for the resignation of the president, after 11 years in power, who faces accusations of abuse and corruption.