Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega has committed to a meeting with bishops from the Episcopal Conference hoping to relaunch the political dialogue, which seeks to end the violence that has plagued the country since mid-April leaving several dead.
The meeting will take place Thursday in Nicaragua’s presidential house, also known as the House of the Peoples.
An official statement by the Episcopal Conference said they will discuss “important subjects for the homeland like justice and democracy, always necessary for peace, to value coexistence and promote dialogue.”
On May 30, the government and the opposition agreed to resume talks mediated by the Episcopal Conference, but these attempts failed as armed protesters continued to attack government officials, Ortega supporters and public buildings.
Protesters attacked and burned public radio stations, a new baseball stadium, and several other buildings, including a credit union.
Two days later armed protesters intercepted health workers and destroyed two of their vehicles and equipment used to fight vector-borne diseases such as dengue and malaria.
According to Health Minister Sonia Castro, “the supply of healthcare around the country, medications, vaccines, and materials for medical care and treatment of fractures has been delayed due to the difficulty of transport."
The government has allowed the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights and the Organization of American States to investigate the recent violent events, and agreed to create an Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts to shed light on deaths during the protests.
These commitments were part of the opposition’s demands to the government. However, the opposition has not fulfilled any of the state’s requests, namely ceasing roadblocks and violence.
The Nicaraguan political crisis began in mid-April when protesters took to the streets in opposition to proposed social security reforms that sought to overcome the system’s financial crisis by increasing contribution by both employees and employers to avoid raising the retirement age.
Employers would have faced a 3.5 percent hike while workers a 0.75 percent hike.
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.