Following Thursday’s 24-hour nationwide strike that literally deserted the capital city of Managua and other cities and towns, fresh clashes rang out between riot police and protesters.
Friday morning Nicaragua’s Center for Human Rights (CENIDH) raised the death toll from the months of unrest to 165.
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) called for the dismantling of armed paramilitary gangs, sometimes called “Sandinista mobs” – pro-government groups – which have been attacking protesters with the approval of government forces.
“The Nicaraguan State must take urgent measures to immediately end arbitrary attacks on the lives and personal integrity of all Nicaraguans, with no distinctions whatsoever, including their political views,” Antonia Urrejola, the commission’s spokesperson for Nicaragua, said in a statement Thursday.
“The State has an obligation to seek a peaceful solution for the country’s situation,” he added, ” and to investigate and punish the people responsible for all acts of violence.”
For those seeking such a peaceful resolution, Friday would have brought a small measure of hope with the resumption of the national dialogue. That hope vanished by the afternoon when the Episcopal Conference of Nicaragua once again suspended the talks when the sides could not come to a consensus on its continuity.
The bishops urge President Daniel Ortega to allow delegations from international human rights bodies into Nicaragua to launch independent probes into the violence — a proposal backed by civil leaders.
But the government delegation sent by Ortega was adamant that before any national dialogue could occur, and before international observers could be allowed in the protesters must remove road barricades or “tranques” that have crippled the nation.