Civic Alliance Press Release on Withdrawal from Negotiating Table and Call for National Strike

The killing of Eddy Montes has had several repercussions: 1) The majority of the business association have agreed on a National Strike for Thursday May 23, 2019, demanding that the government release all  political prisoners and implement the agreements already achieved in this round of negotiations; 2) the Government released 100 additional political prisoners, which now makes a total of 322 released, according to the Civic Alliance, and 336 according to the government; 3) 22 of the 35 members of the Permanent Council of the OAS approved a resolution on May 21 demanding the liberation of political prisoners, respect for human rights, and institutional reforms needed to “free, fair, transparent and legitimate elections, in accordance with international standards”.

What follows is a translation of the Civic Alliances Press Release calling for the release of all political prisoners and calling for forming a consensus around a national strike, issued on Monday May 20, 2019.

[See original Spanish at https://www.alianzacivicanicaragua.com/es/nos-retiramos-de-la-mesa-hasta-la-liberacion-de-presos-politicos-y-llamamos-a-paro-nacional/ ]

WE WITHDRAW FROM THE NEGOTIATING TABLE UNTIL THE FREEDOM OF POLITICAL PRISONERS, AND WE CALL FOR A NATIONAL STRIKE

May 20, 2019

The Civic Alliance for Justice and Democracy withdraws from the Negotiating Table until the Government releases from jail, prior to their definitive liberation, the political prisoners from the reconciled list in the hands of the International Committee of the Red Cross. This decision is based on the following facts:

On March 27, 2019 the Civic Alliance signed an agreement with the Government for the freedom of prisoners who would have the support of the International Committee of the Red Cross (CICR). That agreement stipulated, among other things:

  1. That prior to the release from prison, the Government promised to observe and respect international standards and norms for the proper and humanitarian treatment of prisoners.
  2. The CICR would facilitate a process of their release in accordance with the reconciled list of prisoners.
  3. The Government committed itself to the definitive liberation of all political prisoners by June 18, 2019 at the latest.

Related to these three points, we list the following violations:

  • The political prisoner Eddy Montes Praslin was killed while in the custody of the Penitentiary System, and a large number of prisoners were seriously wounded and beaten this past Thursday May 16, the Government not only has not complied but has violated the agreement.
  • In spite of the CICR being present since March 29, 2019, not one release has happened with the support of this international organization. The fact that the CICR is in the country for nearly two months and not even one political prisoner has been released nor freed within the framework of the agreement with this organization, is another sign of the derision of the Government toward the Nicaraguan people.
  • On April 29, the International Witnesses and Accompaniers [Papal Nuncio and representative of the OAS] presented to the delegations the proposal for doing a progressive release from jail during the month of May, a proposal that was initially accepted by the government, but which they then retracted.

In light of this and the proximity to June 18th, the date for the definitive liberation of all the political prisoners, and in light of the little progress so far in the Negotiating Table because of the non existent political will for compliance on the part of the Government, the Civic Alliance demands signs of political will on the part of the Government to fulfill the signed agreements, that would allow a peaceful and democratic outcome to be constructed for the current crisis.

It is precisely because we believe in negotiation and the importance of compliance about what is agreed there, that we decided to return only when the political prisoners from the entire reconciled list have been released, without compromising the definitive liberation of all the political prisoners by June 18 of this year.

Likewise, to make known to the Government the demand of broad sectors of Nicaraguan society for the liberation of the political prisoners and compliance with the already signed Agreements, the Civic Alliance calls on the small, medium and large business owners, merchants and workers, as well as self employed people, social sectors and society in general to build a process of consensus to carry out a National Strike and other civic actions in the coming days.

We consider that in these key hours it is important to lay aside selfishness and ambitions for power to take a step toward the search for peace, justice and democracy.

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