They demand that Ortega respond to the agenda proposed by the bishops for the democratization of the country
National Strike Called for Thursday in Nicaragua
Public employees are called upon to stay home [on Thursday] in response to the “repressive government” that has “trampled on their dignity.”
The main business chambers of the country called Tuesday for a 24-hour national strike on Thursday, June 14th, as an “extreme measure” to force President Daniel Ortega to respond to the proposal for the democratization of the country presented by the bishops of the Episcopal Conference. They also demand he stop the wave of repression and violence from paramilitary groups throughout the country, under the protection of the National Police.
The announcement of the national strike was made by the President of the Higher Council of Private Enterprise (Cosep), Jose Adan Aguerri, with the support of representatives of the Civic Alliance for Justice and Democracy, who negotiate a solution to the crisis in the framework of the National Dialogue.
“This is a civic, national and peaceful work stoppage that covers the entire country and all economic activities, except those related to the preservation of life and basic services for the population,” said the statement read Tuesday afternoon at the Cosep headquarters.
The members of the Alliance urged employers to respect their workers’ decision to join the national strike and, in addition, called on state employees to “massively not show up for their jobs,” given that “their dignity has been trampled by a repressive government.” If most public sector workers stay home, “they will not be able to retaliate against you,” the members of the Alliance urged.
The work stoppage will start Thursday at zero hours and end that same day at 23:59 hours. Juan Sebastian Chamorro, executive director of Funides, said that the strike is an extreme option to respond to “extreme conditions,” in reference to the violence unleashed by Ortega against hundreds of thousands of Nicaraguans who are peacefully demonstrating throughout the country.
“Given the lack of initiative to continue the dialogue, we have decided to call a strike,” said Chamorro. “We send an unequivocal message so that there is a change and the democratization of the country,” he added.
The call for the national strike comes a day after it was announced that President Daniel Ortega offered directly to the Government of the United States an advance of the elections as a measure to stop the crisis, which has left 146 dead, according to the verified count of the Nicaraguan Center of Human Rights (CENIDH).
That proposal was presented to the bishops and the Civic Alliance that participates in the National Dialogue by US Ambassador Laura Dogu and Caleb McCarry, a delegate of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee who visited Nicaragua over the weekend, revealed Medardo Mairena, Coordinator of the National Council for the Defense of Land, Lake and Sovereignty.
McCarry was sent by Republican Bob Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, after talks with the State Department, “in order to accompany and support the National Dialogue led by the Nicaraguan Bishops’ Conference,” the embassy said in a statement.
McCarry and Dogu met over the weekend with the bishops – mediators of the dialogue – and with the members of the Civic Alliance – which brings together students, business people, peasants, academics and representatives of civil society – to inform them that they supported the proposal of the Catholic Church “to end the violence and be able to advance the negotiations” in search of a way out of the crisis.
Asked about Ortega’s offer to Washington, the president of Cosep said that “we are not going to discuss actions if we do not have a response from the government. We have to wait for that answer. If there is no such proposal (from Ortega to the United States) it is ruled out,” said the business leader.
After the announcement of the national strike, many supermarkets, convenience stores, restaurants and other businesses closed at six o’clock in the afternoon of Tuesday in Managua, while at gas stations there were long lines of cars to buy fuel. The call for a national strike was one of the main demands of hundreds of thousands of Nicaraguans who participated in huge marches called at the national level.