Since April Nicaragua has been a country in turmoil. In just over four months, more than 300 have been killed, thousands injured. Hundreds have been detained as a wave of crackdowns has swept the country.
According to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) “children or teenagers” were among the casualties, while, the government denies this and sets the official death toll at 198.
A scathing United Nations report by human rights experts last week accused the government of Daniel Ortega of human rights violations in dealing with protestors, saying: “the majority of victims have been young men, under 30 years old, coinciding with the average profile of the protesters, including university students and young professionals.”
President Ortega said the UN report was “nothing more than an instrument of the policy of death, of the policy of terror, of the policy of lying, of the policy of infamy.”
The government expelled the UN group.
A follow up anti-government demonstration on Sunday saw three people — a doctor and two police officers — injured in clashes between protesters and pro-government forces, reported the IACHR, part of the Organization of American States (OAS).
Vice president Rosario Murillo and wife of the former revolutionary whose Sandinista rebels overthrew Nicaraguan strongman Anastasio Somoza in the 1970s, has compared protesters to “vampires,” “coup-mongers” and “devils.” In a speech on Wednesday, Murillo said protesters were “demons who for three months lashed out at Nicaragua, kidnapping peace, wanting to break the unity, but they could not and will not,” adding, “the people are more unified than ever!”
But, she also said the situation in the country has “normalized.”
According to state-run website Digital 19, Murillo said, “there is no room for hate and the only way Nicaragua will succeed is through reconciliation.”
IACHR says, however, things are far from normal. The government is “simultaneously stigmatizing demonstrators, dissidents, social leaders and human rights defenders.”
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein on Wednesday said that “the past four months have exposed the fragility of the country’s institutions and the rule of law, and created a climate of fear and mistrust.”