MANAGUA – The Nicaraguan Congress resumed its legislative work after two days of disturbances in Managua for a political conflict that is prompting expressions of concern from the international community.
Supporters of leftist President Daniel Ortega broke windows of the congressional building and remained there throwing stones and homemade bombs until some 90 minutes after lawmakers finished their first session after two months at a complete standstill.
Opposition lawmakers behind the interruption of legislative business denied that they went back to work in response to intimidation by the ruling Sandinistas.
“We have approved laws out of conviction and not out of fear of the mortars being shot by mobs surrounding the building,” Pedro Joaquin Chamorro, son of ex-President Violeta Chamorro, said.
The Legislative Assembly approved on Thursday bills allowing the government to borrow a total of $48 million from foreign lenders.
“Today has been a victory for the people. They forced them (the opposition lawmakers) to take their seats, but we have to stay alert, we have to be on our guard, we can’t trust them even a little bit,” the leader of the Sandinista bloc in Congress, Edwin Castro, said at a rally after Thursday’s session.
While the fight continues in Nicaragua that began in January when Ortega approved a controversial decree to extend the term in office of several public officials including judges without consulting Congress, the crisis is beginning to have repercussions outside the country.
The Ortega government told the secretary-general of the Organization of American States not to meddle in Nicaragua’s internal affairs.
Jose Miguel Insulza expressed Wednesday in a communique his “deep concern” about the violent incidents occurring at the Nicaraguan Congress, at a time when the building was under siege by Ortega supporters.
The Sandinista administration said that the OAS chief based his comments “solely on partial media reports, media” hostile to the Nicaraguan people and their “legitimately constituted government.”
Meanwhile, Jimmy Carter and several other former leaders urged Insulza to call a meeting of the OAS Permanent Council to analyze the crisis that Nicaragua is going through.
“To safeguard the democracy, peace and stability of Nicaragua,” the politicians said in a letter released in Managua and signed by Carter, former Ecuadorian President Osvaldo Hurtado and former Canadian Prime Minister Joe Clark, among others.
Nicaraguan business organizations and a dozen civil organizations critical of the Ortega government also demanded a national dialogue to overcome the institutional crisis. EFE