The commitment by the repressive communist administration of Daniel Ortega to dialogue with the Catholic Church-backed opposition is “insincere,” the human rights group Amnesty International determined this week.
According to Deutsche Welle (DW), the Catholic Church has abandoned its “traditional solidarity” with the left — Ortega’s Sandinista Revolution — to support the oppressed opposition.
Since [anti-Ortega protests began in] April, bishops and priests have taken to the streets of Nicaragua alongside the victims of violent attacks in order to put an end to what they call “massacres.” Long a pro-government entity there, Church representatives have become increasingly vocal against the Ortega government’s crackdown on protests/ In recent weeks it has become more directly involved as a negotiator and strongly aligned with the opposition.”
Since the demonstrations against the Nicaraguan dictator erupted in April, the regime’s crackdown on protesters discontent with its policies has already left over 200 people dead and over 2,000 in prison.
On July 2, Erika Guevara Rosas, the Americas director at Amnesty International, declared:
The government of President Ortega’s pretense at engaging in dialogue remains part of its policy of repression, as demonstrated by the episodes of violence over the weekend. Nicaraguan families should not have to keep counting the dead day after day. The results of the violence have been terrifying: at least four dead, 20 arrested and more than a dozen wounded. These unacceptable events must be duly investigated and adjudicated by the Nicaraguan courts, or by courts of other states under the principle of universal jurisdiction.”
There is no doubt that the installation of the Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts (GIEI) of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights brings hope to the thousands of victims of state violence. The Nicaraguan authorities must ensure that the right conditions are in place for the GIEI’s work to contribute to the truth, justice and reparation to which the victims are entitled.
The pro-opposition Catholic Church has taken the role of mediator.
Cardinal Leopoldo José Brenes Solorzano of the Nicaraguan capital of Managua told the Catholic News Agency on Tuesday, “As pastors we are supporting a common cause. As pastors we don’t want to form a political party; no one aspires to be president of the country or have a position in the government. We agreed to be part of the national dialogue as mediators and witnesses, and if tomorrow this gets resolved, we’ll be happy.”
The Church’s mediation of dialogue between the Ortega administration and the opposition is “a service which we want to offer for the governability and democratization of our country,” he added.
The human rights violations by the Ortega government against those who want to remove him from power are reportedly increasing by the day along with the fatalities.
“Instead of ending the repression and guaranteeing the human rights of the entire population, the government of President Ortega seems intent on adding cases to the long list of those that the GIEI should investigate. It’s essential that state agents and armed groups who act with the consent of the state put a stop to their bloody strategy,” Rosas from Amnesty International noted.
“The population must be able to exercise their right to freedom of expression without fear of losing their lives,” she added.