International groups invited to document Nicaragua violence
MANAGUA, Nicaragua (AP) — International organizations said Wednesday they have received the go-ahead to travel to Nicaragua to investigate violence that has killed more than 170 people, apparently solving an impasse that halted talks on resolving the nation’s political crisis.
Negotiations between representatives of President Daniel Ortega’s government and opponents seeking his exit from office had broken down after the government did not provide proof that international observers would be allowed to enter, as had been agreed to earlier.
The executive secretary of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights tweeted a photograph of an invitation letter Wednesday. The U.N. high commissioner for human rights also said he had been given the OK. And the president of a prominent business council said the European Union was invited.
“We are grateful for the invitation,” the Inter-American commission’s executive secretary, Pablo Abrao, said via Twitter.
The Central American nation has been rocked since April 19 by daily chaos as protesters maintaining roadblocks and demanding Ortega’s ouster are met by a heavy-handed crackdown by security forces and allied civilian groups.
The violence intensified Tuesday when three people were killed and around 40 wounded in the city of Masaya, according to a non-governmental human rights group. That night two more were reportedly killed and about a dozen wounded in the northern city of Esteli.
According to testimony of those who helped, the wounded were turned away from public hospitals allegedly due to orders from above.
The government has said previously that it has not told hospitals to deny medical attention to wounded protesters.
But the Nicaraguan Medical Association, which makes up 40 federations of doctors and health specialists, has accused some hospitals of doing just that.
The U.S. ambassador to the Organization of American States was in the country for a second day Wednesday and planned to meet with Ortega, representatives of an opposition alliance and members of the Roman Catholic Church, which has been mediating the talks between suspensions. Details of any meetings were not immediately made public.