The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (Corte Interamericana de Derechos Humanos – CIDH in Spanish), part of the Organization of American States (OAS), called for Ortega’s government to cease the “repression.”
“We reiterate our most emphatic condemnation of the deaths, disappearances and arbitrary arrests of protesters, activists and journalists that have been registered in the country since the protests started,” the Commission’s special rights rapporteur for Nicaragua, Antonia Urrejola, said, reading a Commission statement at a Managua news conference.
The body urged Nicaragua’s government to permit freedom of expression, the right to peaceful demonstration and political participation for all.
The developments came on the second day of talks between Ortega and opposition forces that include representatives of the students, employer groups and unions.
One of the student leaders, Lester Aleman, 20, said “the unrest is not only from the students but from all the population.”
He insisted that the only solution was for Ortega and Murillo to step down.
The turmoil is already seen to be having an effect on the economy of Nicaragua, one of Latin America’s poorest countries.
Trade and tourism appear to have taken a hit, and an economist, Nestor Avendano, told Canal 15 television that dollar deposits fell five percent in the first two weeks of the protests.
Ortega, a former Sandinista guerrilla who first ruled between 1979 and 1990 before returning as president 11 years ago, had kept power by maintaining leftist rhetoric while ensuring an accommodation with powerful private industry and keeping up trade with the United States.
But that arrangement looks to be falling apart, with business groups distancing themselves from him over the violence exhibited by his police against protesters, and the military saying they will not repress the population.