People came out en masse to march this Saturday in Managua, four months to the day when socio-political crisis and the repression against civil protests began and since when there has been an increase in persecution against people who have participated in demonstrations that demand the departure of Daniel Ortega from power.
The people also marched for justice for the more than 400 killed by police and paramilitary forces, for the political prisoners, the persecuted and also to belie that the country is returning to normal, as the Government wants to all to believe.
The initial route of the march called “nada está normal” (nothing is normal), was along the road to Masaya, from the Jean Paul Genie to the Cristo Rey rotondas. However, the autoconvocados (self claimed) had to change their route because four hours before the start of the march against the government, the ruling party announced a counter-march, at almost the same time, and in the same route of the autoconvocados, which raised the tension of a possible confrontation.
Beginning of repression
The march passed through the area of Camino de Oriente, where four months ago a group of young people gathered to protest against the reforms to Social Security, the government decision, other things, increasing pension contributions and reducing benefits. The reform was the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back, unleashing a wave of anti-government sentiment, protests and violence despite the pension reformed revoked days after announced.
The youth, mostly university students, were beaten and robbed by sympathizers of Ortega’s government, in view of the police, which did nothing to defend them. That night, Orteguistas also destroyed the facade of the Universidad Centroamericana (UCA), where some students were taking shelter from the aggression. The next day, on April 19, more young people and students joined the protest, but also the government repression, deploying riot police forces. That day, was the first day of the deaths in the clashes, in a fight in which the police used firearms to attack students with stones and makeshift mortars to defend themselves.
Since that April 19, 448 people have died from the repression, most of them young. Among the deaths are at least 15 police officers, according to the Nicaraguan Association for Human Rights (ANPDH).
Justa Orozco, 80, who left her house to wave a Blue and White flag while passing the march, feels that he owes a lot to the young people who died to defend her pension rights.
“For me, these four months have been painful, because I feel the pain of all those mothers who have lost their children. I am a mother and it hurts a lot and I cried for those dead people that I did not know in life, but they fought for my right,” said Orozco.
After all the blood spilled in the confrontations, the Ortega government unleashed a wave of persecutions and illegal detentions those participating or suspected of leading or having participated in the protests.
Even so, the first lady and vice president, Rosario Murillo, every day declares before the official media that the country is returning to normalcy and accuses those who oppose her husband as criminals, terrorists and drug traffickers.
The political analyst Carlos Tünnermann Bernheim said via telephone that these four months have been a retaking of the streets, despite the deadly cost that has involved expressing against the government.
“The Nicaraguan people recovered the streets, people are now constantly present in the streets, have lost their fear despite the repression, we will not believe that repression has ceased. Here there is no such normality, as the government preaches,” said Tünnermann.
The political analyst believes that “it is very difficult to return to normal after so many deaths”.
Economics professor Eduardo Solórzano, who also participated in the march this Saturday, said that these four months have united the people for a just cause.
Solórzano said his participation in the marches is his tribute to the young people who gave their lives to defend the elderly.
Ortega disqualifies the IACHR (CIDH)
The government of Daniel Ortega, through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, issued a report in which it reiterates that the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) – Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos (CIDH) in Spanish – acts in a biased and politicized manner.
“The CIDH manipulated the information, converting an attempted coup into a supposedly peaceful protest, deliberately omitting that the murdered persons are mostly policemen, State officials, Sandinista militants and civilians not involved in the conflict, whose causes of death were from gunshot wounds”, says the so-called “evaluation on the partial action of the CIDH”.
Ortega has also called the general secretary of the CIDH, Paulo Abrao, a liar. The latest report of the CIDH raises the dead to 317 dead since April 19. The government recognizes only 198.
Estelí, León and Granada also marched
There were marches in the west, north and east of the country. The people of León, Estelí and Granada also were out to protest this Saturday against the government of Daniel Ortega.
In Estelí, in the north of the country, they demanded the release of 14 people who were arrested on charges of organized crime, for their participation in the blue and white marches against the executive.
In Estelí, an official countermarch was also convened and trucks full of police tried to intimidate the autoconvocados, but there were no major incidents.