After 11 years of selective repression, the FSLN government attempted to silence hundreds of thousands of Nicaraguans who rejected the reforms to Social Security imposed on them.
The blows meted out to protesters by the so-called Sandinista Youth ushered in a wave of violence that left a number of wounded on April 18, 2018, the day the citizen rebellion exploded. The propaganda images of the Sandinista Youth delivering zinc roofing and food packages before the government’s television cameras were a thing of the past.
4/18/18: At the beginning of the crisis, groups sporting the Sandinista Youth t-shirts went out on the streets to repress the protests against the Social Security reforms. These shock troops, under the protection of the National Police, were given free rein to beat up and rob demonstrators.
The same thing occurred in the outer neighborhoods and departments. The so-called Structures of Citizen Power or Committees of Sandinista Leadership served as multipliers of hate, accusing and punishing those who didn’t share their opinions.
The Ortega government armed its militants and ordered the National Police to shoot to kill. The order was “we’ve going in with everything we’ve got”. In an attempt to squash the social protest, more than 300 people were killed according to human rights organizations.
4/18/18 – Together with the groups from the Sandinista Youth, extremely violent motorcycle mobs were also there with their face covered by their motorcycle helmets. During these protests, they progressed from beating the demonstrator with sticks and pipes to shooting guns at those protesting. /25/18 – Officials of the National Police at the entrance to the ancient El Chipote interrogation jail. This was the response received by family members who were seeking information on those who were missing in the context of the protests against the FSLN government.
The riot squad and the paramilitary acted in conjunction with the National Police. On occasion, armed civilians would be seen giving orders to groups of police. They began to seed terror among the population for the cruelty of their acts. These groups were allied with the repression and had received the blessing of Daniel Ortega.
6/4/18 – Police Chief Ramon Avellan was at the forefront of the repression that left dozens of demonstrators killed in the city of Masaya.
These are the faces of the repression – the coercive arm of a regime that has placed its bets on quashing anyone who dares to protest. One of the pillars sustaining a failed state, which has been backed into a corner by international pressure, social discontent and an economy heading for collapse.
7/9/18 – Several Catholic bishops of Nicaragua traveled to the city of Diriamba, together with Cardinal Leopoldo Brenes and the Vatican Representative Waldemar Stanilaw Sommertag, to rescue nine people who had taken refuge in a church in that city after the paramilitary took over on July 8, 2018. Sandinista sympathizers and masked people surrounded the church, forced their way in, and physically and verbally attacked the bishops and accompanying reporters. They stole and damaged the cameras of national and international reporters. 7/9/18 – The FSLN utilized the Sandinista militants to mount a show of popular support for the government. 7/19/18 – Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo, the presidential couple and the principal figures responsible for the repression exercised by the state since the protests began in April 2018. 7/18/18 – Pro-government paramilitary groups, responsible for assassinations committed during the “clean-up” operations to demolish the roadblocks put up by protesters in different cities of Nicaragua. 9/2/18 – FSLN shock troops. These elements usually kept their faces covered and used firearms or zip guns against the Blue and White marches. 9/2/18 – It’s common to see civilians on motorcycles giving orders to the National Police during operations. 9/13/18 – Officers in charge of the campaign to suppress marches. Hundreds of police blocked passage along the Central American Avenue during the “We’re Winning” march, in September 2018. 9/13/18 – Hooded men under the protection of the National Police. Their t-shirts identify them as representatives of official FSLN media platforms, such as the digital site Barricada. They’re recording the demonstrators while staying close to the motorcycle mobs. 9/16/18 – Police Commissioner Fernando Borge has been at the forefront of several operations to repress the blue and white marches. He appears in the photo during the “Taking back the Nation” march in Managua. 9/16/18 – An agent of the National Police´s Direction of Special Operations during the “Taking back the Nation” march in Managua. 9/23/18 –FSLN shock troops and the National Police operate in conjunction to repress the Blue and White marches. 9/23/18 – FSLN paramilitary forces use state resources to mobilize, employing firearms, zip guns and walkie-talkies to attack the Blue and White marches. 10/14/18 – National Police Special Operations agents detain a woman for protesting. 10/14/18 – A group of police detain two protesters after the National Police announcement that marches can’t be held without previously requesting permission. 12/15/18 – Police and Special Operations agents occupying the property and installations of Confidencial. 12/15/18 – Officials directing the assault on Carlos Fernando Chamorro and the rest of the Confidencial personnel outside the Plaza del Sol in Managua. 12/15/18 – Special Operations officers lash out at journalists accompanying Carlos Fernando Chamorro. 12/15/18 – In the assault on journalists outside the Plaza del Sol the police utilized nightsticks, stun bombs and rifles with rubber bullets. 12/17/18 – In addition to directing the aggression outside the Plaza del Sol, this official was at the forefront of operations outside the Managua Courthouse, during the presentation of the Habeus Corpus appeal filed by the Promedia and Invermedia companies. 3/16/19 – A taxi driver is detained in the Centroamerica roundabout and violently arrested by the National Police during the call to march for the liberation of the political prisoners. The police militarized the city of Managua to arrest all those who came out to demonstrate. 2/23/19 – Commissioner Juan Valle directing an operative outside the Metrocenter mall against protests being held inside the shopping center. 3/30/19 – A member of the motorcycle groups from the FSLN, protected by officials of the National Police, uses a “slingshot” to shoot projectiles at demonstrators inside the Metrocentro mall. 3/30/19 – FSLN militant German Davila Blanc shot into in the midst of a Blue and White demonstration inside the Metrocentro shoppping mall. He was disarmed and beaten after wounding at least three people. 3/30/19 – The protest titled National Sit-in was repressed by the National Police when the demonstrators wanted to leave the shopping center to continue their protest. Later, an FSLN militant took out a weapon and wounded at least 3 demonstrators. 4/17/19 – The FSLN has created different communications platforms such as Revolucion and Barricada that attend the Blue and White protests backed by a large police deployment in the zones where demonstrations have been called for. The material they record is generally used to identify demonstrators and to develop the official government discourse.