More than 265 days have passed since the protests against the Nicaraguan head of government Daniel Ortega and his wife Rosario Murillo started. Citizens in several departments of the country continue to denounce kidnappings, persecutions in the hands of the Ortegan police. In this difficult social context, a group of pastors in the city of Somoto were joined by political authorities and other groups in a day of prayer for peace in Nicaragua, on Sunday 5th January. Members of several churches praised God with songs and prayed for the wellbeing of the country’s population. They also asked for wisdom for the national authorities that lead the country, parliamentarians, mayors and city councillors. Nicaragua starts the year with much uncertainty. A damaged economy and the growing repression against the press and human rights activists traces back to the efforts of President Ortega to retain power. The prayer event was held near the central park of Somoto, under the motto “Together we will open doors of blessing for this 2019”.
FORMER PRESIDENTS CRITICISE POPE FRANCIS
Meanwhile, a group of twenty former heads of state in Latin America sent a letter to Pope Francis criticising the Roman Catholics leader’s Christmas message. From the Vatican, Francis had asked for a “reconciliation” in Nicaragua. The letter, headed off by the two times President of Costa Rica and Nobel Peace Prize Oscar Arias, was also signed by the Argentinian Fernando de la Rúa, the Uruguayan Luis La Calle, the Chilean Eduardo Frei, the Colombians Andrés Pastrana and Álvaro Uribe, the Costa Rican Laura Chinchilla and the Mexicans Felipe Calderón and Vicente Fox, among others.
Protesters wearing Nicaraguan flags during a demonstration. / El Nuevo Diario .
The signatories remind Pope Francis of the almost 300 people who have died in the last months in Nicaragua as a consequence of the repression of the Sandinist regime of Ortega. “We are concerned about His Holiness’ call to concord because it can be understood as a petition to the peoples who are victims to come to an agreement with those who victimise them”, the letter says. The violence used by the government against many citizens need to be stopped, and a call to reconciliation gives a false image of equal wrongdoings.
OAS COULD PROVOKE “TOTAL ISOLATION” OF NICARAGUA
The permanent council of the Organization of American States (OAS) will decide on January 11 if it applies the Inter-American Democratic Charter, which could lead to the suspension of Nicaragua from the OAS and cause the total isolation of the regime. This initiative would also mean the freezing of “all loans and expenses of the Inter-American Bank of Development and other multi-lateral entities” which finance almost 30% of the budget of Nicaragua, one of the poorest countries in the region.