Students Push to Oust Nicaraguan President Ortega as Death Toll Rises Amid Bloody Police Crackdown

At least five people were killed over the weekend in Nicaragua amid escalating anti-government protests that have engulfed the country since mid-April. More than 110 people have been killed since widespread demonstrations to oust Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega began in mid-April, when his government announced plans to overhaul and slash social security. The protests, and the government’s bloody repression, mark the biggest crisis since Ortega was elected 11 years ago. In Abuja, Nigeria, we speak with Alejandro Bendaña, former Nicaraguan ambassador to the United Nations and secretary general of the Nicaraguan Foreign Ministry during Sandinista rule in Nicaragua from 1979 to 1990. In Managua, Nicaragua, we speak with Mónica López Baltodano, a human rights activist who is on the front lines of protests. We also speak with Stephen Hellinger, president of The Development Group for Alternative Policies. 

NERMEEN SHAIKH: We turn now to Nicaragua, where at least five people were killed over the weekend amid escalating anti-government protests that have engulfed the country since mid-April. More than 110 people have been killed since widespread demonstrations to oust Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega began in mid-April, when his government announced plans to overhaul and slash social security. Amnesty International has accused the Nicaraguan government of using, quote, “pro-government armed groups to carry out attacks, incite violence, increase their capacity for repression and operate outside the law.”

AMY GOODMAN: But supporters of President Ortega have blamed the opposition for much of the violence. Foreign Minister Denis Moncada has accused the opposition of pushing for a soft coup. Thousands have been injured, hundreds have been arrested in the demonstrations, including a Mother’s Day march where government forces opened fire on demonstrators led by the mothers of the victims last week. This is Nicaraguan Center for Human Rights President Vilma Nuñez, speaking…

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