A national dialogue between Nicaragua's government, civil society groups, and the country's opposition may resume Friday following a meeting between Daniel Ortega and bishops from Nicaragua's Episcopal Conference late Thursday.
In an official statement, Cardinal Leopoldo Brenes said: “We have submitted the proposal that collects the sentiment of many sectors of Nicaraguan society and expresses the yearnings of the majority of the people.”
While information about the contents of the proposal are yet to be released, and the government hasn’t issued an official statement, the Episcopal Conference said Thursday’s one-hour meeting with Ortega occurred in an environment of “serenity, frankness, and sincerity.”
According to the bishops, the president’s response to their proposal will be evaluated in the plenary of the national dialogue to assess the possibility to re-establish negotiations.
Talks between the government and opposition groups, including businesspeople and university students, ceased in late May. The opposition and the United States blamed government repression for the failure of the talk ignoring overwhelming evidence of protesters committing acts of arson on public buildings, attacks on governments workers and attacks on ruling party supporters.
The Nicaraguan political crisis began in mid-April when protesters took to the streets in opposition to social security reforms that sought to overcome the system’s financial crisis by increasing contribution by both employees (0.75 percent) and employers (3.5 percent) to avoid raising the retirement age.
President Ortega withdrew the reform and issued calls for dialogue to avoid a spiral of violence. However, those attempts were unsuccessful, and opposition groups issued calls for Ortega to step down, a demand government officials say amounts to a coup.