The United States has ordered relatives of Nicaraguan diplomats in Nicaragua to leave the country on Monday due to protests over Social Security reform that have resulted in at least 30 deaths. Washington has also authorized officials who wish to leave this Central American country. In a statement, the State Department has indicated that it “ordered the departure of family members of US Government personnel and authorized the departure of US Government personnel.”
The US has also recommended that US citizens “reconsider” their possible travel plans to Nicaragua, due to protests, which are “unpredictable” and in some cases have resulted in “injuries and deaths.”
At least 30 people have lost their lives and more than 100 have been injured in five days in Nicaragua, where there have also been looting of businesses and damage to public property, in the context of protests unleashed by the reform of the Social Security.
The government of Daniel Ortega repealed on Sunday the reform to try to contain the violence after five days of unprecedented demonstrations, harshly repressed by the police and the Sandinista army and that have left at least 30 dead.
But nevertheless, the tension continues in the environment in Nicaragua, where today there are new appeals for marches. Ortega accepted that his proposals did not have “viability” and created a “dramatic situation”, so he reversed its implementation.
The reform imposed on Wednesday by Ortega by decree reduced pensions by 5% and increased the contributions of companies and workers to rescue the Nicaraguan Institute of Social Security (INSS). The Government intended to raise 250 million dollars (203 million euros).
“The demonstrations typically elicit a strong [police] response that in the past has included the use of tear gas, pepper spray, rubber bullets and ammunition against the participants, and in some cases it has degenerated into looting, vandalism and arson,” You can read it in the note from the US Department of State. The Army is still deployed in several cities of the country, while looting and vandalism are intensifying.
This Sunday, the United States urged a broad dialogue that includes all sectors of society to resolve the current conflict, restore respect for human rights and achieve a “better and more democratic” future for all Nicaraguans.
“The United States Government regrets the loss of lives and injuries suffered in Nicaragua during the protests of its citizens,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement. “We condemn the violence and excessive use of force by the police and others against civilians who exercise their constitutional right to freedom of expression and assembly,” Nauert continued.
Washington also called on the Ortega government to allow journalists to “operate freely and restore all television coverage” and urged Nicaraguan leaders to conduct an independent investigation and prosecute those responsible for the deaths.
President Ortega proposed a dialogue on Sunday, which he invited businessmen and Cardinal Leopoldo Brenes, to “draw a resolution that ensures the strengthening of Social Security in the long term.” With this decision, Ortega hoped to lower the tension in the streets.