National strike called in Nicaragua amid worsening violence

National strike called in Nicaragua amid worsening violence 

A young man with a mortar poses for a picture next to a statue of the national hero Augusto Cesar Sandino in the town of Jinotepe, Nicaragua, Jun. 12, 2018. EPA-EFE/JORGE TORRES

Managua, Jun 12 (efe-epa).- The Civic Alliance for Justice and Democracy of Nicaragua, which brings together several sectors of the country, Tuesday called for a national strike to demand the end of repression and resumption of a dialogue to help solve the socio-political crisis that has left at least 146 people dead.

The President of the Superior Council for Private Enterprise, Jose Adan Aguerri, announced at a press conference that the 24-hour strike would start on Thursday.

“We urge all business owners, small and medium-sized entrepreneurs, independent professionals and self-employed businesses to close their establishments and cease activities,” said Aguerri.

The president explained that the peaceful civil strike would cover the entire country and all economic activities except those related to the preservation of life and the coverage of basic services for the population.

He also urged employers to respect the workers’ decision to join the national strike and encouraged public employees “whose dignity has been trampled on,” to make the strike a success.

“If they do it all together they will not be able to retaliate against you,” he explained.

The Civic Alliance for Justice and Democracy, which brings together the private sector, civil society, students and farmers, aims to achieve democratization and strengthen the institutions of Nicaragua to put an end to the Ortega government.

The Auxiliary Bishop of Managua, Silvio Baez, publicly urged support for the strike because it will demand an end to the repression, and support democratic and peaceful change, and a return to dialogue.

“We support the national strike as an act of pressure and social protest,” tweeted Baez.

The process of national dialogue has been mediated by the Episcopal Conference, though it was suspended on May 23 owing to disagreements between the government, students, civil society and the private sector on issues such as democratization and roadblocks.

The Vice-President and First Lady of Nicaragua Rosario Murillo, urged Nicaraguans Tuesday to move forward towards life and put an end to this crisis.

The unrest has disrupted many parts of the country, including the picturesque village of Jinotepe in the south of Managua which was turned into a war zone Tuesday by violent clashes against government forces that have left at least two dead by gunfire.

In central Managua one man died Tuesday after being shot from a motorcycle in broad daylight.

Tuesday marks the Central American country’s 56th day of the bloodiest sociopolitical crisis it has experienced since the 1980s, during Ortega’s first term as president.

The protests against Ortega and his wife Murillo, began on Apr. 18 over failed social security reforms and turned into a demand for their resignation after 11 years in power amid accusations of abuse and corruption.