After a police raid, a Nicaraguan cartoonist has found sanctuary in the United States

Positive stories about Latin American immigrants and the United States are difficult to come by right now. But at least Pedro X. Molina and his family have found a happy ending.

Molina is an award-winning political cartoonist, whose scathing satire has been syndicated all across the world. Originally from Nicaragua, Molina was on staff at the Confidencial when their offices were raided and ransacked by police in December 2018. Like most dictatorial leaders, Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega was none-too-pleased with the Confidencial for doing such terrible things as, well, reporting the truth about his brutal and inhumane actions—you know, like ordering a violent police raid on journalists who dared to criticize him. Read the rest

Fearing for their lives, 60,000 people have fled Nicaragua

Hundreds of Nicaraguans who took to the streets over the last eight months to protest President Daniel Ortega's corrupt government have been forced into hiding and, in some cases, to flee the country for their own safety. It's the end result of the Nicaraguan government's crackdown against protesters who voiced their outrage over Ortega's plans to gut the nation's social security system.

From The New York Times:

...many people in this desperately poor Central American nation now live in a bleak new reality. They have exchanged their routine lives as lawyers, engineering majors, radio broadcasters and merchants for one of ever-changing safe houses, encrypted messaging apps and pseudonyms.

They are hiding from an increasingly authoritarian state that is methodically tracking down those who participated in the large-scale and often violent protests against the government of President Daniel Ortega and his wife, Vice President Rosario Murillo.

“They are hunting us like deer,” said Roberto Carlos Membreño Briceño, 31, a former legal clerk for a Nicaraguan Supreme Court justice, who gave up his law license and fled this year after his bosses saw a photo of him at a protest. He now lives in hiding on a ranch in Costa Rica with 50 strangers, including a ballet dancer who goes by code name “The Eagle.”

Instead of listening to the concerned voices of his constituents, Ortega, paranoid, autocratic shitbird that he is, declared that the uprising had nothing to do with anything he was doing. Rather, the protesters were in the street, acting on behalf of "well-financed political parties" who wanted to toss him and his cronies out on their ass as part of a coup. Read the rest

Nicaragua moves to silence independent media and NGOs critical of government

Since protests over changes to Nicaragua's social security system began last April, over 300 people have been killed and, at a minimum, 500 people have been incarcerated for their part in calling out Presidential Daniel Ortega's corrupt self-serving bullshit. There's a lot to be angry about in the Central American nation.

Non governmental organizations have been doing what they can to bring the wrongs committed by the Nicaraguan government to light. In a bid to shut NGO cake holes, Ortega and his cronies have begun to strip the outfits of their legal status.

From the Associated Press:

Nicaraguan police have raided the offices of five nongovernmental organizations and an independent media outlet, alleging that they participated in seeking the government’s overthrow.

The raids were the latest strong-arm actions taken by the government of President Daniel Ortega. Since popular street protests destabilized his government in April, Ortega has reconsolidated power and methodically pursued perceived enemies.

Police on Thursday forced open doors and carried off documents and computers from the Nicaragua Center for Human Rights, Segovias Leadership Institute, River Foundation, the Center for Communication Research and the Foundation for Municipal Promotion and Development.

The Nicaraguan government and police have had much to say about the raids or the closures of the NGOs--when you're rolling with a dictatorship, you're not accountable to anyone...until the people rise up en masse to topple your government, I guess. Oh, and that 'independent media outlet?' It was called Confidencial: a joint that produces a website and two news programs. Read the rest

Nicaragua outlaws its citizens' right to protest

We haven't talked about Nicaragua for a while. But things still aren't going well down there, so let's get back on that shit.

According to the Financial Times, Nicaragua's national police released a statement on Friday that declared demonstrations--of which, in Nicaragua, there are many--to be illegal. The day after making this declaration, riot police were employed to break up a gaggle of protesters prepping for a march. It's just another step down the country's short, bloody road into becoming a fascist, autocratic state.

Nicaragua's been in turmoil since last April, as protesters took to the streets to first sound off about some pretty shitty reforms to their pension system and other important issues such as a lack of government response to imminent threats from forest fires and the nation's eroding infrastructure. As the protests fell on deaf ears, the protesters started to demand the resignation of the nation's oh-so-corrupt president, Daniel Ortega. Once this happened, it didn't take long for the peaceful protests to turn violent, thanks to the actions of the police and masked paramilitary types loyal to the Ortega government. Defenseless students were fired on whilst taking refuge from the police in a Catholic church. Academics and other individuals deemed to be a "terrorist threat" to Ortega's rule have been carted away by paramilitary units. Hundreds have died in the months since these clashes began. The Nicaraguan economy, which was never all that strong to begin with, is circling the drain as investment in the country has been scaled back in the face of its uncertain future. Read the rest

Nicaragua's Daniel Ortega: from hero to Nero

You either die a hero, or live long enough to see yourself become the villain. Sadly, for the people of Nicaragua, Daniel Ortega, once a Sandinista and a trusted emissary of change to his people, chose the latter.

It’d be flippant, under most circumstances, to use a quote pulled from a comic book movie to describe the doings of an autocratic dictator, but the desperate, comic book villain death grip that Ortega has held onto the seat of the Nicaraguan presidency these past few years makes it feel right, somehow.

Painting himself as a good fella that's simply trying to hold his country’s shit together, Ortega, the police elements loyal to his government, and the paramilitaries under his sway have been responsible for at least 450 deaths since this past April when peaceful protests broke out over the Nicaraguan government’s plans to reform the nation’s social security system. Under Ortega’s new scheme, the poorest people in a nation full of poor people would have been forced to pay more for their pensions while receiving less. The protests soon turned violent. Then, they turned deadly. Currently, Ortega, who claims that the violence in his nation has come to an end, is living behind barricades and armed guards. His people want him gone.

The Financial Times has, hands-down, the best explanation on why this is, that I’ve run across:

Juan José is digging a latrine on the small, 8m by 25m plot the government of Daniel Ortega has given him to build a house.

Read the rest

23,000 refugees have fled violence in Nicaragua

Last week, Nicaraguan president and dictator-in-training Daniel Ortega had the gall to declare that the violence and protests that have plagued his nation since April had come to an end. His nation's doing just fine! At the time that this bullshit dribbled out of his cakehole, protests against government corruption, cronyism and the government’s slow role into fascism were still ongoing. To date, approximately 300 people have died as elements of Nicaragua’s police and paramilitaries loyal to Ortega have attempted to put a bloody end to the growing voice of dissent and disgust for his administration.

Not everyone in the South American country wants a piece of this action.

According to Al Jazeera, upwards of 23,000 Nicaraguan citizens have fled to neighboring Costa Rica, seeking refugee status, due to the escalating violence surrounding the demand that Ortega step down from power and his refusal to do so.

From Al Jazeera:

William Spindler, UNHCR spokesman, told reporters in Geneva on Tuesday that an average of 200 asylum applications are being lodged every day in Costa Rica.

"Besides the 8,000 who have filed asylum claims, and the 15,000 who are waiting to do so, thousands more have arrived in Costa Rica but have not yet contacted authorities there," added Splinter.

Panama, Mexico and the United States also saw a rise in claims by Nicaraguans in the first half of this year, but the numbers in these countries are still in the low hundreds, according to the UNHCR.

Costa Rica and Nicaragua, which share a border, have bickered over land rights and environmental issues for years. Read the rest

Nicaragua: Ortega blames civilian murders he ordered on a 'coup-mongering satanic sect' (he's lying)

Attacks by paramilitary forces against civilians continue in Nicaragua, for the third consecutive month. Dictator Daniel Ortega blames a “murderous, coup-mongering satanic sect” for the months-long popular uprising against his government. Read the rest