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Nicaragua Prepares for Nationwide Strike

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As the civil unrest in Nicaragua approaches the two month stage and has claimed more than 150 lives (many of them students), Nicaragua prepares for a nationwide civil strike called by the President of the Higher Council of Private Enterprise (COSEP and the Civic Alliance for Justice and Democracy.

The group is calling for a 24-hour work stoppage for the entire hours of Thursday the 14th of June (starting at 00:01 hours and finishing at 23.59 hours) as the next stage in the demonstration against President Daniel Ortega.

The National Alliance for Justice and Democracy has urged that this will be “a national and peaceful civil strike that covers the entire country and all economic activities” (excepting emergency and basic services).

They say that it’s aimed at showing support for their demands for Ortega to return to the discussions and negotiations that were being mediated by the country’s Catholic bishops. The National Alliance for Justice and Democracy has maintained the position that Nicaragua will only obtain the changes needed to the political system by dialogue with the people aimed at achieving an authentic democracy.

The Catholic Archdiocese of Managua has applauded the efforts of The National Alliance for Justice and Democracy in calling for national unity and peaceful protest to resolve the impasse in the current crisis.

Ortega left the negotiation table last Thursday stating that he needed 48 hours to respond to the Catholic leaders plan. Although never revealed in its entirety, the plan is believed to include electoral and constitutional reforms, some of which would be needed to bring the November 2021 national elections forward.

Lost somewhere in the violence, death and destruction of the last two months is the catalyst that brought hundreds of thousands of Nicaraguans out to march through the streets of Managua (and other cities and towns). That being the now rescinded changes to the INSS (Social Security System) that were withdrawn quicker than they were put together but not before the first live round shots were fired.

The reaction to the violence from the government side (whether it was under direct orders or not) was an eruption of support for what started as a student demonstration and has now evolved into a nationwide campaign to force the President and Vice President out of office.

The Nicaraguan Center for Human Rights (CENIDH) have reported at least 152 people killed and well over 1,300 injured in battles with the official security forces as well as unofficial armed gangs.

The roadblocks (Tranques) stalling the movement of goods into, around and across the country have wreaked economic havoc to businesses, decimated the tourism sector as well as cost the country millions in taxes and financial growth projections. Some estimates have put economical losses at US $500 million and others say that 20,000 jobs have been lost.

Late today, Wednesday the 13th of June 2018, the bishops announced that they will be back at the dialogue table on Friday (15th June) having received a response from President Daniel Ortega to the debate agenda presented on June 7th.

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