As the crisis in Nicaragua continues, Latino Rebels spoke at length with two Nicaraguans about what they think about the government of Daniel Ortega, whether he should resign and what this all means for the country’s future. Here is what they told us:
“It’s not just a demand for resignation now, it’s a demand for justice. I think there’s a risk that more and more ordinary Nicaraguans driven to desperation will seek out violence. There isn’t going to be a normal war in Nicaragua because there isn’t a capacity for waging an armed insurrection,” said Mateo Jarquin, a Nicaraguan historian finishing his PhD at Harvard University.
For Jarquin, short-term solutions are clear.
“Today the FSLN is nothing but a personal vehicle for Daniel Ortega and his family to perpetuate themselves in power. At the very popular level, you see that people are willing to risk their lives, both to show their inconformity to the government, but also to put themselves in front of the violent apparatus of the state. It is important to say it is a political crisis, it is about basic civil rights. At this point it is about respect of the most fundamental human right, the right to life,” he said.
The events leading up to the recent wave of protests began in April, when the Ortega government announced its plan to reduce pensions and social security in order to increase employer and worker social contributions. Outraged students took to the streets to protest his plan.
Other countries are alarmed by the unrest, and the United Nations has called out the Nicaraguan government for its brutality towards civilians and demonstrators. Last week, the White House also issued a statement about Nicaragua, saying that “The United States strongly condemns the ongoing violence in Nicaragua and human rights abuses committed by the Ortega regime in response to protests.”
Although circumstances seem dire to many at the moment, some are optimistic. Nicaraguan local O, who chose not to reveal his identity due to safety concerns, thinks the fear of another war is very real, but envisions a “stronger Nicaragua” coming out of this crisis.
In the political arena, O foresees the Ortega regime relinquishing its power and leaving the country within the next month. Following this exit, O believes, a provisional government from Alianza Cívica will assume temporary power until the March 2019 elections that will determine the fate of Nicaragua.
O is also predicting changes on other platforms. He believes that the drivers of change in his country are the youth. According to O, young people have changed the country’s morale, marching forward for democracy
“I am going to use all my strengths with the help of all of those who would like to collaborate in bringing about a new Nicaragua without the culture of hate that has been displayed over the last two months and promoting the culture of peace, democracy and civil engagement,” O told Latino Rebels. “Nicaragua needs its sons and daughters now more than ever.”
No matter how the crisis unfolds, both Jarquin and O believe that the people of Nicaragua will continue with its fight against what they feel are government injustices.
Shayla Colon was a summer intern at the Futuro Media Group and currently attends Quinnipiac University. In 2019, she will have her bachelor’s in Journalism and English with a minor in International Business, accompanied by her MBA in Interactive Media.