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A Police Chief Dies, Covid-19 the Suspected Killer

Family members maintain that he died of heart problems, but he was buried without the normal honors from a police force that backs the official version

The head of Public Safety for Nicaragua’s National Police, Olivio Hernandez, died on Thursday, May 21 and was buried almost immediately. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, this unusual behavior of express burials has awakened suspicions that he was a victim of the virus.

Although family members insist that Hernandez died from heart problems, controversy has arisen from the circumstances of the burial, which was not in keeping with normal procedures for the funeral of a Police Chief. The Police have supported President Daniel Ortega’s line of minimizing the pandemic.

General Police Commissioner and a founding member of the corps, Hernandez assumed his position as Head of Public Safety in January 2019. He had also served as Assistant Chief of Police in the South Caribbean Region.

Hernandez leapt to fame in Nicaragua in 2018, when Ortega elevated him to Head of Public Safety following his decisive participation in armed attacks against anti-government demonstrators. These attacks took place in the city of Masaya in Nicaragua’s Pacific region, after the indigenous community of Monimbo declared itself “Territory Free of the Dictator”. The government assault left dozens of dissidents, including children, dead.

Comments celebrating Hernandez’ death could be seen on social media, as has occurred in cases of Sandinista militants identified as members of the paramilitary who have supposedly died from COVID-19 after participating in the mass activities promoted by the government.

A baseball coach and a priest also among the deceased

Baseball coach Carlos Aranda also died in Masaya on Thursday morning. Aranda was a trainer of the San Fernando baseball team, one Nicaragua’s first division teams.  He had been on a ventilator with symptoms of Covid-19 since the previous weekend, according to sources from the league.

Aranda was one of three San Fernando team members seen for Covid-19, of a total of nine who developed symptoms. Despite this, the baseball league denied the club’s petition to cancel the scheduled game last weekend.

Meanwhile, in Leon, in the northwest of Nicaragua, the Catholic diocese was mourning the death of priest Bismark Acevedo. According the community of worshippers at Telica’s Apostle Santiago parish, where Father Acevedo presided, he had Covid-19 symptoms.

Acevedo was known in Nicaragua as one of the priests who risked their life to save that of hundreds of rebellious citizens, when armed government forces attacked unarmed protestors in 2018.

Official statistics indicate that Nicaragua has had 279 cases of the virus and 17 deaths. The non-governmental “Covid-19 Citizens’ Observatory”, which enjoys greater credibility among doctors and scientists, has reported 1,594 presumptive cases and 351 deaths.

The Ortega regime’s handling of the pandemic has brought criticism, for the lack of restrictions and preventive measures, as well as the scarce and confusing information on the situation in Nicaragua.

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