On Tuesday the political situation in Juigalpa was so tense that we had to decide to close the activities club for the rest of the week. We hope next week the situation will be back to normal so that we will be able to welcome our compañeros again.
On 15 May all shops closed and everybody, except for the protesters, stayed off the streets. The unrest that started in the capital a month ago had leapt to Juigalpa. The riot police were around and a confrontation with peaceful demonstrators seemed imminent., especially those who raised the barricades that had cut Juigalpa off from the rest of the country, Farmers in particular had raised barricades to stop traffic in and out of Juigalpa, to add strength to their demands for reform and for a halt to violence by police and paramilitary groups. It had a big impact on daily life, because shops were no longer supplied, and neither buses nor private vehicles were able to get in or out of the town. As in other towns, also in Juigalpa, Roman Catholic priests played a pivotal role in preventing violence. They were ready to negotiate and placed themselves between riot police and demonstrators. Although the riot police did not accept it just like that, the campaign of the priests was successful: no blood was shed.
For our community home we stocked up on emergency supplies of food and drink and candles etc. Jonathan, who is autistic, has had a difficult week as he is frustrated by not being able to go outside for his routine activities and by the fact I had to cancel our planned trip to Managua to stay with a friend there.
Yesterday the national dialogue started, led by the Roman Catholic Church. Many people were somewhat put out by the president’s starting position in the negotiations. On Friday the first official meeting will take place based on an agenda jointly prepared by the participants.
Nicaragua has disappeared from the headlines in the international press. But this doesn’t mean that the potential for more conflict has gone. Demonstrations still occur daily. Nicaragua is shaking on its foundations. Oh Nicaragua, Nicaraguita …