AP NEWS

General strike slows commerce in Nicaragua

May 23, 2019
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Shoppers make their way through Roberto Huembes market where some vendors decided to partake in a general strike called by the opposition to Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega in Managua, Nicaragua, Thursday, May 23, 2019. The nation-wide strike was called to pressure the government to free political prisoners. (AP Photo/Alfredo Zuniga)

MANAGUA, Nicaragua (AP) — A general strike called by Nicaragua’s opposition to demand the release of political prisoners had a mixed impact Thursday.

Small businesses, some supermarkets and private schools closed in the capital. But pharmacies and gas stations were open. Traffic was lighter than usual, with many private vehicles off the roads, but buses and taxis were circulating as usual.

The government had warned banks they would be sanctioned if they participated in the strike called by opposition coalitions.

A private school attended by some of President Daniel Ortega’s grandchildren was among those closed, though it said that was for security reasons.

Evelia Herrera said she opened her shop in Managua because she doesn’t eat if she doesn’t work.

The strike seemed to be more effective in other cities.

Opposition leaders claimed success, while government officials suggested the strike’s impact was minimal.

José Pallais of the Civic Alliance opposition group said 65%-70% of businesses remained closed and consumption was reduced by 90%, according to preliminary estimates from organizers.

José Adán Aguerri, president of the business council Cosep, called the protest “very successful.”

But Rosario Murillo, Ortega’s powerful vice president and first lady, said, without directly mentioning the strike, that “in all Nicaragua, families carried out everyday activities” such as farm work, education and health care.

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