Nicaragua has not appeared in world news so much recently, but unfortunately that does not mean ‘all is well and peaceful’ here. The government continues pretending that all is back to normal because there are no protests anymore. But those who follow the social media know that the reality is different.
There are no protests anymore, because people need to apply to the police if they want to organize a demonstration. That permission is never given. And if you protest without permission the police will be there in no time and you risk being put in jail. The current joke is that ‘if you needed the police in the past, no amount of phoning them would work; now you simply protest and they are there for you within 5 minutes’. Independent TV channels and critical programmes are no longer on air. At least 50 journalists have escaped the country and many cover news about Nicaragua from abroad via YouTube.
NGOs that work in the area of human rights, democratization and empowerment have been forced by the government to close down and their legal status has been withdrawn. Unlawful courtcases against protesters continue. In court protesters are often branded as terrorists by fake witnesses, and are at risk of receiving prison sentences of 30 years or more. The economy of the country suffers because of the political crisis. Economists say that government plans to fill the financial gap will only deepen the crisis.
The latest news is that a US representative had a meeting with the Nicaraguan president. A delegation of the European Union was allowed into the country and was free to talk to several groups of people, including prisoners. The president was also prepared to talk to the EU mission. The big surprise last Saturday was that there had been a dialogue between the president and a group of most influential businessmen, including representatives of the Roman Catholic Church. The dialogue will continue on 27 February.