President Daniel Ortega will meet Nicaragua’s Catholic bishops today, Thursday, to discuss resuming church-mediated talks on ending a political crisis and protest violence that has left more than 120 people dead, the bishops’ conference said.
At the end of 51 days of protests, which have left more than 130 deaths, President Daniel Ortega at the request of the Bishops will receive the members of the Episcopal Conference of Nicaragua (CEN) at 3:00 pm Thursday.
“The Bishops of the Episcopal Conference of Nicaragua, as mediators and witnesses to the national dialogue, inform the Nicaraguan people that, after listening to various sectors of national and international society, we asked the President of the Republic of Nicaragua Daniel Ortega Saavedra for a hearing to to deal with the indispensable and essential issues for our country, of justice and democracy, on which peace always depends, in order to value the convenience of carrying on the dialogue,” said the communiqué of the Catholic prelates.
“The meeting of the bishops with Ortega will be at the so-called Casa de los Pueblos (former Presidential House), and “after this meeting, we will be informing the national and international community about the dialogue,” explained the CEN.
The press conference of the Bishops, after the meeting with the president, will be at 7:00 p.m. in the Seminario de Fátima, the same place where sessions of the national dialogue have been held.
On May 23, the CEN suspended the dialogue after an impasse was reached between government representatives and various sectors representing the people of Nicaragua. The CEN said it would not resume talks for as long as the government failed to end the repression.
The protests against the government of Daniel Ortega began on April 18, demanding justice and democratization.
From the beginning, the protesters, led by university students, are calling for the stepping down of Ortega and his wife and vice-president Rosario Murillo and new elections.
On Wednesday that most of the country’s roads were blocked, primarily south of Managua, in a bid to protect Masaya, which has been the scene of looting, fires and violence allegedly carried out by police and pro-government riot forces.
“The idea is to increase the blockades to defend Masaya, which has become a target of the dictatorship,” former guerrilla leader and dissident Monica Baltodano told AFP.
Children, the elderly, pregnant women and ambulances are being allowed to pass.
The barricades also aim to block the route to Granada, the historical tourist city of Granada, which on Tuesday suffered fires and looting amid clashes that left at least one dead.
“What Daniel Ortega is doing is unfair… he is killing his own people,” lamented Zeneyda del Rosario Cuesta, the mother of a 17-year-old boy killed Sunday by a flurry of gunfire that his family since claims came from police. “I don’t want any mother to lose her son (like me), because it hurts, most deeply in my heart,” she said.
On Tuesday, the general assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS) approved a declaration “in support with the people of Nicaragua,” which urged Ortega and Nicaraguans alike to engage in constructive dialogue to address the crisis and prevent further violence.
Source (in Spanish): El Nuevo Diario