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See the news Nicaragua: one year after protests erupt, Ortega clings to power | World news from Source Guardian on 16/04/2019 has been updated to day with the theme on feedixo.

Nicaragua: one year after protests erupt, Ortega clings to power | World news

Juana Lesarge’s three sons had packed their bags and borrowed $300 for their escape when police and hooded gunmen surrounded their grandmother’s home in the town of Carazo on Nicaragua’s Pacific coast.“They were preparing to flee the country,” said Lesarge, 48. “At that time everyone was trying to get out. We knew our children were in danger. The dictator had ordered his forces to kill.”Nicaragua's toppling 'trees' strike ominous note for Daniel Ortega's rule Read more The crackdown in Carazo was part of a nationwide operation geared towards crushing the protest movement that engulfed Nicaragua a year ago. Demonstrations broke out on 18 April, sparked by fiscal reforms slashing social security. Fuelled by a lethal police response, they spread across the country, flaring up into a nationwide civil uprising demanding the resignation of the president, Daniel Ortega.Lesarge’s sons, all musicians, wrote songs praising the revolt. As protests intensified, they helped establish roadblocks on the highway cutting through Carazo, built to pressure the government into making concessions.But Ortega, a wily political operator who has dismantled Nicaragua’s democracy since returning to power in 2007, was determined to stay – whatever the cost.With protests too widespread for police to control, and the army officially neutral, he assembled gangs of gunmen drawn from the ranks of party loyalists. Working with police, they swept towns and cities, spreading terror with an arsenal of military-grade weapons.On 8 July, they turned their attention to Carazo. It would prove to be the bloodiest day in the whole crisis.“They came dressed in black with hoods over their faces and guns in their hands,” Lesarge recalls. “People ran to hide in their houses and peered through the windows, scared to be seen but desperate to know what was happening to their children and grandchildren.”The assault left 35 dead, including two police officers. Lesarge’s sons survived and took refuge in their grandmother’s house. But they were tracked by state forces, who smashed the front door, beat them to the floor, put guns to their heads, and dragged them off to prison.FacebookTwitterPinterest A woman confronts riot police blocking a street during a protest against Daniel Ortega’s govenrment in Managua on 23 September 2018. Photograph: Inti Ocon/AFP/Getty Images Now, a year since protests began, Comandante Daniel retains a firm grip on power. But he presides over a country sliding towards social and economic meltdown.Between 325 and 535 people were killed as government forces crushed the protests. 80,000 Nicaraguans fled into exile. Hundreds of doctors were dismissed for disobeying orders to discriminate against protesters, debilitating the country’s health system.A growing tourism industry which contributed 6% of GDP in 2017 has atrophied. Lesarge’s sons are among more than 600 protesters languishing in jail, where ex-inmates report widespread use of torture.“As punishment, they tied our hands and feet behind our backs and cut our circulation until our arms and legs were inflamed,” says Levis Artola, a student activist who was...

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See the news Nicaragua: one year after protests erupt, Ortega clings to power | World news from Source Guardian on 16/04/2019 has been updated to day with the theme on feedixo.