What’s going on in Nicaragua?

by Asa Brown

Oftentimes, we are very self-absorbed in our perspectives and personal situations. Perhaps this is why rampant protests and violence have gone mostly unreported and unnoticed in the US. However, Nicaragua, historically one of the most stable countries in Central America, is fiercely protesting against their President, Daniel Ortega.Daniel Ortega

Ortega (Foreign Policy News)

 

Before we get into today’s protests, some brief history is necessary.

In 1927, the US engineered a pact that placed the Sozoma family in charge of the country. Unfortunately, the Sozomas rigged elections and killed people that stood in their way. After years of political turmoil in the country, a revolution was finally imminint in 1972, when an earthquake destroyed any remaining stability. A revolutionary political party, known as the Sandinistas, took control, and Daniel Ortega, a central member of the Sandinistas, won the presidency in 1984. Since then, a Sandinista and an anti-Sandinista have generally run against each other in elections, with generally fair and stable results. However in 2016 , Daniel Ortega was elected to his 3rd consecutive term as president, in which the constitution was changed for Ortega to be elected again.

Many of accused Ortega of acting like a dictator at times, but he has been generally well regarded in his country. This remained true until a month or two ago when protests took place calling out higher taxes, lower benefits, and especially the shortcomings of the country’s social security program.

By most accounts, Ortega has responded to the protests poorly. His violent responses to the protest have resulted in the deaths of 53 people, mostly at the hands of the security services (Stratfor).

Many solutions have been advocated for, including the army demanding talks with demonstrators and the Catholic church offering to mediate the talks.

Unfortunately, as the people continue to demand justice for the dead protesters, and the Ortega regime remains unwilling to budge, peace doesn’t seem likely in the immediate future. Furthermore, these protests and violence could spread to Nicaragua’s neighbors, such as Honduras and Guatemala. Either way, the problems in Nicaragua won’t end soon, and it is important for us living in America to stay updated.

Sources for further reading:

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