Nicaruaguan government, opposition agree to resume talks
14 Mar 2019
Nicaraguan students from the Central American University (UCA) protest inside the university against the government of President Daniel Ortega in Managua. File photo /Agence France-Presse
MANAGUA: Nicaragua’s government and opposition agreed on Wednesday to resume negotiations on ending the country’s long-running political crisis after authorities pledged to release some protesters detained during anti-government rallies.
The talks will resume on Thursday, the government and the opposition Civic Alliance coalition said.
Protests broke out almost 11 months ago, initially against a pension reform before morphing into general opposition to President Daniel Ortega’s iron rule.
A brutal crackdown by security services ensued and left 325 people dead and more than 700 detained between April and October, while thousands of Nicaraguans fled the country.
The opposition accuses Ortega, a former Sandinista rebel leader, of running a corrupt, cruel and incompetent leftist dictatorship in the poor Central American country.
Talks to end the crisis have been intermittent, and they resumed last month after the government released dozens of prisoners. These people have since complained to local press that they face police harassment in their homes.
Then the peace talks were suspended for the last three days over opposition alliance demands that other political prisoners be freed and presidential elections brought forward from 2021 in order to return to the negotiating table.
In the agreement reached on Wednesday the government agreed to free a “considerable” number of prisoners, according to the joint statement.
Earlier on Wednesday eight women jailed in Nicaragua during the anti-government protests suspended their hunger strike, family members said.
The eight began their action on Feb.27 at the start of the latest round of peace talks between Ortega’s government and the opposition alliance.