Photo: Reuters retrieved

Statistics are necessary, and sometimes, tragic.

For Nicaragua, numbers have become the obligation to set down the record of what’s happened in the last 100 days. How many people have died? How many have been wounded? How many have been arrested? How many are in prison? These are the questions that those involved in the conflict try to answer. However, there’s one that everybody shies away from, the one Nicaraguans dare not ask:

Will I be the next?

On June 27, NGO Nicaraguan Pro Human Rights Association (ANPDH) issued a report saying that 448 people had died since April 18, in clashes between protesters and paramilitary groups. They also report 2,830 people wounded and 595 missing.

That was the context for Raynéia Lima, a medical student from the American University (UAM) who was gunned down in her car when heading home. Lima was Brazilian and had been living in Managua for six years, she would’ve graduated in three months. She arrived in Nicaragua without speaking a word of Spanish and, little by little, earned the trust and love of classmates and friends. The versions offered by the Nicaraguan national police and the Brazilian diplomatic corps are contradictory. The former says Lima was stopped by armed civilians who shot her; the latter says local investigations haven’t cleared up the details.

The opacity makes it hard to collect information at the moment all across Nicaragua, not to mention that “death wagons” (4×4 trucks packed with armed Ortega supporters) lurk the streets, cracking down on any kind of protest or journalistic effort. Citizens have resorted to groups in phone applications and social media, to stay tuned on what’s happening. Meanwhile, the government denies any wrongdoing on its part and avoids mentioning the statements issued by the Inter-American Court on Human Rights (IACHR) and the United Nations High Commissioner on Human Rights, confirming evidence of “murders, extrajudicial executions, possible torture and arbitrary arrests” in Nicaragua.

These situations are recorded in thousands of videos and pictures reaching the press daily, showing several areas of Managua still blocked with barricades, protesters armed with stones, molotov cocktails and anything they can throw against paramilitaries carrying live-ammo. Ortega supporters have also looted catholic churches, after the president said in his July 19 speech that “the bishops and church representatives have been fomenting violence in our country.” Many temples have been left in shambles, their seats, altars and religious figures vandalized.

The ANPDH says that this is the most intense crisis the country’s seen since 1980, and the evidence isn’t just in the death toll, but in the economy. Most of Nicaragua’s cities look desolate during high commercial traffic hours. The local Stock Market cautioned that this year, the Gross Domestic Product will drop by 3% and Gerardo Argüello, stock market representative, told EFE that economic growth could be between 3% and 5%, because “we don’t know how this situation will end. Companies are working with a significant drop in sales.”

Meanwhile, the Chamber of Private Companies denounced how the government is withholding their assets and Citizen Power Councils (a local version of Venezuelan Communal Councils) keep a constant record of “idle properties and land” that could be expropriated “for the people’s benefit.”

Little by little, the country’s daily life has been derailed to a constant fight for survival. Schools finished their academic year two months ahead of time, and universities are working with minimal staff (mainly because students aren’t going to class). Many Nicaraguans have sought asylum in Costa Rica and the United States.

In the end, it doesn’t matter who leaves or stays: all citizens are victims of a crisis without short-term solution.

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18 COMMENTS

  1. Who are these “Ortega supporters ” who man the “death trucks” and seem to be abundant and well armed enough to quash what is obviously a way more aggressive opposition then the ass lickers we have here? Are they like our colectivos who were armed and are consistently bribed and brainwashed? Are they the majority?

    • We fought, we died, we got tortured, we lost. YOu asshole.

      Where you even here during the protests? unarmed people vs armed military is not a conflict you´ll easily win, and we lost. Stop blaming the people that fought. Asshole

      • I was referring to the actual politicians who represent the official opposition political parties. Not the protesting citizens who protested and were beat down. Yes I was here although no major protests where I am. But family in Caracas told me how bad it got. Not laying the blame on the people, I understand they were sold out and beaten down to a cowering whimper or killed like oscar.

        I suspect we all learned that this isn’t our fight after all. The people that voted for this government, the 5 million in the hills around Caracas have to come streaming down in protest before change will naturally occur here.

        • Sorry for the insult, now that you cleared it up.

          I really get tired of people saying that we didn’t fight, we did, and they fucked us up bad.

          Just read the other comments, two guys saying we are pussies and that we should start murdering people in their homes… easily said from another country…

      • The next step is simple, yet morrally difficult. Finding the identities of your opponents and going after their families and places of work.

        They are already doing it with the help of the gubmint against you.

        I look at all the pointless parades and marches and see ZERO progress. VZ showed how vocal they were, but also how pathetic they had become.

        Start showing some initiative and go into the homes of your attackers and do what needs to be done in the middle of the night.

        I have more respect for the person with the machete than the one with the protest banner.

        You are delusional if you think the filthy gringos are going to lift a finger. You let the snake back into office after it was removed the first time.

        • I don’t believe the Gringos are going to storm in and save us. Did I say that? I simply said that we lost.

          And armed guerrilla warfare will do nothing to solve the issue. Get your head out of your ass.

      • I believe we communicated before.

        You didn’t fight. You stomped your feet, waved your placards and cried like pussies. You ran around shouting slogans and threw rocks, then hid behind your Mammy’s skirt and drank beer at night.

        Oscar Perez fought. You whinged and whined. ASSHOLE.

          • FREE YOUR OWN GODDAMN COUNTRY! Why should anyone else risk their neck to do something Venezuelans won’t do for themselves? Your people voted for them. You made a deal with the Devil and NOW YOU DON’T LIKE THE TERMS? Too bad! We’ll know you are serious about taking back Venezuela when the colectivos are afraid to come out of their barrios.

            I have been involved in Venezuela since I met my future bride back in 1986. My first visit to Venezuela was to ask permission from her uncles to marry her (1988).

            In 2003, we evacuated the first of many relatives from Chavismo. I have been back every year since 1988 up until 2013, when Chavismo went off-the-rails bat-shit crazy. In early 2016, we got the last of her relatives out. We personally have invested innumerable hours and over $500,000 in personal wealth to do this over the last 15 years.

            And this “brave soul” gave 20 years of his life to the US Army, the Army Reserve and the National Guard, flying in and out men in women who have saved the bacon of countless ingrates such as yourself. (including Just Cause, Panama 1989)

          • “And this “brave soul” gave 20 years of his life to the US Army, the Army Reserve and the National Guard, flying in and out men in women who have saved the bacon of countless ingrates such as yourself. (including Just Cause, Panama 1989)”

            You got paid for that and will receive many benefits until you die. You didn’t give shit. You traded something for something.

            Can’t say the same for those who protested out of conviction.

          • S…he got paid? He risked his life to get paid?

            Man, you’re clueless.

            This is why if the Gringos ever moved in, the VZ military runs like dogs.

            THEY’RE just in it for the money and when things are safe and easy.

          • @S

            We all get paid to do our jobs. That isn’t extraordinary in the real world. What things are like in South Florida, who knows? I guess maybe they want extra consideration for getting out of the bed before noon and putting on a shirt? Yeah, I got paid to fly around for 20 years. It was awesome. But, doing the right thing, showing some appreciation and sacrifice isn’t for everyone.

            Do I give a shit about what happens to Venezuela anymore? Not much. My in-laws are out, and we are done throwing our good money down that particular rat hole. We have washed our hands of it, as have they. They are now assimilating into very different cultures.

            Protesting Chavismo (the way the oppo did 18 months ago) isn’t doing anything more than some precious leftist snowflake would do about plastic straws in the college cafeteria. “End the hegemony of plastic tubes! Down with Monsanto/DuPont/(fill in the blank company)! End the icky petrochemical oligarchy in our non-GMO
            organic fair trade $6 coffees!”

            Boo fucking hoo.

            Let me know when those opposed to Chavismo in Venezuela grow a pair of BALLS.

          • @ Elguapo

            You will get the same level appreciation like everyone who contributes to society.

            Teachers for educating our youth.
            Firefighters for putting out fires.
            Businessmen for creating jobs
            Doctors for saving lives
            Construction workers for building houses that we live in.
            etc

            Also, you don’t seem to understand the logistics of bringing down a government. Money and food is needed to keep people on the streets. The geography of Caracas makes it easy to block all supply routes. Just how you get paid with cold cash and food, protestors need the same to be able to sustain themselves.

            It’s the same reason guerillas need to traffic drugs or kidnap people. Money is necessary for whatever cause you want to move forward.

            Watch a documentary called “Maidan” on Ukraine and how their protests worked.

            The 2014-2017 Venezuelan protests failed because the fake opposition that finally revealed themselves completely and the regimen cracked the distribution network for food and supplies to keep people on the streets. The biggest mistake made was trusting the fake opposition. During the 2014 Ukrainian Revolution, the protestors choose to tell their opposition leaders to fuck off and almost lynched them.

            I attribute that to Venezuelans have never really suffered throughout most generations until now while the slavic have lived painful experience after painful experience.

            @ Ira

            Most soldiers don’t risk their lives or ever see combat. Soldiers were treated pretty badly during the Vietnam War (unfairly I might add) and there has been an overcorrection to the point where soldiers are treated with extreme praise.

            Obviously the Venezuelan would run like dogs.

    • The FSLN faithful have been mucking about in their 4×4 trucks, armed to the teeth and enforcing their version of Castroism since at least 2011. They weren’t there when we were in Nicaragua in 2009, but all over the place in 2011. Castro was NOT going to let Ortega lose the next (or any other) elections again.

      Che/Castro/Mao 101. “How to consolidate your power between election years.”

  2. So if they come after your families, and they already are by some accounts, what is your next course of action?

    March some more? Protest a bit more loudly? Write more blogs and Twitter updates?

    Ooh… A Facebook post is really going to scare someone.

    At least the contras had some actions.

    Not one gringo life for another LA socialist uprising. Never. Not worth the headaches … Nothing good comes from helping those who will not help themselves.

    I support guerilla freedom fighters. Not protesters and dancers in the streets with foam mascots on their heads.

  3. One method maybe effective.
    Get the names of all the Nicaraguan national police and the goons in the death wagons and publish them. All use anonymity as protection from prosecution. They will then know that they have been identified and connected to the crimes against citizens.

    This may not stop the killing and wounding of protestors, but the criminals will have to answer to family, future prosecutors, and God. One less layer of protection against prosecution.

    • An excellent idea. However, the GNB and PNB have to think there is something to it. You can’t publish the names and addresses and then not have anything happen. When they are afraid to put on their uniforms, then you will know it is working. When the colectivos won’t come out of their barrios, it will be working. When Maduro/Delcy/Jorge/Elias won’t show their mug in public because their protection isn’t there anymore… its working.

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