Snapshots of Dark Days in Nicaragua

June 19th:

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The house put on fire by government forces early morning Saturday 16th, in the midst of a fragile re-inaugurated dialogue between the govt and civil society, mediated by the Catholic Church.

A whole family, including two infants, was eliminated because they refused snipers access to the ceiling of the three-store house. Two survivors, who jumped out of the second floor, have gone underground, so have many neighbours, out of fear of reprisals. Others stay in their businesses near the house during the day and find refuge elsewhere for the night.

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One witness shared pictures of the burning house, also from the inside, after the fire.

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Next stop UNAN, the national university, occupied on May 7th. The enormous campus has six entrances, two of which are especially critical and more guarded than the others.

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One of the young who had a shift by the barricades in front of one of the main entrances told me he had hardly slept since the occupation of UNAN. He cannot go home either, to visit his 4-year-old-son and other family-members. The govt has their eyes on the activists, and if they leave the campus, they might never reappear, says the young man, who lost his cousin “who was totally innocent”.

He and the other young are equipped with mortars – homemade devices which fire small explosive charges – stones and slingshots against AKAs and other military gear which the govt forces use against the young almost every night.

The young at UNAN also reported about pesticides being showered on them from planes and about poisoned tapped water. They told about drones flying above them to check the activity at the enormous campus of Nicaragua’s oldest university.

The young work in shifts, the main duties being protection, medical attention, and logistics.

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This young woman studies odontology and assists in the medical attention of people who have been hurt during the attacks.

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The young sleep for a few hours, when they can, otherwise are digital, watch tv or read books between the shifts.

June 20th

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Many of the young, and others who are kidnapped by the govt forces, end up at “El Chipote” the legendary prison used also by dictator Somoza. Since the conflict started, family-members of the disappeared are present, demanding to get them out, to get information about them, and trying to deliver food and water to them.

Nobody knows how many are in this prison of torture, how many got out – and how many did not.

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Carlos Mejía Godoy, the beloved Nicaraguan treasure and the musician of the revolution of the 1980´ies, outside the infamous torture cells a few days after a family member of his group la Palacaguina had been kidnapped by the govt. forces

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He called on Nicaraguans to continue their struggle in the streets, may the international organisations be present or not: Under tears he said: “We live in a country where human life has no worth”.

People are trying to escape from the state terror and a country which has fewer opportunities of also economic survival as the conflict continues and gets more profound.

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The lines outside the offices of the Migration authorities are several hundred meters long. People spend the night outside the offices or show up at dawn in order to get a good place in the line. Some have travelled for days, the regional Migration offices being closed due to the conflict. But the mobilization is difficult due to the roadblocks of which there are still some, although the govt forces have eliminated many of them by force, at the cost of many human lives.

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A student, who has participated in the protests from the very beginning, needs a passport in order to get to Panama: “ I don´t want to leave the country, but I have no choice. My life is in danger here”.

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People are delivering food, medicine, and other supplies at the storage center of the cathedral. From here, they are transported to the seized universities and the barricades.

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A small demonstration outside the catholic University, UCA.

“Very few people showed up, they are too afraid”, laments this female spokesperson for one of the student organisations, MA 19….

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…and then lets her mortar go off.

June 21st

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After the bishops interrupted the Mass at the Cathedral and rushed to Masaya in order to prevent a massacre, the devoted stayed behind, praying for the violence to stop.

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Anarchy and chaos. People invade private properties all over the country, with the permission of the govt, and taking advantage of the crisis and the absence of the police.

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Jaime Wheelock, one of the nine commanders of the Sandinista Revolution: “There are only two options in the crisis: “Either the govt neutralizes the protests with more terror, or elections are accelerated”.

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