Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Dialogue Fail in Nicaragua

Late last week there was at least some hope that dialogue in Nicaragua could show some progress. In particular, the two sides were talking about finding international mediators. The opposition wants the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, and the European Union. They thought they had agreement, but when they asked the government to show the invitations, there weren't any. The Foreign Minister said there were "bureaucratic" reasons they weren't sent.

After reneging, Rosario Murillo said she wanted peace and reconciliation. She also said there were "malignant spirits" in Nicaragua and everyone needed to believe in Jesus Christ. She made clear that she wants everyone's spirits to be "full of light."

Apparently international mediators are not full of light because they aren't being allowed in. This story is starting to sound familiar. Fraudulent elections, opposition protests, splintered opposition, attempt at dialogue, failure at dialogue. I assume U.S. sanctions are not fall behind. Increasingly in Nicaragua, just as in Venezuela, the big question is how long the government can keep the army on its side.

However, I think one difference is how much more intense the anti-government actions are. Protesters are blocking large chunks of Managua, though elsewhere as well. It's at the point where you can go online for updated maps on where the tranques are. My sense is that there is more intense domestic pressure on Daniel Ortega than on Nicolás Maduro. At the same time, there have been periods of such pressure in Venezuela and the opposition could not keep it up as the government simply dug in and waited them out.

If you haven't already, listen to the podcast I did with Christine Wade last Friday on the crisis.


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