Our Response to the Coronavirus Pandemic in the Country
March 20, 2020
The Civic Alliance for Justice and Democracy
Nicaragua, like the rest of the world, is experiencing the coronavirus pandemic. The apathy with which the Ortega-Murillo dictatorship is acting while hiding information and wanting to impose on the Nicaraguan citizenry an environment of safety and normality contradicts any logic or protocol for attention to this issue.
The dictatorship has shown that it does not have a prevention strategy, nor a treatment strategy in the face of coronavirus. The precariousness of the public health system that we have, and the discretional nature of state information does not allow one to know clearly the level of preparation of the Ministry of Health (MINSA). A minimum of preventive actions have been seen on the part of the State.
The regime continues calling for massive activities and gatherings of people, borders are not closed, very little information is provided about the basic measures to prevent the spread to the population, and the medical personnel are not provided the material needed for their protection. A call to society to stay in their homes is needed to contain the pandemic. The schools continue receiving hundreds of children, and the universities and the rest of the public institutions of the country are not applying preventive measures.
The National Coalition demands the following actions of the regime, in agreement with the recommendations made by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the measures taken by the rest of the countries in the world and that have had important results:
- Suspend massive events or crowds of people, of any nature (political, cultural and social).
- Send home on paid leave public and private employees older than 60 years of age, pregnant women and people with chronic or immunological depressive diseases.
- Create a special Program to prevent contagion in State institutions
- Suspend non-essential work in state institutions.
- Authorize access to basic cleaning supplies (soap, alcohol, gel, etc.) to prisoners and people deprived of freedom. Special protection to homes of the elderly and nursing homes.
- Liberation of all valetudinarian detainees. Create a program of protection in the jails.
- Suspend all in person recreational activities within the framework of Holy Week.
- Close centers, commercial malls, bars and recreational places at 9pm, in order to mitigate scenarios of contagion.
- Temporarily close land, aid and sea borders, with the exception of the transportation of essential goods, medicine and food.
- Ensure the daily supply of potable and safe water in neighborhoods and communities
- Eliminate taxes on hygienic and cleaning products and facilitate their importation.
- Speed up import processes for needed reagents and medicines.
- Suspend classes in schools and universities for one month.
- Reduce the rates for water, electric and the price for fuel, in accordance with the reduction in the price of oil, and suspend for three months cutoffs of home water and energy services.
- Extend the collection of property taxes for three months, with rescheduling once the WHO has declared the pandemic ended.
- Ensure that the clinics of INSS are ready for treatment. Ensure transfers of the general budget of the Republic to INSS; to ensure the subsidy of the affiliated workers affected by the pandemic.
- Make the public information from MINSA about the evolution of the pandemic transparent.
- Automatically extend for six months all proof of survival, so that those retired and on INSS pensions do not have to go out to do that paperwork.
- Provide health workers with appropriate physical protection equipment that meets international standards.
- Provide private hospitals and social security clinics with enough reagents and process the tests quickly.
- Temporarily freeze the collection of mortgages, personal loans, credit cards, working capital and entrepreneurial loans to families with people affected by the illness.
- Create a Program of support to businesses to maintain jobs.
To these measures should be added others depending on the context and the need to alleviate specific situations of the health crisis that we face.
This pandemic is happening in the context of a dictatorship, where demands connected to human rights become more urgent. Among them we mention:
- The complete end to repression and full respect for human rights of the Nicaraguan population is an absolute guaranty to exercise the prevention and treatment protocols.
- The right to health and treatment of everyone, without any political discrimination.
- The absolute and immediate liberty of all political prisoners, now in more vulnerable conditions. And the treatment of the overcrowding and unsanitary conditions of all the common prisoners, with a high risk to their own contagion and that of their families.
- The demand for the safe return of people under forced exile and in precarious conditions outside the country.
- The right to access to information so that independent media and journalists are able to inform the citizenry without putting their lives at risk.
From the National Coalition we will create an Emergency Committee composed of professionals and experts in health, finance, economy, social welfare and law so that they might contribute to evaluating the situation of the epidemic, and measures to promote within that framework. We will be offering sectoral and professional recommendations, so that hand in hand with the citizenry, we might be able to prevent and conquer the coronavirus.
Every day is crucial. While the State takes the pertinent measures, the citizenry should remain in their homes to the extent possible, respect physical distancing and frequent hand washing.