The center of the focus of the protest of the most recent days in Nicaragua were two religious universities, as the statement of the Sandinista Front says:
“It is worth noting that the most belligerent universities were: the Central American University (UCA), of the Jesuits; and the Polytechnic University (UPOLI), owned by a Protestant church based in the United States.”
In the UPOLI, the counterrevolution has been concentrated and the “Gran Prensa Internacional” now appears headed by the Colombian and former CNN en Español chief, Patricia Janiot. When she and her colleagues appeared at the UNAH (National Autonomous University of Honduras, Un. Publ.), which has resisted and been taken over by the 80,000 students on several occasions in protest against repression by the Army and Cobra Comandos, militarized police that repress popular protests in Honduras since the coup d’état in June 2009.
In Honduras, approximately 40 people have been killed, according to the opposition, in protest against the alleged electoral fraud on November 26, 2017. The State Department, which is now concerned about the people of Nicaragua and whose spokesman yesterday declared that the US is going to intensify the sanctions against Nicaragua, that Department was the first country that recognized the fraudulent electoral result.
The Sandinista Front’s statement clarifies without any place for error that the fight that mobilized the youth in the UPOLI and the UCA was in support of employers who refused to agree to an arrangement for social security and retirement with the government and unions. The businessmen wanted to support the proposal of the International Monetary Fund or eliminate the right to a retirement completely. Was that the demand of the students? All that ended, as the CIA script dictated, demanding the resignation of Daniel Ortega and the popular government.
FSLN statement on the events that took place in Nicaragua
Receive our revolutionary greeting. We want to share with you information about the events that have occurred in our country these days.
As is known, we were attacked by a very violent offensive that was about to set the country on fire in what was a kind of generalized guarimba, but unlike in Venezuela, the violent acts of protest and other actions were not confined to certain areas, but were everywhere, more in the style of the uprisings that occurred in the Middle East.
It is important to point out that as you know, the right-wing political parties in Nicaragua do not even have the strength and organizational capacity required to provoke such a situation, but obviously once they were created, they took advantage of it to obtain political revenues.
But before continuing, it is important to refer to the background of the matter. Social security in Nicaragua has been one of the aspects in which we have achieved the most in improving the living conditions of the people. The amount of benefits of the insured and the coverage of said benefits to the population increased exponentially with the return of Sandinismo to power in 2007, which caused a critical economic situation in the Nicaraguan Institute of Social Security (INSS), which is the State institution in charge of this issue.
Faced with this situation, the IMF and the private company organized in the Higher Council of Private Enterprise (COSEP), asked to apply the typical neoliberal measures in this matter: raising the retirement age (in Nicaragua it is 60 years) and the amount of necessary weeks to access it (750 for normal pension and 250 for those in retirement age have not reached the first amount, which did not exist before the return to power of Sandinismo in 2007, even in this case, the approach of the most neoliberal radicals was to eliminate the pension completely). In response, our government responded with a resounding rejection of both the IMF and COSEP. Instead, the option chosen was to increase the contributions of workers and employers, and establish a contribution for retirees, including those who receive the reduced pension. This decision had to be made by breaking the consensus with the private company for the first time, which is part of our model of consensus and alliances between government, workers and entrepreneurs.
According to the reforms that our government decided upon, the increase in workers’ contribution was from 6.25% to 7% (increase of 0.75%), employers from 19% to 22.5% (increase of 3.5%) and retirees of 0% to 5%, which was the most controversial issue, but they were contributing the least, and in return it was going to increase health coverage and other benefits for them.
Another measure was to eliminate the ceiling to pay social security, which was previously set at C $82,953.22, that is, those who earn more than that do not include in the percentage of their contribution to Social Security the rest of their income beyond that amount. With the reforms, everyone would pay according to their total income. This is especially sensitive for employers and beneficial for workers, since one way to plunder the INSS has been for employers to name their closest relatives in the highest positions in their companies with mega-salaries to obtain great benefits and Luxury pensions upon reaching retirement age.
The reaction of those who manifested themselves initially against the reforms was as if these had been the typical neoliberal reforms applied in other countries, and that we were rejecting adopting the ones we have just explained.
The protests were initiated and carried out by university students, especially from private religious universities, subsidized by the State. At a certain moment they acquired a violent character, with barricades on the Pan-American highway and other actions of the kind, and when wanting to restore order, the police were attacked with homemade mortars, very popular in Nicaragua since the struggles against neoliberalism led by the FSLN
It is worth noting that the most belligerent universities were: the Central American University (UCA), of the Jesuits; and the Polytechnic University (UPOLI), owned by a Protestant church based in the United States.
As a counterpart and faced with the violent escalation, the Sandinista Youth was mobilized, organized in the popular neighborhoods and state institutions, and there were more violent clashes. The escalation was increasing and then, surprisingly, residents of the popular neighborhoods joined.
The next level was the generalized protests in several points of several cities, which was accompanied by assaults and fires of representative local Sandinista and State institutions, and houses of Sandinistas, as well as looting of supermarkets and warehouses, among them, one that kept all the medication of the insured. In these criminal acts there were those who called people in poor neighborhoods and then threw them into looting.
The state workers mobilized to defend their institutions, making night watches, which had excellent results, highlighting the courage of INSS workers, who did not allow violent anti-reform groups to penetrate their facilities.
The police acted prudently, but it was impossible to avoid repression scenarios, since it is their nature and the destruction of the country could not be allowed. Even at the height of the events, the Army had to be mobilized to guard the institutions.
As a result of the clashes, but especially among anti-reform protesters and pro-reform protesters, there were around twenty-five dead, including policemen, a journalist from Channel 6 (Sandinista), several young people from the Sandinista Youth and university students participating in the protest. As in other experiences (the case of Venezuela), the right uses these dead to exacerbate the mood against the government and the police.
No political, social or union organization claimed responsibility for the protests, although they were publicly supported by COSEP, some leaders of the Catholic Church and the parties of the right (the same ones that denied the workers their rights when they were in government).
Despite the apparent lack of direction of the protests, it is worthy to bring attention to the fact that there was perfect coordination, synchronized actions of the same type everywhere, as if something had already been prepared, ready to be activated when the conditions were right. This has something to do with the military culture of Nicaraguan society, but undoubtedly there is a prepared format, which in our case was especially aggressive, possibly due to the characteristics of solidity and stability that our process has presented up to now and which is being restored.
In his first appearance, Commandante President Daniel Ortega announced the restoration of tripartite negotiations between government, workers and businessmen, to review the reforms. In his second appearance, the Commandante announced the repeal of the reforms to create more favorable conditions for dialogue, which begins today with the participation of the government, workers, private enterprise and the Catholic Church, whose incorporation was a requirement of both businessmen as well as students.
It is important that Commandante President Daniel Ortega in his second appearance was accompanied by businessmen representing foreign investors in Nicaragua, thus giving a signal of strength and stability to national and international investors.
At this time the violence has stopped and only small foci are maintained without major impact, and the Sandinista forces have gone on the offensive. For its part, the people, without political distinction, have spontaneously organized to confront the looting.
Our report so far.
International Secretariat, FSLN.
Note: This is a leaked letter sent by Ana Margarita Vigil*, president of the MRS, (a vile and blind opponent of the Sandinista government) to Luis Carrion Cruz, also of the MRS, where he probes how to infiltrate the student movements, especially to convince UNEN [the Union National of Students of Nicaragua]. Dona Vigil has excellent relations with the US Embassy and the Democratic and Republican parties. He made an alliance with the ex-contras to boycott the 2016 elections.
The Nefarious Letter:
LUIS CARRION CRUZ
Date: April 22, 2018
Don Luis, I send you this written note because I thought it was not convenient to send it to you by Telegram. I spoke with Luis Alfredo (Blandón, MRS?) And he explained to me that he spoke with those of the UNEN [the National Student Union of Nicaragua]. We gave him the points we had talked about so they could make them their own, but they were reluctant and said that at 7 p.m. they would meet, so I decided not to insist. The idea of Felix (Madariaga, MRS?) to put two between them was great, but they are against having Monica and Edipcia belligerence, so we have to consider another idea to use them without them realizing for our own interest to call the national strike.
General Hugo Torres is of the idea that we speak with Monsignor Silvio Báez, so that through him, without the UNEN boys knowing, we can influence what interests us, both in the points raised in the document and in what We spoke of yesterday.
If necessary, I think you have to offer money and support for whatever you need, Laura would have the money ready so that through Luis Alfredo or Felix you can get it if necessary. There are some who accept it.
* ANA MARGARITA VIGIL, president of the MRS, with two years of scholarship in a university in the United States, frequently met with Rosa Eliana Lethinen, Republican deputy, daughter of an Army officer of the former Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista at the time of the revolution. Later employed by the CIA.
(April 18, 2018 – NGO funded by the United States pay US $ 3150
to MRS leader for “field work student logistics”)