Nicaragua: National Strike Set for Thursday, May 23
Business associations confirm support for the national strike as a “legitimate form of civic and peaceful struggle.”
A large group of business associations, civil society organizations, mothers of victims of repression, and student movements, among others, formalized a call for a 24-hour national strike, starting at 12:00 a.m. on Thursday May 23rd.
The protest activity was called by the Civic Alliance for Justice and Democracy, which withdrew from the negotiating table with the Government representatives, to demand that Daniel Ortega release of all the political prisoners he keeps in his power.
When reading the statement announcing the strike, Juan Sebastian Chamorro, a member of the Civic Alliance negotiating team, exclaimed, “we are going to strike for the freedom of all” [the political prisoners].
Among the reasons given for calling a strike, the organizers mentioned the assassination of political prisoner Eddy Montes Praslin, on Thursday, May 16, at the La Modelo prison.
Also, the fact that “a large number of political prisoners have been brutally and repeatedly beaten” and that this use of force violates both the human rights of the prisoners and the agreements signed between the government and the Civic Alliance on March 27, 2019.
The Alliance urged employers not to retaliate against their workers who decide to join the strike.
Extensive business support
Before making official the call to strike, various business chambers of the industrial, financial, tourism, commercial, agricultural, export and development sectors publicly announced that they are willing to suspend work to pressure the Government to comply with the commitments acquired at the negotiation table.
The commitments made by the Government are summarized in the release of all the political prisoners and respect for the Constitution in terms of freedom of expression, press, mobilization and demonstration.
“We support the decision of the Civic Alliance, to withdraw from negotiations with the Government, and we support the call to carry out the national strike,” informed the Chamber of Industries of Nicaragua, (Cadin).
The Chamber of Microfinance (Asomif) joined “the clamor of the people affected in this sociopolitical crisis that crosses our country”, reason why it supported the strike call and the Alliance’s abandoning the negotiations at this time.
“We demand that the government comply with the agreements reached at the negotiating table,” highlighted the National Chamber of Tourism of Nicaragua (Canatur), when announcing its support for the decision of the Alliance.
The American Chamber of Commerce of Nicaragua (AmCham) and the Chamber of Commerce and Services of Nicaragua (CCSN) also announced their support, “as it highlights the clamor of the Nicaraguan people, who demand the consolidation of a true State of Law”, indicated CCSN.
Likewise, the Association of Agricultural Producers of Nicaragua (Upanic), the Association of Producers and Exporters of Nicaragua (APEN), and the Association of Coffee Exporters of Nicaragua (Excan), said that Nicaraguans should “remain firm in the civic and peaceful struggle” for their demands.
The Nicaraguan Development Institute (INDE) and the Nicaraguan Foundation for Economic and Social Development, two of the main centers of thought in Nicaragua, joined the Alliance decision for the strike.
The strike announced will be the fifth against Ortega since the crisis began, in April 2018.
The first was on June 14, to force the Government to allow the presence of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (CIDH). The second was held on July 13 to reject the annual Sandinista celebration known as “El Repliegue”.
The third was on September 7, to press for the release of the “political prisoners”, and the fourth occurred on December 20, to demand the departure of the government of Ortega and his wife, Vice President Rosario Murillo.
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