Category Archives: Nicaragua Demonstration Timeline

The crisis in Nicaragua: chronology of the principal events

The month of April marks the 2nd year anniversary of the uprising that started in April 2018. A team of researchers at the UCA for this anniversary published a book on this ongoing crisis. The last chapter contains a chronology of the principal events. Given all the day to day events experienced in the country, reading the chronology does provide perspective, and that is why we provide the translation here.

The crisis in Nicaragua: chronology of the principal events

[Chapter VI in the downloadable book, Nicaragua 2018: The civic insurrection of Abril]

Hellen Castillo Rodríguez[1]

What follows is a chronology of the principal events that occurred since the beginning of the social and political crisis of Nicaragua between April 2018 to April 10, 2019, starting with some brief immediate background events.

Evolution of the social and political crisis in Nicaragua 2018-2019

(Immediate background events)

Feb 7,

2018

Law 331, Electoral law of Nicaragua, reformed to provide more powers to the Vice President of the Supreme Electoral Council, Lumberto Campbell, who in practice assumed the presidency of this body.
March 12, 2018 Alarm in Nicaragua over the intention of the government to issue laws to control the internet and social networks
March 20, 2018 Mothers, sisters and friends of female victims of femicide in Nicaragua–16 femicides are registered in the course of the year–, protest in front of the Supreme Court in Managua, who demand that public measures be taken to put an end to gender violence.

 

April 3,

2018

Forest fire in the Indio-Maíz Biological Reserve in the Río San Juan province, bordering on Costa Rica.
April 7,

2018

The Nicaraguan government declares a yellow alert- four days after the fire began- when the fire had burned more than 3,000 hectares in the Indio-Maíz Biological Reserve.
April 11, 2018 Demonstration of more than 500 people, mostly youth, to denounce “governmental negligence” and “State inefficiency” in the face of the fire in the Indio-Maíz Reserve, considered the worst ecological catastrophe in the history of Nicaragua. This was the first of other demonstrations over this issue.
April 12,

2018

Self-convened youth march to demand a response to the fire that started on April 3. Minutes later, members of the youth organization of Sandinista Front for National Liberation (FSLN), known as the 19 of July Sandinista Youth (JS), National Police officers (PN) and special forces of the Anti-Riot Police repress the demonstration.
April 14,

2018

The central government reports that the fire in the Indio-Maíz Biological Reserve has been completely controlled. Some 5,484.7 hectares or 7,786.44 manzanas, are affected by the fire that lasted 10 days, and that was able to be put out through the efforts of local community members, the Army, firefighters, international aid, and finally, the rainfall in the area.
April 16,

2018

The Nicaraguan government through the executive president of the Nicaraguan Social Security Institute (INSS) surprisingly and unilaterally announces a reform to the social security system, imposing significant increases in the respective contributions from employers and workers, and establishing a tax of 5% on the pensions of retired people.

 

April 18,

2018

The Nicaraguan government publishes in La Gaceta the reforms to the Social Security Law of Nicaragua, announced the previous day.

 

Eruption of the crisis

(Outbreak of protests and governmental repression)

April 18, 2018

In the cities of León, Managua and Matagalpa the elderly, women and youth take to the streets to protest the reforms of the INSS. Journalists from different media cover the news.

Police agents, shock troops and members of the JS with tear gas, sticks, metal pipes and stones repress the self-convened youth and adults who have gathered in the Camino de Oriente shopping center in Managua to protest over the INSS reforms. The journalists are also attacked, and their cameras and equipment stolen.

The government suspends the transmissions of several independent TV channels: 100% noticias, Canal Católico, Confidencial, CDNN 23, Canal 12 and Telenorte from Estelí. The only channels available are official media, owned by the offspring of the Ortega-Murillo presidential couple.

April 19,

2018

Students of the National Engineering University (UNI) and the Polytechnical University of Nicaragua (UPOLI) join the protests over the reforms to INSS.

Police repression begins to use lethal weapons and munitions. The first three people die during the police repression: two students and one policeman.

For the first time since the 1979 revolution, the indigenous community of Monimbó, in Masaya, rise up in repudiation of the governmental repression and in support of the protests. During more than 6 hours they confront the special forces of the Police.

The Superior Council of Private Enterprise (COSEP) demands that the government respect the constitutional right to protest and not repress the demonstrations.

 

April 20,

2018

The demonstration against the INSS reforms are multiplied throughout Nicaraguan territory; at the same time the repression intensifies and lethal weapons and sharpshooters are employed. Independent media, national human rights commissions and social networks point out that just in those days close to 30 people die, mostly students.

The population supports the protesters, opening up collection centers for food and medicines, and creating medical support brigades.

The death of the youngest victim is reported: 15 year old adolescent Álvaro Conrado. He is urgently transported to the Hospital Cruz Azul, but the staff of the center close the doors and deny him medical attention.

The Metropolitan Cathedral of Managua is attacked by anti-riot police. More than 500 people are left trapped inside.

In Managua demonstrators cut down the first structure of the so-called “trees of life”, or “metallic trees” in repudiation of the Ortega-Murillo dictatorship. These felling of metal trees will continue throughout the protests.

In the provinces of Managua, León and Granada the burning of some public buildings takes place, along with some municipal installations and university centers. The attitude of the Police is complete passivity in the face of these acts of vandalism.
In the face of the crisis, COSEP asks the government to begin a dialogue process and calls for the first national march, held on April 23 in the Rubén Darío traffic circle, to demand respect for constitutional rights: freedom of expression, information and the right to demonstrate.

 

April 21,

2018

Daniel Ortega, the president of Nicaragua, accepts installing a negotiation roundtable with COSEP to analyze the INSS reforms and address the issue of exonerations and subsidies, as international financial organizations are demanding.

The context of the protests takes a turn and moves to demanding the resignation of the presidential couple, in response to the repression and abuse of human rights carried out by paramilitaries and the PN.

The journalist Ángel Gahona is killed while transmitting live the events occurring in the judicial complex in the city of Bluefields. His program, El Meridiano, was transmitted through social networks.
April 22,

2018

A wave of looting begins in commercial establishments and supermarkets in Managua. The population in the media and social networks report that members of the JS, supported by the Police, are responsible for these acts. In response, the population protects commercial centers, supermarkets, and businesses.
Daniel Ortega transmits through state television a message to the nation where he revokes the INSS reforms in order to defuse the protests
April 23,

2018

From Spain, where he traveled to receive the Cervantes award, the Nicaragua writer Sergio Ramírez dedicates the award to those killed in Nicaragua for demanding justice

Thousands of Nicaraguans lead a large march in Managua to the UPOLI to present a new list of demands to Ortega that would mean the end to violence and a dialogue to addresses the profound causes of the crisis

The Vice president of Nicaragua, Rosario Murillo, calls for a replica of the large opposition march and calls it: “The Government wants dialogue and peace”.

Peasants (men and women) call for a national strike until the demands are met of the youth entrenched in the universities, principally an end to the repression and immediate freedom of the more than 200 youth captured for exercising their right to demonstrate in the streets of the country.

 

April 24,

2018

−−

After the large march in Managua that demanded the resignation of Daniel Ortega, the president invites the Episcopal Conference of Nicaragua to be the mediator in a national dialogue.

The government of Daniel Ortega tries to lessen the impact of social media, and to do so suspends free wifi in the public parks of the country.

The Catholic Church of Nicaragua accepts to mediate in the dialogue requested by COSEP and the government of Daniel Ortega, but a date is still not set.

 

The first warnings come from the International Community. The High Commissioner of the United Nations for Human Rights (OHCHR) urges ensuring that immediate, profound, independent and transparent investigations be done on the deaths in Nicaragua

120 students are freed, the victims of arbitrary and illegal detention and confined to the La Modelo penitentiary system. Those arrested report having been tortured.
April 25,

2018

Peaceful protests and attacks from pro-governmental forces continue in different parts of Nicaragua. Civil society calls to take three days of national grieving.
April 26,

2018

The Permanent Commission on Human Rights (CPDH) counts 63 deaths and 15 people disappeared during the protests.
April 27,

2018

The Nicaraguan Prosecutor´s office announced that it will investigate the deaths occurred within the framework of the protests.

The National Assembly, whose majority are members or sympathizers of the party in power, announces the creation of a Truth Commission, completely composed of recognized militants or allies of the party in power. Demonstrators and NGOs describe this endeavor as a farce.

 

April 28,

2018

Thousands of opponents march again in Managua and several cities of the country to demonstrate against the government. The slogans maintain the demand that the rulers resign, and now demand democracy and electoral reforms to hold early elections.

University youth demand the presence in Nicaragua of the Interamerican Human Rights Commission (IACHR) of the Organization of American States (OAS).

April 29,

2018

Another big march is carried out in Managua called by the Episcopal Conference of Nicaragua to pray for the victims and the success of the dialogue.
At the end of a religious service, a motorcyclist barges into the central aisle of the Cathedral of Managua in an act of disrespect and intimidation of Cardinal Leopoldo Brenes, mediator and witness to the National Dialogue at the government´s request.
May 5,

2018

The University Coalition is created, composed of five student movements: April 19 University Movement, April 19 Student Movement, Nicaraguan University Alliance, April 19 UNA University Movement, University Coordinator for Justice and Democracy.
Demonstrations continue in the cities of Managua, Chinandega, León and Estelí. The bishops of Nicaragua demand “in depth clarification” of the deaths occurred in the student protests.
May 7, 2018

Civic protests are generalized throughout the country. The response of the regime is repression in Managua, Masaya, Chinandega, León and Estelí.

Students entrench themselves in the state National Autonomous University of Nicaragua (UNAN-Managua) and demand social justice and support for the demands of the movement.

The University Coalition chooses their 5 representatives to participate in the National Dialogue.
May 9,

2018

Demonstrators hold the third large march against Daniel Ortega, in which the Movement for Nicaragua, the Peasant Movement and civil society participate. More than 70,000 people attend. The government responds with their own smaller counter march in Managua.

 

May 10,

2018

Movement begins of civil society to recover national symbols. They paint curbs, posts and pedestals of monuments that had the colors of the FSLN blue and white, and remove the red and black flag from public places and municipal institutions.

The Civic Alliance for Justice and Democracy is created, composed of those invited to participate in the National Dialogue: members of the University Coalition, Peasant Movement, private enterprise, civil society and academic sectors.

May 11,

2018

Self-convened people begin the installation of roadblocks in several cities in the country. Large protest demonstrations continue throughout the country, in spite of the violent repression against the unarmed population.
Anti-riot and para police forces carry out violent attacks and looting in Masaya.
May 12, 2018

Masaya becomes the scenario for fierce confrontations between demonstrators and police, to which are added – according to denouncements on social networks and independent Nicaraguan press – armed groups allied with the government. According to local reports, the city awoke the next day looking like a “battle field.”

The Nicaraguan Army breaks their silence on the violent events in the country in which it says it had no participation, and issues a press release where it calls on  people to say “no to violence, no to instability, yes to tranquility, yes to peace,” and states that “We are the people themselves in uniform.”

 

May 13, 2018

Demonstrators in Managua hold a caravan in support of the city of Masaya, that has resisted for more than 48 hours a nearly uninterrupted fight against the attacks of anti-riot and para-police forces. There are nearly 22 continuous kms of vehicles along the Managua to Masaya highway.

A multi-sectoral roundtable – composed of the University Coalition, the Peasant Movement, civil society organizations, private sector and academic sector – send a letter to Paulo Abrāo, executive secretary of the IACHR, inviting the organization to investigate, evaluate and assess the denouncements of violence, persecution, repression and death occurred in Nicaragua since the beginning of the protests in April.

May 14,

2018

The Episcopal Conference of Nicaragua (CEN) announces that the National Dialogue will begin in two days.

In the end the government consents that a mission of the IACHR visit the country to “observe the human rights situation”. This is reported by the Secretary General of the OAS, Luis Almagro.

May 16,

2018

The first session of the National Dialogue is held in the Seminary of Our Lady of Fatima in Managua. Protected by a disproportionate deployment of police and army, with special forces, helicopters, drones, planes and heavily armed bodyguards, Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo attend in their capacity as heads of state. At the entrance to the area, angry multitudes boo at their passing and refute the defamatory remarks that the rulers have made about the demonstrators: in addition,  they reproach them for their responsibility for the killings of unarmed youth. The Civic Alliance, as counterpart in the National Dialogue, the Episcopal Conference of Nicaragua, as mediator and witness, and the diplomatic body credentialed in the country are present.

 

May 17,

2018

A group of representatives of the IACHR arrive in Nicaragua to observe the situation and collect denouncements from the civilian population. At the end of their stay, they publish a Preliminary Report in which, having as a source the official information of the government, confirm that 76 people died, 868 were wounded and 438 arrested. They recommend creating a Special Follow up Mechanism for Nicaragua (MESENI) and a group of independent experts from the IACHR in order to clarify the events of April.
The Support Group for the Mothers of April is created.
May 18,

2018

The second session of the National Dialogue is held, where both parties arrive at the first agreement: 72- hour truce to stop the violence and relax the roadblocks throughout the country. Likewise, at the proposal of the Civic Alliance, all the participants in the dialogue roundtable approve the preliminary report of the IACHR and agree to abide by its 15 recommendations.
May 19,

2018

With the “Caravan of Bravery in Managua” the first month of the start of the protests is commemorated. Throughout the country marches and sit-ins are held to honor those killed by the government
In León the march of the Movement for Nicaragua and the April 19 Movement from that same city is held, in which more than 100,000 people participate.
At night police and para-police forces attack the National Agrarian University (UNA). The representatives of the IACHR observe the attack in person. With this aggression the government violates the truce agreement established in the first session of the National Dialogue.
May 21,

2018

The third session of the National Dialogue is held, without significant results.
May 23,

2018

The fourth session of the National Dialogue is held. The Civic Alliance makes a call to democratize Nicaragua. Daniel Ortega refuses, and denounces a “soft coup.” The lack of consensus forces the Episcopal Conference to suspend the talks, and proposes a mixed commission composed of three representatives for each party, in an attempt to overcome the impasse.
May 24,

2018

 

A cadaver appears in the drainage ditch of the El Plomo hill, with clear signs of torture. He is taken without identification to the Medical Legal Institute.

Arbitrary and illegal detentions continue. One of those detained is able to be released through social pressure.

It is reported that in El Chipote2 are found many other people arrested whose detention had not been reported.

More denouncements of disappeared Nicaraguan youth begin to appear on social networks.
The repression continues in several parts of the country. The cities of Chinandega and León are attacked by para-police forces, leaving three people killed as a result.

2 El Chipote is a jail located in the high part of the Tiscapa hill in Managua. During the Somoza dictatorship it was one of the principal torture centers. Currently the national human rights commissions denounce that there are many people detained there who are tortured, particularly in this period of crisis.

May 26,

2018

A report from Amnesty International (AI) states that the government has committed “crimes against international law” by “carrying out a lethal repressive policy”.

Marches, sit-ins and roadblocks remain. Those barricaded in roadblocks in several cities of the country are subjected to attacks with all types of weapons on the part of para-police forces.

A wave of street violence begins in which mobs and criminals that the population identifies as connected to the government go out at night, shooting at civilians and creating chaos.

An article is published in Confidencial3 that gathers several case stories that fully illustrate the pattern of shooting against demonstrators in Nicaragua, which allows one to surmise that the PN used sharpshooters.4
May 28,

2018

Students take over the UNI. At 10am attacks begin from the National Police, anti-riot and para-police forces. The clashes continue until 6pm. Three deaths are reported, along with many wounded and several people arrested.

The first round of work of the Mixed Commission was held; they reached a consensus to relax the roadblocks, as long as the first issue of the agenda in the dialogue – to be renewed on May 31 – would be the end of repression, dismantling of paramilitary groups, and the call for early general elections, among other points.

 

May 29,

2018

Demonstrations and roadblocks are maintained in a generalized way throughout the country.

Amnesty International presents a report on the situation of the country, titled “Shoot to Kill”, in which it concludes that the “Government of Nicaragua is using a strategy of lethal repression”.

3 Confidencial is a magazine that has been published in Nicaragua since 1996 as a media outlet for information and analysis among decision makers in government, diplomatic corps, private sector and civil society. In 2010 it relaunched itself to the public as an interactive digital newspaper.

4 The article is from the journalist Wilfredo Miranda Aburto, who singled out that: “Confidencial has in its possession 19 CAT scans done in the Lenin Fonseca Hospital. They show precise shots in the forehead, parietal, temporal and occipital regions of the heads of the victims. Most of the gunshot wounds present entry and exit wounds. Trajectories that leave a wake of destruction in the brain mass” (2018).

 

May 30,

2018

On the occasion of Mothers Day in Nicaragua, and in support of the more than 90 mothers who up to that point had lost their sons or daughters due to the governmental repression, held in Managua the so-called “Mother of all Marches”. It is estimated that more than 500,000 people participated. The march is reaching its end when the participants are attacked by sharpshooters and paramilitary groups allied with the government. At 5pm the first students are killed, among them a 15 year old boy, slain in front of his mother with a shot to the neck.
In other points in the capital, like the Highway to Masaya, clashes are recorded of police and paramilitaries against demonstrators. Similar events occurred in other cities, and a total of 19 deaths are reported and dozens of wounded. Daniel Ortega announces that he will not leave power.
May 31,

2018

The Civic Alliance for Justice and Democracy issues a press release announcing that, after the massacre of May 30, they are not willing to renew the National Dialogue as the government has not given the order to end the repression and violence against the Nicaraguan people

The inhabitants of the city of Masaya, the indigenous community of Monimbó and the municipality of Waslala call for a national strike, after the wave of violence and repression perpetrated by the government.

June 1,

 

2018

In the city of León groups allied with the government of Ortega burn the Agricultural Ministry (MAGFOR) and create chaos.

The Central American Province of the Society of Jesus makes a pronouncement repudiating the massacre perpetrated by the government, the National Police and para-police forces in Nicaragua. At the same time, they denounce in an open and public letter threats received against the life of Fr. José Alberto Idiáquez, the President of the Central American University (UCA) who is participating in the National Dialogue roundtable as part of the Civic Alliance for Justice and Democracy.

June 4, 2018 Masaya suffers an armed attack that leaves 5 deaths.
Monimbó keeps up the struggle.

 

June 6, 2018 The OAS urges all parties to “promote peaceful negotiations with clear results that address the fundamental challenges of the country, including the strengthening of democratic institutions and holding free, fair and timely elections”.
June 7,

2018

Demonstrations against Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo continue throughout the country.

An undeclared curfew is imposed on Managua and other cities. When night falls, pro-government and paramilitary patrols take the streets

The bishops meet with the government to try to reactivate the dialogue. The president asks the Episcopal Conference for 48 hours to “reflect” on their proposal for democratization.

The United States decides not to wait and suspends issuing visas for “people responsible for Human Rights abuses and undercutting democracy in Nicaragua”. Even though names are not mentioned, the measure indicates that it will affect members of the government and the National Police.
June 10, 2018 Properties of between 5- 1,500 manzanas in size begin to be occupied by land invaders organized by the FLSN party and officials from municipal governments
June 12, 2018 The public becomes aware that Daniel Ortega, in order to resolve the crisis, show himself willing to move up the presidential elections, planned for 2021. The proposal supposedly was presented to the bishops and the Civic Alliance by the US Ambassador Laura Dogu and Caleb McCarry, a delegate of the Foreign Relations Committee of the US Senate who visited Nicaragua on June 9 and met with Ortega. Later events and speeches will contradict this disposition of Ortega.
June 13,

2018

The Civic Alliance for Justice and Democracy calls for a 24-hour general strike to increase pressure on the government, a measure that up to now they had refused to take due to the consequences it could have on the Nicaraguan economy. At this point the crisis has cost the country $600 million dollars.

 

June 15, 2018 The National Dialogue is renewed. The government and the Civic Alliance address the “roadmap” for “democratizing” the country, specifically the proposal to move up presidential elections to 2019. At the request of the Civic Alliance, the parties agree to invite international observers to investigate the acts of violence

.

June 17, 2018

Six members of one family – including two small boys – die burned in their home in a fire deliberately caused by forces allied with the government in the city of Managua. One survivor and several neighbors state that the attack that produced the fire was committed by para-police groups of the government with the support of the PN.

With this crime, the Nicaraguan Center for Human Rights (CENIDH) denounced an escalation in the brutal repression of the Ortega-Murillo regime. In addition, the organization lamented the fact that in these 60 days another 12 minors have been killed.

The 33 year-old young man Darwin Potosme dies at the hands of a sharpshooter during an attack on the central park in the city of Masaya.
Peoples uprising and attacks
June 18, 2018

The population of Masaya, 28 kilometers from Managua, declares itself “territory free from the dictator”. The city remains under siege from pro-government repressive forces.

The High Commissioner of the United Nations for Human Rights, Zeid Ra ád Al Hussein, states that the situation in Nicaragua “might well deserve” the creation of an international investigation.

The renewal of the National Dialogue is planned, which finally is delayed a week, and included representatives of the IACHR.

 

June 19, 2018

The songwriter Carlos Mejía Godoy presents a new song: “Monimbó siempre con vos [Always with you, Monimbo´]”, in honor of the indigenous people of Monimbó.

New clashes leave at least 3 dead and 30 wounded. In the days that follow the repression increases against the students of the UNAN.

June 21, 2018 Work in defense of Monimbó is reorganized, where barricades are reinforced to prevent the entrance of anti-riot forces and paramilitary groups. The barricades are guarded 24 hours a day by the population.
June 22, 2018 The IACHR presents a report that raises the numbers to 212 dead, 1,337 wounded and 507 detained by “the repressive action of the State” which, according to the denouncement, “has been directed at dissuading participation in the demonstrations and crush this expression of political dissent”.
June 23, 2018

Armed groups attack a barricade guarded by students holed up in the Rubén Darío university campus, wounding 15 students with gunshot and kidnapping three youth protestors.

The 14 month-old baby Teyler Leonardo Lorío Navarrete is killed. According to his mother´s testimony, Teyler was hit by a bullet from the Police when his family was taking him to the home of his grandmother in a neighborhood in the eastern part of the capital. The Police refute this version and accuse a criminal of the act. His mother, nevertheless, maintains that her baby was killed by the Police.

June 25, 2018

The dialogue is renewed in the country, with the presence of a technical team of the IACHR. The group forms part of the Follow up Mechanism for Nicaragua (MESENI) responsible for oversight over fulfillment of the recommendations and cautionary measures previously issued by the IACHR.

Hundreds of Nicaraguans who live in New York and in other states close by in the United States walk twelve blocks in the center of Manhattan, NY, demanding an end to the repression in Nicaragua.

June 26, 2018 A team from the High Commissioner of the United States for Human Rights (OHCHR) arrives in Nicaragua to participate, along with experts from the IACHR, in the investigations on the violent acts in Nicaragua.
July 1,

2018

“The march of flowers” is held, that walked through Managua in memory of the minors killed during the protests. It is the first time that a large march is held since the tragic event of May 30. Shock groups and paramilitaries return to attack and kill another person.
July 5,

2018

The United States sanctions three high Nicaraguan officials, within the framework of the Magnitsky Act. They are Francisco Díaz, chief of the National Police and in law of Daniel Ortega; Fidel Moreno Briones, Secretary General of the Municipality of Managua; and  Francisco López Centeno, Vice president of Albanisa – state enterprise partner with the Oil Enterprise of Venezuela (PDVSA).
July 7,

2018

As part of “Operation Clean up” 5 Ortega launches a new offensive against “rebel” cities: Matagalpa, Jinotepe, Diriamba, León, Masaya.

Paulo Abrāo, Executive Secretary of the IACHR, denounces from Nicaragua that “pro governmental armed groups supported by the Police are entering into cities in a massive way”. “Shooting and bursts of gunfire. Yesterday Matagalpa. Now around Jinotepe and Diriamba”, he relates. In just four days nearly 40 dead are counted.

July 9,

2018

The roundtables of the National Dialogue are suspended due to the attacks suffered by the bishops in the basilica of San Sebastián, in the city of Diriamba.
July 10,

2018

Ortega appears before official media to clarify that finally there will be no early elections. “There will be time, just as the law orders, there will be time for elections. Everything has its time,” he notes.
July 11,

2018

 

The Secretary General of the United Nations, António Guterres, expresses his concern over the “intensification” of the violence in Nicaragua, and points out that dialogue is the only way of finding “a peaceful solution to the current crisis.”

5 “Operation Cleanup” – term used popularly – consisted in the joint dismantling by force of roadblocks and barricades, carried out by members of the National Police, paramilitaries, and mobs allied with the government, as well as armed attacks against the population that demonstrate against

 

July 12,

2018

The Permanent Council of the OAS meets to address the situation in Nicaragua. The Secretary General of the OAS, Luis Almagro, advocates for early elections and offers his support to Daniel Ortega so that it might be a “clean and transparent process.”

That same day, dozens of thousands of Nicaraguans take to the principal streets of Managua shouting “Together we are a volcano” and “The people united will never be defeated.” Throughout the route of the march the pervasive slogan is “Ortega and Somoza are the same thing.”

 

The Union of Agricultural Producers of Nicaragua (UPANIC) revealed that some 5,500 manzanas of land for agricultural, housing and forestry uses has been invaded by heavily armed people, who looted and violently stripped the legitimate owners of their respective possessions.
July 13,

2018

Nicaragua wakes up under a 24-hour national stoppage.

Accompanied by a military caravan of cars and motorcycles, the presidential couple celebrate in the police station of Masaya the 39th anniversary of the historic “Tactical Retreat”. For the first time since 1980 the Retreat did not end in the indigenous community of Monimbó, Masaya

During the Retreat, the people of Monimbó stayed hunkered down in the barricades, and all the population of Masaya closed themselves in their homes to show their repudiation of the government.

At the end of the “Tactical Retreat”, the National Police carry out a harsh attack against the population that protested in Monimbó. The attack lasts two and a half hours and leaves two people dead as a result.

Medardo Mairena, coordinator of the National Council in the Defense of the Land, the Lake and Sovereignty, and member of the Civic Alliance for Justice and Democracy, is captured and transferred to the cells of El Chipote. The peasant leader is accused a priori of terrorism and the murder of four policemen in the municipality of Morrito, in the province of Río San Juan.

 

July 14,

2018

Armed groups attack the UNAN of Managua. The students seek refuge in the nearby Divina Misericordia Church, where they spend more than 15 hours under constant automatic gun fire from police and paramilitaries. This repressive act leaves another two dead.
July 15,

2018

Another ten people die at the hands of police and paramilitaries in a series of attacks on the indigenous community of Monimbó, in the city of Masaya.
July 16,

2018

With combined forces of the government, the so called “Operation Clean up” continues against five cities of the Pacific, among them Managua, Masaya, Diriá and Catarina; their inhabitants remain in a state of anxiety and high alert.

Two people are reported dead.

July 17,

2018

More than 1,500 troops of the Army, Police and paramilitaries lay siege to the city of Masaya and shoot at the indigenous neighborhood of Monimbó, an attack that lasts more than seven hours and leaves as a result four people dead.

The Organization of American States (OAS) calls an extraordinary session for July 18 to address the Nicaraguan crisis when it enters into its third month.

July 18,

2018

It is now three months since the start of the protests against the regime imposed by President Daniel Ortega, with close to 300 people killed.

A group of US senators, Democrats as well as Republicans, present the bill “2018 Law for Human Rights and the Fight Against Corruption in Nicaragua”, that seeks to put an end to the wave of violence that Nicaragua is suffering, and that includes the application of new sanctions on the government of Daniel Ortega and the demand to call early elections.

July 19,

2018

Daniel Ortega celebrates the 39th anniversary of the Sandinista Revolution, reaffirming that he is not leaving power and launching a virulent attack against the Episcopal Conference of Nicaragua, accusing it of being “a coup supporter.” The event includes the presence of the diplomatic corps accredited in the country, among whom is the representative of the Vatican, Apostolic Nuncio Mons. Waldemar Stanislaw Sommertag.

 

July 20,

2018

In La Gaceta No. 138 is published “Law 977 Against Laundering of Assets, Financing for Terrorism and the Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction”. The organizational defenders of human rights in Nicaragua state that this legislation would allow for a high amount of discretion on the part of judicial authorities to process any citizen who opposes the regime of president Daniel Ortega for the crime of terrorism.
July 21,

2018

The Catholic church, which says “it does not suffer for being slandered (…), it suffers for those who have been killed”, calls the faithful to a campaign of fasting.
July 23,

2018

After nine years of not offering declarations to national or international media, Daniel Ortega offers an interview for the Special Report program of Fox News, the conservative television channel and sympathetic to President Donald Trump. In the interview- conducted by the journalist Bret Baier− Ortega denies the accusations of repression and human rights violations that international organizations charge him with, and states that there is a panorama of normality in his country, and rejects the call for early elections.
The 31 year-old Brazilian student Raynéia Gabrielle is killed. She dies from a shot to the thorax when paramilitaries blasted her vehicle that was passing through the Lomas de Monserrat neighborhood in Managua.
July 24,

2018

On the 100th day of the crisis, Daniel Ortega says he has “defeated the coup”. In an interview to the interstate channel TeleSur he accuses the United States of “interventionism” and expresses that it would be “ideal” to have a dialogue with his US counterpart, Donald Trump, to deal with the policy of that country toward Nicaragua.
Persecution y criminalization
August 2,

 

2018

The Organization of American States (OAS) approves the creation of a working group for Nicaragua for the purpose of supporting the National Dialogue and contributing to the “search for peaceful and sustainable solutions.”

 

 

August 26,

2018

In the neighboring country of Costa Rica, a massive march is held of repudiation to the xenophobia toward Nicaraguan immigrants who are arriving in the country, fleeing the social and political crisis that Nicaragua is undergoing.
August 27,

2018

Brandon Lovo is condemned to 23 years in jail, and Glen Slate to 12 years in jail, for the supposed murder of journalist Ángel Gahona, on April 21 in the city of Bluefields. Both Afro-descendent youth became the first political prisoners that are sentenced by the Ortega-Murillo dictatorial regime. The family of the murdered journalist refute the version of the government about the culpability of those sentenced.
August 31,

2018

Daniel Ortega terminates the invitation of Nicaragua to the representatives of the OHCHR, after it presented a report which denounces the human rights abuses and abuses committed by the security forces of the government during the protest that occurred since April in Nicaragua.

The European Union suspends the aid program with the National Police of Nicaragua, which had not executed 3.5 million euros.

Authorities of UNAN-Managua expel 82 students for participating in the protests against the regime of Daniel Ortega.
Sept 1,

2018

The delegation of the OHCHR leaves Nicaragua for Panama because the Government “invited them to leave” the country.

In the Jean Paul Genie roundabout in Managua groups of government party sympathizers destroy the memorial done by relatives and friends of the victims of the repression.

The National Police and members of the Sandinista Youth besiege the self-convoked inhabitants in the cities of Granada and Nandaime to keep them from marching.
Sept 2,

2018

Paramilitaries in three pickup trucks shoot at participants in the “March of the Flags” and wound two people.

Sympathizers of the party in power hold a caravan through the neighborhoods and principal streets of Managua to ask for justice against the “terrorists.”

 

Sept 4,

2018

Edwin Carcache (27 year-old) is arrested, a leader of the Movimiento Estudiantil 19 de Abril, for joining the university struggle and protesting against Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo.
Sept 8,

2018

The “Balloon March” is held, convoked by parents and relatives of all the people who have been detained and face different judicial processes, principally accused of terrorism. Blue and white, the colors of the national flag, stand out.
Sept 10,

2018

Amaya Coppens (23), student leader of the Movimiento 19 de Abril, is captured in León, along with Sergio Midence Delgadillo (28), accused of the crime of simple abduction, terrorism and minor psychological injuries.
Sept 20,

2018

A Solidarity caravan for Nicaragua arrives in Peru to expose and denounce the murder and abuse that the Nicaragua people are experiencing, in the face of the worst social and political crisis that the country has experienced in the last decade.

The selective eviction of some of the so called “land invaders” begins, people who had invaded land in some cities of Nicaragua. The last report of UPANIC indicates that of the 9,800 manzanas of private property that were invaded, some 2,483 manzanas are recognized as recovered.

Sept 21,

2018

The government of Daniel Ortega orders workers (men and women) of State institutions to hold sit-ins in the principal roundabouts of the capital, to prevent the gatherings of members of the self-convened movements.
Sept 24,

2018

An arrest order is issued against Félix Maradiaga, academic and director of the Institute for Strategic and Public Policy Studies (IEEPP), who at the beginning of September denounced before the Security Council of the UN the persecution and repression of the Nicaraguan government against civil society.

 

Sept 27,

2018

The university students Elsa Valle, Elizabeth Centeno and Yuri Valerio are freed from the “La Esperanza” women´s jail, after being arrested on July 14 for protesting against the dictatorship of Daniel Ortega. Days later, Elsa Valle would reveal that she suffered a miscarriage in prison as a result of the abuse suffered during her imprisonment.
Oct 2,

2018

The House of Representatives of the US approves the Nicaraguan Investment Conditionality Act, known as the Nica Act, a law that imposes sanctions on the government of Daniel Ortega. The legislation is opposed to international financial institutions granting loans to the government of Nicaragua and demands that measures be taken to ensure electoral transparency and the fight against corruption. In order to become law it requires the approval of the US Senate, and the approval of President Donald Trump.
Oct 4,

2018

The “National Blue and White Unity” is officially presented, composed of the different social sectors who are opposed to the regime of Daniel Ortega, among them the Civic Alliance and the Articulation of Social Movements, for the purpose of fighting for democratization and justice in Nicaragua.
Oct 9,

2018

The anti-governmental demonstrator Carlos José Bonilla is sentenced to 90 years in prison for the aggravated murder of the Policeman Jilton Rafael Manzanares, and for attempted murder of another four police officers.
Oct 14,

2018

The Police prevent the first march called for by the National Blue and White Unity (UNAB) and capture 38 people.
Oct 17,

2018

Red lipstick becomes a symbol of protest against the dictatorship of Daniel Ortega. Social networks (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) propagate a massive digital feminist campaign called “#SoyPicoRojo” as a new form of demanding the release of political prisoners.
The National Police repress and militarize the island of Ometepe, for the purpose of capturing all those on the island who have demonstrated against the Ortega-Murillo dictatorship.
Oct 18,

2018

Amnesty International publishes the report “Instilling Terror”,6 in which a team of experts in the analysis of images, weapons and munitions show that: “During the months of June and July 2018 groups of national police in black uniforms were identified, using a wide variety of military style arms and weapons of indiscriminate impact. Among the weapons that they carried were identified AK-47 style rifles, which only use lethal munition, Russian Dragunov sharpshooter rifles, Remington M24 SWS and FN SPR rifles, that allow for precise shots over very long distances, light RPK machine guns and PKM machine guns (arms that are fully automatic, and therefore in no way applicable for public security tasks). In addition, slam gun Pistols, portable RPG-7 anti-tanks grenade launchers (…), all shot on occasions in an indiscriminate manner”.
Oct 20,

2018

The Nicaraguan Central Bank (BCN) notifies commercial Banks of the suspensión of the mechanism of online purchases of dollars. This disposition indicates that, in order to request the purchase of dollars, they must do so in writing 48 hours in advance, indicating amount, purpose and actors in the transaction. This type of measure was considered by some analysts as a type of foreshadowing of financial banking restrictions”.

6  On the “possible serious human rights violations and crimes against international law” that the Nicaraguan authorities would have committed between May 30 and September 18, see the complete report from Amnesty International Instilling Terror: From lethal force to persecution in Nicaragua (2018).

Oct 21,

2018

19 year-old university student María Alejandra Castillo García is freed, after suffering a miscarriage in the cells of El Chipote, where she was detained since Sept 23.

After Sunday Mass, after three weeks since the Police increased the harassment of the Blue and White marches, hundreds of Nicaraguans protested in the Managua Cathedral to demand the freedom of political prisoners

The Nicaraguan Association for Human Rights (ANPDH)7 publishes a report where it reveals that the victims of the repression number 528 people killed; some 4,102 wounded; 1,609  people abducted by unauthorized armed groups, of whom 1,486 remain detained illegally or disappeared, and 21 homes of citizens destroyed due to the fact that their inhabitants protested civically and peacefully against the regime. From April 19 to this date the ANPDH has not ceased to register denouncements of abductions perpetrated by paramilitaries.

Oct 25,

2018

It is leaked that the government of Daniel Ortega will be taking 4% of the salary of each State worker for the purpose of mitigating the scarcity of funds in the party and the State.
Oct 26,

2018

Nicaraguan authorities deny entry to the authorities of the Center for International Law and Justice (CEJIL), who were trying to enter the country to meet with representatives of the IACHR for the purpose of analyzing the situation of Nicaragua.
Oct 27,

2018

President Daniel Ortega, through the Nicaraguan Institute of Telecommunications and Mail (TELCOR) orders businesses that provide Cable TV services in the entire country to take off air the signal of 100% Noticias, an opposition enterprise that transmitted by cable on Channel 15, and put in its place the pro-government Channel 6.

7 This report of the ANPDH (2018) presents timely data on the victims killed during the crisis in Nicaragua for having exercised their right to civic protest.

 

Oct 30,

2018

17 political prisoners jailed in the La Esperanza National Penitentiary System for Women denounce- to their relatives and human rights organizations – that penal authorities allowed the incursion into their cell of some twenty hooded men dressed in black, who savagely beat them.
A delegation of MESENI and the IACHR request entry to the La Esperanza women´s jail to confirm the status of the health of the 17 political prisoners who were beaten. The authorities block their access.
Oct 31,

2018

The Petronic DNP gasoline station chain (Nicaraguan Distributor of Oil) changes their corporate image after the economic losses that the business suffered based on the campaign against them disseminated in social networks. Its current name is PETROCEN. This business is a partner of the Venezuelan oil Company

and is connected to relatives of the rulers of Nicaragua.

Nov 1,

2018

Rosario Murillo announces the creation of a policy of peace, and a bill called “Law of National Reconciliation”; the interpretation of the opposition of these measures is that their true objective is to prepare the conditions to promulgate a general law of amnesty which would leave the crimes committed during the crisis unpunished.

 

Nov 2,

2018

Alex Vanegas, known as the marathon runner, is violently arrested for the sixth consecutive time. This time his “crime” consisted in depositing flowers on the tombs of the victims of the repression. Alex, at 61 years of age, has run in different parts of Managua wearing a blue and white shirt – the colors of the national flag – in demand for freedom for the political prisoners of the dictatorship.
Nov 6,

2018

The Violeta Barrios de Chamorro Foundation (FVBCH)8 releases a systematization 9 on cases of the violation of freedom of the press where they reported that between April 18 and October 18 there were 420 violations against freedom of the press in Nicaragua.
Nov 7,

2018

The Prosecutor´s Office demands 21 years in prison for nine students of the UNAN-Managua who survived the attack on the Divina Misericordia Church on July 14th and were later arrested. They are found guilty for the crimes of terrorism and illegal arms possession.
Nov 8,

2018

COSEP presents a report monitoring economic activities in Nicaragua10 that reveals that between April and Sept of this year 417,000 people have lost their Jobs or have been suspended from their places of work.
Nov 26,

2018

The 62 year-old defender of human rights, Ana Quirós, is arrested and expelled from Nicaragua. Epsy Campbell, the Vice President of Costa Rica, reports hours later that Ana was taken to the border post at Peñas Blancas, where she was received by Costa Rican authorities.
Dec 13,

2018

The National Police without a warrant searches the offices of CENIDH, the Institute for the Development of Democracy (IPADE), the Leadership Institute of the Segovias (ILS), the River Foundation, and Popol Na, all of whom previously had been stripped of their legal status by the National Assembly.
The National Police attack and loot the newsrooms of the communications media Confidencial, Esta Semana and Esta Noche, of the journalist Carlos Fernando Chamorro.

8 The Violeta Barrios de Chamorro Foundation is a civil society organization that works for the defense and establishment of freedom of press and information in Nicaragua.

9 Journalism in the Americas: “Nicaraguan organization reports 420 violations to the freedom of the press in the last six months”, November 7, 2018, available in Spanish at https://knightcenter.utexas.edu/es/blog/00-20318-organizacion-nicaragueense-reporta-420-violaciones-contra-la-libertad-de-prensa-en-los

10 See monitoring of business news of COSEP, November 9, 2018, available at http://www.cosep.org.ni/index.php/comunicaciones/monitoreo-de-medios/6754-monitoreo-de-noticias-empresariales-9-de-noviembre-de-2018

 

Dec 19,

2018

The IACHR reports that MESENI and the GIEI, entities responsible for monitoring the human rights crisis in Nicaragua, are suspended temporarily by the government of Nicaragua.
Dec 21,

2018

GIEI presents in Washington a report that concludes that there is no evidence of a coup, but there was a strategy of repression carried out with the knowledge of high representatives of the Nicaraguan government.

The Police raid the television station 100% Noticias and dismantle the studios and transmission equipment; in addition, they suspend their transmissions, based in Managua. In the operation its director, Miguel Mora, is detained, and the journalist and press director, Lucía Pineda Ubau.

Jan 9,

2019

Rafael Solís, magistrate of the Supreme Court, resigns from his post in that branch of the State, and also his militancy in the FSLN. In a letter sent to Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo, Solís points to the increase in violence and repression against the population and a complete party takeover of the Judicial Branch in Nicaragua.
Jan 11,

2019

The OAS holds an extraordinary session to analyze whether to apply or not the Democratic Charter to Nicaragua in the face of the social and political situation the country is experiencing, while understanding that basic freedoms and citizen rights are being violated.
Feb 16,

2019

The regime of Ortega reports that it had held an encounter with a group of private businessmen in the presence of two prelates of the Catholic Church, in order to “begin a negotiation” on important issues for the country.

 

Feb 18,

2019

Edgard Altamirano López, Judge of the Ninth District Penal Court of Managua, sentences to 216 years and three months of jail the peasant leader Medardo Mairena, who participated in the National Dialogue as part of the Civic Alliance for Justice and Democracy. In the same sentence the peasant leader Pedro Meña is given 210 years in prison, and Luis Orlando Icabalceta 159 years.
Feb 21,

2019

To overcome the social and political crisis that the country is experiencing since April 2018, Daniel Ortega calls for some negotiations to take the place of the National Dialogue.
Feb 26,

2019

The Civic Alliance for Justice and Democracy announces a preparatory session in light of the installation of a negotiating table with the government. In their press release,11 the Civic Alliance explains that their agenda is “(…) the freedom of political prisoners and the re-establishment of freedoms, rights and guarantees, established by the Constitution.”
Feb 27,

2019

A National Dialogue begins with representatives of the government and the Civic Alliance for Justice and Democracy, but without the participation of President Daniel Ortega. A few hours before the start of the dialogue, the government reports that a hundred political prisoners have been released.
March 15,

2019

A second group of political prisoners is freed. Their release happens after the Civic Alliance threatened to abandon the negotiating table that seeks to resolve the social and political crisis that Nicaragua is experiencing.
March 16,

2019

More than 160 people are detained in Managua while they gather to participate in a protest called by the UNAB to demand the release of political prisoners. The people detained are set free after several negotiations carried out by the Civic Alliance for Justice and Democracy, as well as by the Apostolic Nuncio Waldemar Stanislaw Sommertag.
March 29,

2019

As part of the National Dialogue begun between members of the Civic Alliance and representatives of the government of Daniel Ortega, an agreement is signed12 that includes the freedom of all political prisoners and respect for constitutional and citizen rights.
March 31,

2019

UNAB declares itself to be in permanent mobilization and calls for the Nicaraguan population to hold campaigns of “express picket lines13 to demand justice from the government of Daniel Ortega and freedom for people jailed for political reasons.

11 To learn more about the preparation campaign of the Civic Alliance for Justice and Democracy, see the complete press releases published on Feb 26, 2019: Preparing ourselves for the start of the negotiations- in Spanish at (https://www.alianzacivicanicaragua.com/preparandonos-para-el-inicio-de-la-negociacion/).

12 The agreement “to strengthen citizen rights and guarantees” establishes the commitment to comply with at least 10 constitutional principles in a term not longer than 90 says.

13 The “express picket lines” were called by the National Blue and White Unity (UNAB) as a form of protest that protects the safety of the demonstrators, after the National Police prohibited the blue and white protests throughout the national territory.

April 5, 2019 50 political prisoners are released by the dictatorship of Daniel Ortega, who were detained in the La Modelo jail for men in Tipitapa.
April 10,

2019

The journalists Lucia Pineda Ubau and Miguel Mora have spent 110 days of forced enclosure in the El Chipote jail, after having been detained arbitrarily for bravely exercising their profession. Lucía and Miguel live their captivity under inhumane conditions, to which is added a judicial process that has been postponed three times.
May 20,

2019

The negotiations of the National Dialogue between the representatives of the government and members of the Civic Alliance are suspended with the murder in the La Modelo jail of the political prisoner Eddy Montes,14 who is shot by one of the guards.
June 11, 2019 The regime of Ortega and Murillo release 56 political prisoners, among them the journalists Lucía Pineda Ubau and Miguel Mora. Nevertheless, police agents continue detaining youth who participated in the protest demonstrations, which is why there is more than a hundred people detained according to human rights organizations.
July 13,

2019

The 22 year-old student María Guadalupe Ruiz is detained, for having participated in student protests against the regime of Ortega and Murillo. She is currently the only woman who is in jail for political reasons, in addition to the 120 political prisoners who remain in jails in Nicaragua. The regime refuses to release them, in some cases denying they are jailed or accusing them without proof of committing common crimes.

14 See the article: This is how the murder of Eddy Montes happened, according to the accounts of freed political prisoners. Available in Spanish at https://www.laprensa.com.ni/2019/05/21/nacionales/2551494-asi-ocurrio-el-asesinato-de-eddy-montes-segun-los-relatos-de-los-excarcelados-politicos

 

July 31,

2019

The regime officially notifies the Vatican and the OAS of the end of the negotiations, entities that were mediators and witnesses of the process, through which the release of political prisoners is partially fulfilled and the agreement for the restitution of citizen freedoms is completely unfulfilled. The agreements on democratization and electoral reforms are also left without effect; the issue of justice, truth, reparation and non-repetition, as well as their respective mechanisms for implementation, among them the safe return of exiles, freedom of expression, restitution of legal status and assets confiscated from non-governmental organizations; disarming the para-police forces and the full autonomy for universities, municipalities, and regional governments of the Caribbean Coast.

 

 

[1]   Social Communicator and assistant researcher in the Interdisciplinary Institute of Social Sciences (IICS-UCA).

How Did We Get Here?

A number of people have asked me about the sequence and timing of events since April that have led Nicaragua to this moment in time.  With that question in mind, please click on this link for a pretty good timeline synopsis of events to the present.  It may not transport you into the thick of the confrontations, but close enough to smell gunpowder.  It also presents some good resources for reading more about any of the daily events.  The timeline leaves us asking, “Where does it end?  How?  And when?”