Nicaragua is back in the news

We remember Nicaragua from the 1980’s, i.e. the “contras,” the “Sandinistas,” and other stories from the Reagan years.

Nicaragua is back in the news because of protests and the government’s reaction to them, as we see in news reports:

Nicaragua has been rocked by a week of protests in which over two dozen people have been killed.

The protests were triggered by tax hikes and benefit cuts meant to shore up the ailing social security system.

On Sunday, President Daniel Ortega said the government would withdraw the pension changes.

But he rejected demands to free detained protesters, withdraw the police and lift some censorship.

The U.S. embassy has moved some employees from Managua as a reaction to the violence.    The State Department has also issued a travel warning.

The violence in Nicaragua is related to President Ortega’s proposal to raise taxes to pay for social services & fund public pensions.   President Ortega did promise new negotiations with the opposition but not much has happened yet.

The international media has been reporting the violence and the death of Angel Gahona, a journalist who was gunned down during his broadcast.  The shooting was caught live on social media.

The violence has closed stores in Managua, the capital and largest city.  Some reopened but shelves were empty because the violence shutdown weekend deliveries.

Finally, the protests have morphed into a lot more than a reaction to tax increases.   Many demonstrators are also apparently protesting against secrecy, corruption and cronyism.

Nicaragua is back on the front pages and it will probably stay there for a while.

What can the U.S. do?   Nothing directly except to criticize the harsh tactics used against protesters.

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