The Stream

Nicaragua: Is it the end for President Ortega?

Student-led street movement threatens former revolutionary’s power.

On Tuesday, May 1 at 19:30 GMT:

It was an uprising that started with a controversial change to Nicaragua’s pension plan. Thousands of Nicaraguans, led by university students, began calling for President Daniel Ortega to step down. Social media lit up with anger. And thousands of people took to the streets.

The change to the social security measure was revoked under pressure by Ortega, but not before violence had broken out and a media blackout was put in place. The police crackdown was immediate and many people were killed. Officially, the toll remains at 10, but rights’ groups say that number could be closer to 40. Among the dead was journalist Angel Gahona who was killed while broadcasting live on Facebook. The UN Human Rights Office has called for an investigation into the deaths.

Ortega himself led a coup to overthrow a dictatorship in 1979 and returned to power in 2006. He has since served three consecutive terms. Over the years Ortega has consolidated his power, installing allies and family members in all branches in government and the military, and aligned himself with the Catholic Church. The political opposition has been largely eliminated and term limits abolished. Last year, he made his wife Rosario Murillo the vice-president.

Ortega’s influence, though, seem to be waning. Last week, senior members of the church and military came out in support of the students.

On Tuesday’s show we’ll discuss the latest. What does the future of Ortega and Nicaragua look like? 

Read more:

Here’s what’s happening in Nicaragua – AJ+
The violent end of Daniel Ortega’s decade of quiet – Economist

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