At the National Dialogue’s table in Nicaragua, it was agreed to stop repression and blockades in the streets

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Source: Resumen Latinoamericano / The Dawn News / May 22, 2018

After 8 hours of discussion behind closed doors, the various sectors that participated this Friday in the second session of National Dialogue agreed on a truce of 48 hours starting on Saturday May 19th, which includes the cessation of police and clashing forces’ repression against peaceful demonstrations, and the lifting of barricades and blockages by the civil society to ensure free mobilization.

“All the parties agreed to carry out a truce on 19th and 20th May which compels the government to withdraw its police and force encampments and sympathizers”, specifies the statement read by Leopoldo Brenes, the president of Nicaraguan Episcopal Conference (CEN), also the mediator and witness of the process.

The civil society “must combine efforts to facilitate better conditions for dialogue, normalize the transit and continue with same better environment on Monday May 21st”, the day the dialogue will resume and the fulfillment of these agreements will be assessed.

On the issue of justice, the parties highlighted in the statement the presence of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (CIDH) on the dialogue table, “as an investigating institution that favors the clarification of facts and truth as a fundamental right of the people, with the objective to get a solution to the country’s crisis.”

The government, private enterprise, students, universities, civil society, workers, rural population, evangelical churches and indigenous communities, participated on May 18 in the second session of National Dialogue, which started 2 hours late because of the late arrival of the governmental delegation.

A positive day

Juan Sebastián Chamorro, the executive director of Nicaraguan Foundation for Economic and Social development (FUNIDES) and one of the representatives of the private sectors in the dialogue, assessed that this second meeting was positive because the cessation of repression was agreed on.

According to Chamorro, the truce was a proposal by the bishops of the Episcopal Conference. With regard to the issues, he said that a “joint agenda” could be discussed between all the parties.

“The discussion that happened the whole day had to do with the democratization of the country, the security and the investigation of CIDH” he said.

The president of the Superior Council of Private Enterprise (CONSEP), José Adán Aguerri, said that they hope “to see the country moving in peace”, in reference to the activities that happened this weekend in the commemoration of first month since the beginning of protests.

With respect to the truces, Aguerri highlighted that there is an agreement between all of the sectors “to make efforts to permit the passage of vehicles in order to guarantee resupplying, so that in cities there is fuel, food, the transport can run and the producers can get their products”.

Medardo Mairena, on behalf of the peasants, said that on their part they will guarantee the free mobilization, “but this doesn’t mean that the blockages are going to disappear”. He said that there are other blockages in the country which have been emerged in a self-organized way; this is why he called to complete with the truce agreements that comprise the civil society.

The responsibility

Jean Carlos López, from the University Alliance present in the dialogue, highlighted that they agreed to lift the barricades placed by students around the Universities, in reference to the Polytechnic University of Nicaragua (Upoli) and National Autonomous University of Nicaragua (UNAN).

Monsignor Silvio José Báez, the bishop of Immaculate Conception Cathedral, Managua, assured that at the table he saw “the government has the major responsibility because it is not only the National Police but also is other forces: the Juventud Sandinista, the paramilitaries and the mobs”.

The government, according to Báez, has promised to stop all type of violent demonstrations by the forces related to government.

“For this weekend the government has agreed not to exercise any type of repression against the civil population, that has agreed to a peaceful demonstration”, he explained.

Later, through his Twitter account, Báez stated that the National Dialogue just begun and “will not be too long”. “The maximum that could be achieved today was to create an environment of non-violence for the Nicaraguans and to guarantee non-repression and freedom to peaceful demonstrations”, he wrote.

Switzerland is satisfied with the dialogue

Switzerland joined the countries that say they welcome “with satisfaction” the beginning of the Dialogue in Nicaragua.

“From Switzerland’s perspective, a serious and broad base dialogue on society is fundamental to a peaceful and just solution to a crisis” highlighted the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) in Switzerland in a statement.

The European country called on the Nicaraguan authorities to respect the human rights and to ensure the liberty of expression and of assembly of all citizens, in accordance with national and international right.

“Switzerland laments the acts of violence of the last few weeks in Nicaragua and expresses its condolences to the families of the dead and wounded. The investigation and judicial review of these events, especially the investigation of deaths, are important steps towards peace and reconciliation,” added FDFA.

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