The death toll in protests against the Nicaraguan government of Daniel Ortega has risen to 42, according to the Nicaraguan Center of Human Rights (CENIDH). The rights group is also reporting that the government is forcibly removing people it has identified as protesters, mostly young men, from their homes.
“We have confirmed 42 dead and have not yet determined the status of three others,” CENIDH said Saturday.
Although other human rights groups have reported up to 63 deaths, based on official and non-official lists, CENIDH figures are more conservative since they include none of those whose bodies have not been identified by their families.
CENIDH warns, however that even its own number of 48 has been made more uncertain due to the “forced relocation” of suspected protesters, considered a grave violation of human rights, since those who feel they are in danger must leave the city or even the country.
“There is a forced relocation, above all of young people who took part in the demonstration – they’re afraid of reprisals and won’t risk filing a complaint,” Sierra said.
The CENIDH member said that even the families of those young people have been forced into hiding far from their homes.
The crisis in Nicaragua is entering its 12th day as of Sunday, during which time Ortega has witnessed a massive reaction against his government, particularly after the ruling party’s shock troopers, directed by the Sandinista Youth and the National Police, used violence to repress the protesters.
Nicaraguans are demanding Ortega’s resignation and that of his wife, Vice President Rosario Murillo, considering them repressive and corrupt violators of human rights, civil rights and the freedom of the people.
Though the possibility exists of a dialogue between the government and protesters, with the mediation of the Catholic Church, there has been no progress in setting it up.
The Nicaraguan clergy this Saturday called for a “pilgrimage for the love of Nicaragua,” at which thousands of people would ask for Ortega’s resignation from the presidency.
Credit: Latin American Herald Tribune, www.laht.com