Kristin in Nicaragua

whose streets?

the past week has seen various enfrentamientos (confrontations) between the two main political groups here: supporters of the ortega administration ("orteguistas") and the liberal-conservative opposition wing. the situation is incredibly complex, and it bears repeating that many long-term sandinistas do not support the current administration, which they critique for its anti-democratic tendencies. for example, in the press lately are reports that public officials are being told they must report to the various pro-ortega (pro-reelection) protests occurring in the rotundas around managua, e.g. if they don't go wearing their red or pink t-shirts and waving flags or holding signs in favor of ortega, they'll take a salary cut or risk losing their jobs. while horrendous, sometimes it's hard to trust these reports, as they come out of the main daily newspapers such as La Prensa, which daily contains sensationalist headlines such as, "Ortega needs to see a Psychiatrist", and constantly refers to the president as "The Dictator". in this context, the situation on the street is becoming more and more tense, especially as we approach the nov. 21 marchas planned by opposition groups in protest of the municipal elections of last november, which they allege were fraudulently manipulated in favor of the FSLN (against the liberal parties). at the same time, ortega-supporting protests are taking place daily in the rotundas of managua, with youths wearing bandanas (La Prensa refers to them as "los turbas"), firing mortars and home-made arms into the air, breeding a sense of insecurity and fear (i've fled from more than one of these rotundas in the past week, literally shaking due to the gun blasts and sense of violence i perceived).  for the 21st, the ortega administration is apparently planning massive counter-protests, with more confrontations between the opposition/liberal party supporters and orteguistas likely. in sum, it feels very unstable here right now, as if nicaragua were a state at war with itself, but of course this is taking place in the regional context of the ALBA alternative for the americas through which ortega is aligning with chavez against the interests of the US. a very complicated time, but most nicaraguans i know just want to return to normalcy, peace, stability...

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1 comentario

Rebekah -

I am saddened by the turn of events. I know that in light of recent Nicaraguan history this shouldn't surprise me, but violence never ceases to stop me. I hope that these two groups are able to find a way to dialogue. And I hope that you stay safe as well as your friends and the families you've met.
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