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Will Revoking Pension Reform Be Enough?

EDITORIAL: On Sunday, President Daniel Ortega revoked the controversial law to reform the Instituto Nacional de Seguridad Social (INSS) – national social security fund – but the demonstrations continue and businessmen call the government to dialogue.

The revocation came Sunday afternoon, five days after the clashes began, escalating to massive rioting and looting Sunday morning mainly in Managua and Masaya, leaving up to 28 people dead and dozens injured.

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Today, Monday, the day after the president’s announcement, the protests continue. And so does the violence prompted by a decision by the INSS board of directors early last week to increase worker and company contributions and reduce benefits. The decree was published on Monday, April 16, 2018.

Since the outbreak of the violence, the government has called the workers, employers, and pensioners to the dialogue table. Sunday’s revocation was to pacify the protesters. President Ortega asking the Catholic Church to mediate.

Elnuevodiario.com.ni reports that the Consejo Superior de la Empresa Privada (Cosep) – Superior Council of Private Enterprise – demands three conditions before it will agree to dialogue, “… the immediate cessation of the repression by the National Police and of the government-related forces, the release of the citizens detained for exercising their right to express themselves freely and peacefully and the guarantee of freedom of the press.”

Anti-riot police and pro-government gangs are being blamed for the violent confrontation with university students, the government last Thursday ordered off the air four independent news media outlets. In Bluefields, a reporter was shot dead during a Facebook Live report. The shooter is still at large.

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In response to the request of the private sector, Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega said that “… a dialogue cannot be conditioned, a dialogue must be open. (…) the first issue that should be addressed is how to restore the security, stability, and peace of Nicaraguan families and subsequently discuss insurance, tax reforms and other issues.”

On Monday, the U.S. Embassy in Managua suspended routine operations and the State Department ordered family of embassy staff leave the country and updated the travel alert, warning Americans to “reconsider traveling to Nicaragua due to crime and civil unrest.”

The question being asked by many, can the Sandinista government of Daniel Ortega, who rose to power after overthrowing the Somoza rule of Nicaragua converting the country to a democracy, now accused of being a dictatorship, survive the current situation?

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