Managua (AFP) – The chances of negotiations to find a way out of deadly turmoil in Nicaragua took a heavy blow after President Daniel Ortega used force to crush the protests and called the mediators bishops Catholic "coup d'etat". Ortega, a 72-year-old former guerrilla who is considered increasingly autocratic, has taken a tough stance in three months of street protests demanding his departure.
Police and paramilitaries were deployed to fire students and seize a town Ortega on Thursday criticized bishops who since May negotiated talks between him and the opposition , accusing them of supporting armed "satanic terrorists" – an extraordinary charge in the south of the capital that has become a hotbed of opposition. a poor country in Latin America where Catholic reverence is profound.
His goal was clear, the opposition and the analysts said: to discredit the bishops in order to ensure that the talks reach a "Ortega has denigrated the bishops to create his own dialogue, that he can control, "said a representative of the opposition at the talks. Azahalea Solis
"What he does, is disqualify bishops mediation because he does not want to negotiate in a space where the subject of democratization must be raised," an analyst Political leader of the Movement for Nicaragua group, Jose Antonio Peraza, told AFP
– Support in ruins –
Four rounds of talks began on May 16, but the two sides made little progress. The last full session of negotiations took place more than a month ago. then, the loyalist forces intensified their attacks on the protesters.
Last week, snipers and gunmen targeted university students who had taken refuge in a church in Managua. This week, paramilitaries and police surrounded and, after a six-hour battle, took control of the center of Masaya, Nicaragua's third-largest city became a bastion of anti-Ortega demonstrations
The goal appeared to be to impose Ortega. He spoke Thursday in Managua on the occasion of the 39th anniversary of the victory of the Sandinista revolution that he led.
Ortega was elected leader in 11 years in 1979 before losing the 1990 elections. After being re-elected president in 2007, he began to get rid of political opponents by piling up courts and electoral bodies in his favour.
Although intimidated by his strong man's tactics, Ortega won applause by keeping the violence in his country far below most other Latin American countries, and maintaining his position. a pact with the business sector to ensure economic stability.
This nail polish collapsed in April when cuts to the short – run social security system quickly turned into popular unrest. Ortega and his wife – and vice president – Rosario Murillo
– US mulls sanctions –
Since then, the number of people has climbed and business leaders have abandoned Ortega to join protesters, unions, rural groups and the clergy against their use of violence.
Ortega's frustration with the bishops was apparent on Thursday when he said, "I thought they were mediators, but no, they are in bed with the coup plot." "
Nicaraguan Cardinal Leopoldo Brenes told Canal 100% Noticias that he was" meditating "on Ortega's accusation, adding that" we are keen to to continue the dialogue, but we will discuss it. "
Without mediated dialogue, it was difficult to see how a path could be found from the crisis in Nicaragua
the demand that the elections scheduled for 2021 be postponed to March of next year
"The problem is that the economic crisis will worsen and he will not be able to govern like that. to 2021, "said a sociologist, Oscar Rene Vargas.
The Organization of American States condemned the crackdown in Nicaragua and supported the call for early elections
" The United States will to do everything so that the United States Ambassador to the OAS in Washington, Carlos Trujillo, told AFP that "all options were on the table," said Trujillo, questioned about the possibility of a US military intervention. At this moment, no. "
New American sanctions against Nicar The Ortega government" must resume dialogue, "he added." When his government accuses mediators of being terrorists, it makes it difficult to return to the negotiations. "
Although Ortega made sure to keep the trade intact with the United States, he regularly used the same rhetoric of the left shared with Venezuela.The President Nicolas Maduro will accuse the America's "imperialist" interference in his country.
On Thursday, he accused the United States of financing the "coup" against him and declared: "Our decisions do not come from Washington."