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Nicaraguan opposition announce strike plans

Sandinista supporters warn action is a bid to derail the government

NICARAGUAN opposition groups plan to hold a three-day strike later this month in what Sandinista supporters warn is a bid to cause disruption and derail government-initiated peace efforts.

Canal 10 Nicaragua announced the strike on Thursday evening, reporting from a paltry gathering in the capital Managua.

Opposition groups intend to try and bring the country to a standstill for three days at the end of August as they bid to overthrow the democratically elected Sandinista government and President Daniel Ortega.

It is not clear what the aims of Nicaragua’s opposition are beyond calls for the removal of Mr Ortega.

The strike is planned for August 22-25. But sources on the ground told the Star that the plans have no real support inside the country, except among the bosses and big business who will close down over the period.

They said: “The opposition is planning to hold a national strike for three days to pressure the government, but in reality it damages the economy of the country.

“There are very few private companies that support this. The Nicaraguan people are tired of this. The opposition want to steal our peace.”

The strike comes as government efforts to rebuild the country after last year’s violence gather pace. 

Vice-President Rosario Murillo announced earlier this week that 6,000 peace commissions have been established across Nicaragua to mend the scars that remain following the Washington-backed attempted coup.

Meetings are held at all levels of the community in an attempt to build bridges and bring truth and reconciliation to Nicaragua.

Violence swept across the country last year after a bosses’ strike in protest at government welfare reforms which would have seen them pay more in contributions to Nicaraguan pension pots.

They favoured the International Monetary Fund (IMF) proposals which would have seen contributions rise for ordinary Nicaraguans as well as an increase in the retirement age.

More than 200 people were killed as armed right-wing gangs set up road blocks across the country.

Sandinista supporters were targeted by the attacks, with the government eventually restoring order a few months later.

Hundreds have been released from prison as part of a government agreed amnesty, despite having committed criminal acts.

They include journalist Miguel Mora, who incited violent attacks on Sandinista supporters and allegedly called for Mr Ortega to be killed. 

Despite this he has been gifted a press freedom award by New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) and recently announced plans to run for Nicaraguan president.

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