By the end of the third week of January, independent doctors confirmed that the number of infections and hospitalizations for Covid-19 continued to increase in different departments of Nicaragua.
The Observatorio Ciudadano (Citizen Observatory) reports 90 new cases of coronavirus and twenty deaths in the past week. For its part, the Ministry of Health continues to maintain an underreporting of the tragedy, with only one death per week.
The increase of coronavirus infection has become notorious in the hospitals Alemán Nicaragüense, Velez, Paiz, Sermesa, and Vivian Pellas, located in Managua.
2. Cosep will have a dialogue with Ortega if he complies with specific requirements
The president of the Superior Council of Private Enterprise (Cosep), Michael Healy, announced that the business chambers would consider an economic dialogue with Daniel Ortega’s regime if the latter complies with the March 2019 agreements and carries out an electoral reform endorsed by the opposition.
The 2019 agreements signed during the National Dialogue included the cessation of repression and the reestablishment of public liberties in the country, as well as the release of all political prisoners and the definitive closure of their cases.
Healy also mentioned that if there is no political settlement there will be no economic stability, and therefore they expect the electoral reform to be endorsed by the Organization of the American States and the European Union.
3. Life imprisonment and reforms to the Nicaraguan Penal Code approved
The Ortega Assembly approved the reform to article 37 of the Political Constitution in the second legislature, which includes life imprisonment for those who commit hate crimes.
With this, Ortega’s government completes the trident of punitive laws which began to be approved in 2020 and which includes the Law of Foreign Agents and the Law of Cyber Crimes.
Likewise, the Orteguista deputies approved a reform to the Nicaraguan Penal Code and to the Integral Law Against Violence Against Women to include the same penalty, although the opposition sectors pointed out that the reforms do not define what a hate crime is, so its application is at the discretion of Daniel Ortega.
4. Drug trafficking crime fabricated against former councilman of Masaya
The former councilman of Masaya, Benjamín Gutiérrez Collado, who was arrested last January 13, is being tried for allegedly having committed crimes of drug trafficking and illegal carrying of weapons.
His family maintains that the crimes are fabricated as retaliation against the former councilman because he joined the April 2018 protests, despite having been elected by the Nicaraguan Resistance Party (PRN), in alliance with the Sandinista Front.
Gutierrez was benefited by the Amnesty Law, approved by Orteguismo in June 2019, and is now accused of common crimes just like other political prisoners of the regime.
5. Monsignor Avilés: There are no conditions for presidential elections
The president of the Justice and Peace Commission of the Archdiocese of Managua, Monsignor Carlos Avilés, said that he thinks it is very daring to go to elections in Nicaragua when there are no guarantees that the process will be fair and that the results will reflect the will of the majority.
According to Avilés, if the opposition participates in the November elections under the current conditions, they would only be playing Daniel Ortega’s game. He also questioned the lack of public liberties, the approval of punitive laws that seek to intimidate the opposition, and the worsening of the political crisis the country is currently going through.
6. Obispo Mata University unable to grant scholarships due to budget cuts
The National Council of Universities (CNU) reduced the 2021 budget for the Universidad Católica del Trópico Seco in Estelí (Ucaste) by 20 million córdobas.
The rector of this university, Monsignor Juan Abelardo Mata, bishop of the Estelí diocese, alleged that now they will only have 10 million Cordobas and therefore it will be difficult for them to provide scholarships to low-income students and they will have to cut personnel.
This budget reduction is a form of retaliation used by Daniel Ortega’s regime against universities that oppose his government. The same measure was taken against the Central American University (UCA), which received a 6% constitutional reduction.
This article has been translated by Ana María Sampson, a Communication Science student at the University of Amsterdam and member of our staff*