Nicaraguan cartoonist Pedro X. Molina(Tw) sends a text in which he expresses his opinion on the political situation in his country. Nicaragua is today experiencing its fifth day of anti-government protests. The protests began on Wednesday 18 April against reforms to the Nicaraguan Social Security Institute (INNS) that raised contributions and spread to other issues such as the dismissal of government officials and the rise in fuel prices.
The protests triggered riots and looting in several Nicaraguan cities. Various sources claim that some 25 people have been killed since the start of the protests, although others say more than 30 have been killed, mostly by gunfire, and the number of injured continues to rise. The government continues to keep the figures low and speaks of only 10 dead.
Among those killed were Angel Gahonaa journalist who was shot dead while broadcasting a protest live on Facebook Live.
President Ortega has been forced to withdraw the reform that raised workers’ social security contributions from the current 6.25% to 7%, which prompted the protests. The reform also included a rise in employers’ contributions through their profits from 19 to 22.5 per cent, and provided for pensioners to start contributing with a 5 per cent deduction from their pensions.
Nicaragua’s situation in brief, by Pedro Molina
21/04/2018. All vignettes by Pedro Molina.
“Nicaragua, in the very centre of Central America, is now governed for the third consecutive term (thanks to opportunistic reforms and electoral fraud) by Daniel Ortega as president and his wife Rosario Murillo as vice-president.
After several years of suffering electoral fraud, curtailment of rights and selective repression, plus recent attempts to censor social media and the mishandling of a recent environmental disaster of major proportions. The straw that seems to have broken the camel’s back is the unconsulted enactment of a reform to the country’s social security law that curtails the rights of current and future pensioners as well as further taxing the contributions of current contributors.
The protests began timidly in a country where anyone who takes to the streets to criticise the government, no matter how small, is crushed by mobs such as the JS-19, which is run by the government and the police. When the protests began to surface even in the universities, which Ortega considers his private bastion, the issue began to get out of control.
Protests across the country
“At the moment there are protests and repression in practically all four corners of the country. There is destruction, aggression and deaths, there is also censorship. Several channels reporting the aggressions were abruptly taken off the air. International journalists who entered the country are said to have had their equipment confiscated and journalists on the streets are being repressed, beaten, assaulted and denigrated.
Personally, yesterday I accompanied one of the youth marches as a communicator and as a citizen, I was broadcasting the development and I could witness the civic-mindedness of the attendees. Despite the fact that they had to go through several anti-riot checkpoints.
At the end of the march a member of the pro-government mobs fired several shots while the police near him did nothing. Fortunately there were no injuries. Then on the networks some misguided people who recognised me were saying that I was “leading” the youths, which is false. But it is part of the smear campaign against anyone who reports what is happening here. The president has NOT shown his face at all. The singing voice of the government: His wife Rosario Murillo, in the style of George Orwell’s Big Brother, calls war peace and violence love.
Nicaragua needs the world to turn its eyes here. We don’t want to become another Syria when we still have the memory of the war at the end of the last century fresh in our minds”