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Latin America News

Nicaraguan army appears to be distancing itself from Daniel Ortega in anti-government protests

The command of the Nicaraguan army said Saturday that it “will not repress the people,” in an apparent rebuff to President Daniel Ortega. More than 50 protesters have died in the past month in an on-going series of anti-government protests.

A protest last week in Managua.

“It is not our intention or our mandate to repress” the population that manifests itself in the streets. “We believe that dialogue is the solution” to solve the current crisis, said Army spokesman Colonel Manuel Guevara, about the widespread demonstrations and roadblocks that have plunged the country into a crisis.

Guevara said that the position of the armed forces in this crisis is attached to the constitutional mandate to “protect vital objectives for the functioning of the country.”

“We reject manipulated information that we want to make appear repressing” the protests, said Guevara in relation to the presence of soldiers in some public entities.

The military confirmed contacts with agricultural producer associations to expose the position of the military institution in the current crisis, after a manager of the guild of farmers made the meetings public.

The president of the association of breeders, Giovanni Caprotti, revealed that last May 4 held, at the request of the military command, a meeting with General Oswaldo Barahona, chief of operations of the IV military region comprising the departments of Rivas, Granada , Carazo and Masaya.

Caprotti said, in declarations to channel 15 of cable television, that Barahona reiterated that the performance of the army is limited to fighting drug trafficking, the protection of border areas, natural reserves and safeguarding the strategic assets of the country.

Ortega’s government faces the worst protests in 11 years, started on April 18 in rejection of a social security reform, which spread throughout the country in the face of the anger caused by the repression and to demand democracy and freedom.