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The demonstrations open cracks in the regime of Daniel Ortega

The president has ruled Nicaragua for 11 years with a blow of decrees, with a strict control of the army and police and aided by the wastefulness of Venezuelan cooperation

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The demonstrations open cracks in the regime of Daniel Ortega

When huge demonstration that took place on Monday led tens of thousands of Nicaraguans to headquarters of Polytechnic University of Nicaragua — bastion of student resistance against government of President Daniel Ortega — and protesters They began to disperse, a group of young people went to Centric roundabout Virgin and set fire to a "tree of Life", one of great metal sculptures planted by streets of country by first lady, Rosario Murillo, and a symbol of power Presidential.

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People were screaming to see metal Monument Burn, which an hour later collapsed with a deep noise on ground. Shouts of jubilation, hugs and dancing. Nicaraguans understood that it was possible to achieve what until recently seemed impossible: to challenge Commander Ortega's authoritarian power to get him to lose control of streets.

This popular awakening translated into unprecedented demonstrations in Nicaragua began a week ago, when president imposed by decree a reform of Social security system in a coma after more than a decade of bad management. The population began to convene in central points of Managua, but popular discontent spread throughout country. The government's response was brutal: a repression that leaves at least 25 dead.

Since Daniel Ortega returned to power in 2007, he has ruled with a hard hand, forging an alliance with private sector, silencing critics and developing populist management towards most disadvantaged sectors.

One of first measures of Ortega was to ensure obedience of army and National police headquarters, so that, at stroke of decrees, reduced civil control of se institutions and established a direct relationship with security controls.

Ortega reformed military code by eliminating re-election ban for head of army, thus breaking periodic change that took place every five years at Army headquarters and destroying military institutionality. The same thing happened in police, where he eventually named a family member, Francisco Diaz, as strong man of institution, although Chief was first Commissioner Aminta Granda.

Employers offered m stability and facilities for doing business, in exchange for not meddling in ir political decisions. The consensus government was created, in which everything related to economy was decided behind closed doors with business chambers. The country recorded one of Central America's highest growth rates, with an annual average of 4.5%. Nicaragua does not have violence problems of its neighbors, with a homicide rate even lower than that of Pacific Costa Rica. The country became a paradise to attract investors, while Ortega silenced critical voices, locked up opponents, violently attacked any demonstration against him and gave open letter to army and police to assassinate potential rivals.

It was what happened from 2011. Ortega imposed a constitutional reform to eliminate padlocks that forbade him re-election, he guaranteed full control of electoral Tribunal and imposed electoral fraud as a State policy. Since 2008 Sandinista Front has won elections with high rates of support, in a country where votes are counted to son of president.

Great inequality

Then armed groups began to form inside against government. The army branded m immediately from criminals. The strategy was to eliminate m with utmost precision. The most dramatic chapter of this silent war occurred last year, when military attacked one of se armed groups. Between dead re was a teenager and a child. The bodies were buried in a mass grave, in front of Nicaraguan stupor. Similar facts have been repeated without an official investigation or responsibilities are established.

Meanwhile, president, with oil support of Venezuela, gave aid to poorest, who saw in him a sort of messiah in a country with deep inequality. Ortega controlled poorest areas with se handouts, kept businessmen happy, and gave opposition and middle class unhappy because of regime's growing authoritarianism and stifled by rising cost of living, unemployment, and fear of Express mselves. The huge Venezuelan cooperation – more than 4 billion dollars disbursed since 2007 – also served to control media, form companies under state, which benefited from juicy contracts, and create a new oligarchy: Orteguista bourgeoisie.

Entrepreneurs also benefited from this oil waste, until Venezuela went into crisis and money began to dwindle and Nicaraguan exports fell to Chavez government. After 11 years of wastefulness, Government had to start making drastic decisions. Social security reforms aroused a long-accumulated discontent and unleashed unprecedented protests that have opened cracks in a regime that until a week ago seemed unshakable.


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