Author: Salvador Martí
Image: EFE / Jorge Torres.
It will soon be a year since massive protests unexpectedly erupted in Nicaragua, initially driven by thousands of students who were protesting what had become an accumulation of grievances. Although the initial demands of protestors focused on the rejection of a proposed reform of the public pension system and the government’s mismanagement following a devastating fire in the Indio Maíz Biological Reserve, the protests quickly turned into a rejection of the increasingly authoritarian style of the patronage-driven, plutocratic Ortega-Murillo regime. The government responded to the protests with violent repression.
Since then, Nicaragua has been immersed in a crisis of governability in which periods of calm have alternated with violence. During the eleven months since protests erupted there have been failed negotiations, well-attended anti-government marches, occupations of public space, tanks in the streets, military and paramilitary operations, a spike in arrests, murder and kidnapping, and the exile and exodus of many government opponents.