One Year Anniversary of Nicaragua’s Mass Murder

By Daniel Nardini

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - CommentaryIt was a year ago that there was a mass uprising against the Sandinista government of Daniel Ortega by ordinary Nicaraguans over price increases. The Nicaraguan government responded to these peaceful protests by sending in the army and loyalist government militias to shoot and slaughter people. In fact, 325 people were butchered by the government and over 2,000 wounded (according to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights). Hundreds of people were thrown into prison just for protesting or simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time. No one is sure how many political prisoners there are in Nicaragua, but according to the civil society group Civic Alliance for Justice and Democracy, there are 779 political prisoners in Nicaraguan jails.

By an agreement reached between the Nicaraguan government and the Roman Catholic Church on March 20th of this year, all political prisoners were supposed to have been released within 90 days. So far, only 19 political prisoners have been released. The rest remain in prison. But then, why should the government release most if anyone? This is the same government that does not believe in freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and certainly does not believe that the people have a right to vote in a fair and impartial election. The Sandinistas have never believed in this, and they will not start now. According to Freedom House, a non-government agency based in the United States, Nicaragua is rated as a not free country—as low as it gets with regards to what people can and cannot do and the quality of life. Needless to say, thousands of Nicaraguans have applied for passports to flee the country, and many Nicaraguans have fled the country with or without passports. In commemoration of the protests from last year, people in Nicaragua may again take to the streets to protest what the government did then and what it is doing now. The question is whether the government may again use brute force to break up any protests being carried out now?

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