Nicaraguan opposition: Talks with Ortega have not had hoped-for results

Nicaraguan opposition: Talks with Ortega have not had hoped-for results 

From left to right, Nicaraguan Students National Union president Luis Andino, Sandinista lawmaker Wilfredo Navarro, Nicaraguan Foreign Minister Denis Moncada, Sandinista lawmaker Edwin Castro, Supreme Court Justice Francisco Rosales and Sandinista lawmaker Jose Figueroa participate in a press conference on March 18, 2019, in Managua. EFE-EPA/Jorge Torres

Managua, Mar 18 (efe-epa).- The opposition alliance in Nicaragua said on Monday that the negotiations with the Daniel Ortega government have not had the hoped-for results, although the group did not say whether it would abandon them or continue to participate in the dialogue launched on Feb. 27.

«Regrettably, so far the national dialogue has not produced the results that the great majority of our fellow citizens had legitimately hoped for,» said the so-called Civic Alliance for Justice and Democracy in a statement released after a brief negotiating session, the 11th so far.

The future of the talks was thrown into doubt this weekend after police violence against opposition supporters who intended to stage a protest on Saturday in Managua to demand the release of «political prisoners,» hundreds of arrested anti-government demonstrators or ones awaiting court proceedings for protesting against the Ortega regime.

«The dialogue continues to be at an impasse that began on Friday. We think it’s important to create confidence and credibility in the dialogue,» said Alliance delegate Jose Pallais, who did not respond when asked about the future of the talks.

The logjam that developed on Friday came about because the government refused to discuss issues thoroughly, including the release of political prisoners, upcoming elections and the administration of justice and it was exacerbated by the police attack on Saturday.

«The government must demonstrate the political will to overcome the crisis and we’re asking for the witnesses and companions to facilitate the construction of an environment that is conducive to dialogue,» said the Alliance in its statement, which was read by former diplomat Carlos Tunnermann.

The witnesses and companions to the talks are the apostolic nuncio in Nicaragua, Waldemar Stanislaw Sommertag, and Organization of American States delegate Luis Angel Rosadilla.

Last Friday, the Blue and White National Unity opposition group asked Sommertag and Rosadilla to intercede with the government for security forces not to suppress the demonstration called for Saturday to demand the release of political prisoners, but they received no response.

The Civil Alliance repudiated the government’s holding «more than 700» demonstrators in jail and perpetrating violence against people who wanted to publicly demand their release.

Nicaragua is going through a serious crisis that has left at least 325 people dead over the past 11 months, according to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), although some local humanitarian groups say that 561 people have died.

The Ortega administration puts the death toll at 199 and has complained that the opposition is trying to mount a coup d’etat.

At least 762 people are in jail in Nicaragua after participating in anti-government protests, according to the Pro Liberation of Prisoners and Political Prisoners Committee.

The IACHR says that the Ortega government has committed crimes «against humanity.»