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Central American University - UCA  
  Number 412 | Noviembre 2015
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Nicaragua Briefs

Nicaraguan Human Rights Center(CENIDH)


On November 4, Russia’s health minister, Veronika Skvortsova, presented the Order of Friendship to Nicaragua’s President Daniel Ortega, sent to him by President Vladimir Putin. Russia only grants this decoration to heads of State. The minister told Ortega that her country highly values its relations with Nicaragua and Ortega responded that the decoration “goes on the chest of all our heroes, all the martyrs and we receive it with great pride.” The Russian government has approved US$14 million to build in Managua the first stage
of a company that will produce vaccines against flu, polio and other diseases.

After delivering her credentials to Nicaraguan Foreign Minister Samuel Santos on October 6, Laura Dogu, the new US ambassador in Nicaragua, gave her first press conference. She said that the “The United States is committed to the principle that governments should reflect the will of the people and protect basic rights. All people yearn for certain things: the ability to speak your mind and have a say in how you are governed; confidence in the rule of law and the equal administration of justice; government that is transparent; and the freedom to live as you choose.” Laudable sentiments, even if not yet achieved in her own country.


Men and women from diverse sectors
of society converged on the National Assembly on October 20 to urge legislators to support the “Special Law for the Interruption of a Pregnancy for Health Reasons,” it presented to the Assembly’s first secretariat on October 6. Leslie Briceño, legal representative of the “We want them alive” committee, reported that it had gathered 6,164 signatures to back it, over a thousand more than the minimum of 5,000 required for the citizenry to present a bill. FSLN representative Carlos Emilio López, vice president of the Commission on the Affairs of Women, Youth, Children and the Family, said he knew nothing about the bill. Argentina Parajón, also an FSLN representative and vice president of the Health and Social Security Commission, also claimed to know nothing about it and added that it would be unconstitutional to approve something of that nature. That same day, the committee promoting the bill released a Letter to the Nation stating among other things that “protected by what our Constitution guarantees, detailed in the Law of Citizens’ Participation, we have exercised our citizenship so that there will be no more avoidable deaths of women.” The letter added that the draft law had been published on the National Assembly website, where it can “be learned about and analyzed by any citizen interested in improving our legal system.”

A group of former San Antonio sugar refinery workers, victims of chronic renal insufficiency (CRI), protested on October 7 outside the Compañía Licorera Nacional, the Pella Group company that produces Flor de Caña rum in Chichigalpa, department of Chinandega, demanding that the country’s most powerful business consortium indemnify them for their illness. Hours later, groups of youths pillaged a local gas station and several schools and set fire to a bank’s ATM booth and the municipal mayor’s office. Confrontations with police sent from the capital to reestablish order went on into the night, with no reported injuries. Sandinista Renovation Movement leader Dora María Téllez, who was minister of health during the Sandinista government in the 1980s, charged that “a wave of youth gang members associated with the government” had infiltrated the cane workers’ protest to discredit it, a tactic she accused the governing party of also employing in other social protests.


Sympathizers of Yatama, the indigenous regional party in the Caribbean coast, celebrated the 28th anniversary of the Autonomy Statute in the streets of Bilwi, capital of the north autonomous region on October 30. They used the opportunity to demand that the government effectively comply with both that law and the demarcation law, particularly its final stage known as title clearance, in which the mestizo settlers on indigenous land must either leave or negotiate with the original peoples. The demonstrators were suddenly attacked by FSLN activists in a battle that left 40 people injured and one FSLN sympathizer dead in circumstances not yet made clear. There had also been a clash between sympathizers of the governing party and of Yatama over two weeks earlier, on October 12, during a march to celebrate the Day of Indigenous, Black and Grassroots Resistance. The situation on the Caribbean coast became even more heated last month after President Ortega decided to strip Yatama leader Brooklyn Rivera of his seat on the FSLN’s National Assembly bench, thus breaking the alliance between the two organizations that began with the 2006 elections. Meanwhile, confrontations between Miskitus and mestizo settlers have continued with increasing violence, and the government has done nothing. Miskitu National Assembly representative Evelyn Taylor, the only remaining Yatama sympathizer to still have a seat on the FSLN bench as a result of the above-mentioned alliance, described the current situation in the region as the “lead-up to a war.”

On November 4, a Yatama delegation crossed what mestizos call the Río Coco and Miskitus have historically known as the Wangki, which serves as the border between Nicaragua and Honduras, to meet with Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, United Nations secial rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, to report on the violence experienced for several months now by the indigenous peoples in the region, who are under attack by mestizo settlers. The delegation had to cross into Honduras because the Nicaraguan government no longer allows that UN official to enter Nicaraguan territory. The Miskitu delegation delivered a document summarizing the violent situation in the north Caribbean region. Days earlier, in its 156th period of sessions, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) received a denunciation from the Center for Justice and Human Rights of the Atlantic Coast of Nicaragua (CEJDHUCAN), documenting 24 indigenous victims killed by settlers in their ancestral territories and the government’s failure to comply with the title clearance stage for those territories as ordered by Law 445. The representative of the Nicaraguan State shrugged off these deaths to the IACHR, attributing them to other causes. The IACHR ordered precautionary measures for the protection of some 1,500 residents of the Miskitu communities of the Wangki Twi Tasba Raya indigenous territory and ordered the State to investigate the murders and aggression committed against these populations.

On October 10, the coalition created around former President Arnoldo Alemán’s Constitutionalist Liberal Party elected Noel Vidaurre, a former Conservative Party presidential also-ran, as its candidate for the November 2016 presidential elections. A couple of weeks later the Sandinista Renovation Movement, which lost its party status in 2008 as the result of an arbitrary punitive decision by the Supreme Electoral Council and therefore cannot run under its own name in elections, signed an alliance with the coalition headed by the Independent Liberal Party (PLI). This is the second electoral alliance engaged in by those two parties; the first was in 2011 when the PLI Alliance candidate came in second behind Daniel Ortega. The Christian Democratic Union also joined the PLI coalition on October 29. Coalition members have stated that they are preparing both to participate and not to participate in the elections, depending on whether there are changes in the current political conditions, presumably referring to guarantees for transparent and clean elections, which so far show no signs of materializing.

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