There was a new attempt of finding a negotiated solution for the crisis in Nicaragua when bishops met with Ortega last Thursday and presented them their proposal – very much the same, that previously had been rejected by the president (and one might ask oneself – why they did not present a new proposal if the previous failed…) . Ortega asked for 48 hours of reflection before giving an answer. That time ran out Saturday night.
Meanwhile, violence, repression, resistance and lawlessness continue…Each day there are reports of dead – now amounting to 140 since the middle of April. There are injuries, arrests, disappearances and reports on torture. There are lootings and public institutions and other buildings are being put on fire.
There are no police on the streets. As an answer to the demands of the opposition at the dialogue table, the government pulled away the regular police forces – but they kept the riot police and the paramilitaries on the streets. And there they are still.
Violence creates more violence or, at least, resistance, and barricades are the strongest weapon of the opposition as a means of civil resistance. They are now present all over, reducing access to at least 70% of the country. There are 6 000 trucks along the roadsides in long lines, no supplies are being transported, businesses are collapsing, products are rotting away.
People are stuck, unable to get to their jobs, buy necessities or sell their products. Yesterday, a friend of ours reported that it took him fours hours to get from Managua to Masaya, a trip that normally takes 20-30 minutes.
The barricades were the reason why Ortega left the dialogue, initiated in the beginning of May between the two sides (they are actually many more, but that is another story), and mediated by the Catholic Church.
Barricades are not only a means of civil resistance – but also a means of protection and in Managua we have, so far, mainly had them around the university areas, the young raising them to protect themselves.
The strongest battles have been in Masaya, Jinotega, Granada and other major cities. But yesterday citizens in several zones of Managua raised barricades – for protection from the government forces, they report.
That could lead to the war-like scenes of the other cities…If the giant of Managu, wakes, it will be explosive. Because so far the extreme violence has not been part of every-day-life in Managua, big exceptions being what has been going on in the university areas and the massacre related to the big march of May 30th – see pictures below.
But “normality” has been disappearing in Managua at a very strong pace: Schools and universities are closed, so are many businesses. Public institutions seem to be functioning minimally but are barricaded and, in some cases, guarded by the army. Private businesses, especially in critical areas, are armoured.
Daniel Ortega: these are very long 48 hours.
I will let the pictures taken during the march on Mother’s Day, May 30th, express the feelings of the majority of the Nicaraguans:
“The people are united because of the dead, the wounded and the disappeared”.
This message sums up why the majority of the Nicaraguans are protesting
The “campesinos” – or the anti-canal movement – who started the barricades,
left them for the day, and met up in Managua