What was called to be a day of peaceful mobilizations in the context of the protests that have shaken Nicaragua for 43 days closed again with a bloodbath.
A number not yet determined of dead and numerous wounded marked the commemoration of a day of the mothers that already had been dyed of mourning by the 91 violent deaths registered before beginning the day.
During the same, hundreds of thousands of people managed to march peacefully through the center of the capital, Managua, demanding justice for the mothers of those killed as well as the departure of President Daniel Ortega, in one of the largest demonstrations in Nicaragua in the last 40 years .
But a group of those protesters was attacked with bullets when the march already began to disperse, shortly before 5:00 pm, with a balance of numerous injuries and at least three fatalities, although everything indicates that the number will continue to increase.
“Father Jose Idiaquez, rector of the UCA in Managua, has just confirmed a massacre in the university zone.” Government mobs are shooting to kill “Dozens of wounded,” denounced by Twitter the auxiliary archbishop of the Nicaraguan capital, Silvio Jose Baez.
Early In Time was able to hear numerous detonations and blasts of automatic weapons. He also received complaints about the participation of riot police and snipers in the attack.Later, Idiaquez reported that about 5,000 people had to take refuge in the university.
The doctor who confirmed the first death among the protesters said that the young man had been shot in the head with a high-caliber weapon, “more powerful than an AK”.
A first report of fatalities, however, had already been made at noon by the mayor of Esteli, Francisco Valenzuela, who reported that a caravan of government supporters was heading to Managua to participate in government activity on the occasion of the Mother’s Day had been attacked with bullets.
According to Valenzuela, the incident left at least one dead and 21 injured , two of them seriously.
At the end of the afternoon, the National Police denounced another attack “with firearms and mortars on families that participated in the song tribute to the Nicaraguan Mothers, resulting in 12 people being injured”.
Official media later reported the death of two Sandinista sympathizers as a result of the incident.
While late in the afternoon also reported numerous injuries and at least one death among anti-government protesters in Esteli.Early In Time could not independently confirm any of these reports, but the images transmitted live by various local media and through social networks, as well as the information coming from the hospitals, leave no doubt of the seriousness of the situation.
In fact, everything indicates that the death toll may continue to rise.
The night falls on Managua in the midst of attacks on official and opposition media, with several buildings linked to the government burned and the streets practically deserted, with a good part of the population sheltering fearful in their homes for the news of attacks by armed men.
“Here we stay”
The day, however, had begun with good omens, with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) announcing that an agreement had been reached for the creation of an Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts to investigate what is happening in Nicaragua.
This was one of the recommendations made by the IACHR itself in a harsh report also denounced the excessive use of force by the forces of Nicaraguan security s and vigilante groups, among other serious violations of human rights.
Those accusations were also reiterated this week by Amnesty International, which went so far as to denounce a “lethal strategy” to suppress the protests by the State that would include “extrajudicial executions”.The Nicaraguan government denies the accusations and blames the violence on criminal groups and ” right-wing vandals “.
In the government activity on the occasion of mothers’ day, President Daniel Ortega also made it clear that he was not willing to leave office before the end of his term, as demanded by the hundreds of thousands who marched through Managua and other cities from the country.
“Nicaragua belongs to us all and here we all stay, Nicaragua is not private property,” the president said, in clear response to a statement from the main Nicaraguan businessmen backing the demand for early elections.
Before a competition markedly inferior to the one that demanded his departure, Ortega also called “to fight for peace.” Minutes later, the attack on the march “by the mothers of April” gave a rather dark tinge to his words.
The incidents on Wednesday, along with the many warnings sent by Sandinista sympathizers through social networks during the day, have convinced many that the government is still betting on violence to try to end the uprising and recover the control of the streets.Since the beginning of the protests, most episodes of violence have started with the attack of the security forces or vigilante groups on the demonstrators.
But this trend, instead of intimidating them, has only strengthened the demand for an exit from Ortega.
The gigantic march on Wednesday made it clear that the movement, far from having lost strength, is now able to put on the streets a lot more people than the ruling party .
Although it is not clear that this capacity for mobilization will be decisive in the short term.
Faced with the delicate situation, the government’s attempts to blame others exclusively for the violence, much in Nicaragua, are becoming less and less credible.
But the president shows no signs of giving in and his supporters also insist that he must complete his term.
Effectively, the ruling party argues that the Constitution must be respected and that we must wait for the investigation of the facts to conclude to determine responsibilities.For the authorities, the time and the increasingly difficult economic situationcan play in their favor, with Ortega announcing that his government will try to negotiate “agreements of coexistence” at the local level to achieve the end of road blockades, which have been one of the most effective expressions of the protest against him.
By continuing to bet that most people will privilege the benefits of a return to “normal”, however, the president could be underestimating the anger and outrage caused by the deaths .
In fact, the private sector is increasingly close to opting for “the nuclear option” which is the national strike and it is very likely that the events of this Wednesday will end up accelerating it.
If we add that many Sandinista sympathizers see the situation as a war against their leader and that there is a risk of returning to the tactics of yesteryear, the situation threatens to worsen at all levels.
Meanwhile, contrary to what his national anthem says, the soil of Nicaragua is still dyed with the blood of brothers.