Nicaragua’s national dialogue for peace began Tuesday as the country hopes to end the violent unrest ignited by some right-wing groups.
"After hearing the roar from the vast majority of society and the gravity of the situation in our country, and even though the circumstances for dialogue aren’t ideal, we are announcing the talks," said president of the conference, Cardinal Leopoldo Brenes.
The conversations will start at 10:00 a.m. local time at the Our Lady of Fatima church in Managua.
The Episcopal Conference will act as a mediator and witness to the talks but says it does not have all the solutions for the particular questions that may arise. However, says the cleric, that the proposals that best respond to human dignity and the common good are the best to be translated into political action.
It’s expected that, in addition to the Catholic church, representatives from student associations, business associations, and the government will also be a part of the peace dialogue.
"We hope that this dialogue structurally takes up the topic of the institutions of the country with the objective to lead the way to democracy," said the archbishop of Managua in a press conference.
Brenes asked all sectors - the government and all of society - to back the dialogues and maintain an environment of respect and tolerance and, moreover, only hold demonstrations that are peaceful. He asked all members of society to avoid provoking violence.
Peaceful protests began in April demonstrating against the government’s announcement to increase workers’ and employers’ monthly contribution to the state social security system. Demonstrations were immediately hijacked by more right-wing factions that were calling to get rid of President Daniel Ortega. Dozens of people have died over the past month during the manifestations.
Ortega backed down from his initial proposal and massive demonstrations remained peaceful until the past several days when anti-government protesters set fire to a municipal building in the city of La Concepcion and attempted to set fire to a Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) party headquarters in the same city.
Ortega announced today that the Inter American Commission of Human Rights (ICHR) will investigate the deaths of several demonstrators that have occurred over the past month.
"The government of Nicaragua expresses its consent that the Commission … carries out its work with the objective to observe in loco the human rights situation in Nicaragua in the context of what happened on April 18" when protests initially broke out.