NICARAGUA - Protests continue

In the last month many protests erupted in Nicaragua after the government under Daniel Ortega passed a new pension reform. The reform which on one side saw the increase in taxes for private businesses, also saw a rise in taxes for workers and a decline in payments for retirees. The protests started after two groups, the pro-reform and government backed group the so called "Sandinista Youth" clashed with the anti-reform group "Frente Amplio por la Democracia" (Broad Front for Democracy). The first clashes happened on the 18th of April in the city of Leon, but ever since the protests spread like a wildfire to other cities in different departments across the country.

The country saw many repressions took place during the protests. In the very first days 4 TV-channels that were broadcasting news of the protests were taken off air. Most of the information about the demonstrations started being spread online, especially through social media. It was at this time when gruesome images of violence against protesters and police brutality started appearing on websites like Facebook and Youtube. In one instance a reporter was shot dead while he was doing a live broadcast on Facebook, showing the danger journalists are being subjected in the current situation. On many videos police can even be seen shooting live ammunition and using excess of violence to crackdown demonstrations. The death toll due to this violence has increased rapidly reaching a total of 45 deaths and over 400 wounded since the protests started. 20 people have disappeared and haven't been heard from.

The masses of people that have taken to the streets do not just show a major disagreement on the pension reform, but with the government in general. The Ortega government has long been under criticism for a number of issues such as police brutality, corruption, damages to the environment and incompetence. Now with the reform the people have had enough. They will not take it anymore.

The people of Nicaragua are fiercely holding their own against hordes of "Sandinista Youth" and fully equipped riot police. They have been fighting back with anything they can muster, from rocks to self made mortars and have built improvised barricades out of paving stones. Even water and food supplies have been organized on their own, many street merchants solidarized with the demonstrators and provided said supplies out of their own pocket.

The people's anger has shown itself in full. In two cities, Granada and Leon, governmental buildings have been set on fire, while in Managua the multi million dollar art-sculptures called "trees of life", which are representative symbols of the government, have been taken down one by one. Universities have been occupied by students and have ever since been the battleground between them and the government forces.

The people of Nicaragua are ready to fight, their real strength is not in their weaponry or defenses, but in their masses and revolutionary spirit. In its majority the protests have happened by a spontaneous outburst against the government, but many sides are trying to take advantage of the protests and use them for their own political agendas. Nicaraguans need to realize that leadership has to come not from another bourgeois party, but from the amidst of the population. The only thing lacking right now is leadership within the movement. The conditions are good as they are, but without a proper plan, without leadership, without a proletarian standpoint these protests won't bring about a revolution and in before won't bring about the change the people really want, the change they really need.

Adelante marchemos compañeros! Adelante hacia la revolución!

#Nicaragua #Ortega #protest #FSLN #Chayo