A group of business people, including the President of the Superior Council for Private Enterprise of Nicaragua (Cosep), Jose Adan Aguerri, were attacked by a mob of supporters of Daniel Ortega’s regime, while they were in the presence of the National Police. The subjects threw stones, fired pellets and hit the vehicle they were travelling with aluminum bats without the officers doing anything to stop the attack.
The attack occurred on September 7th at the exit of the city of Leon, twenty minutes after a police checkpoint stopped the vehicle that Aguerri drove and ordered him and his companions to get out of the car. The agents searched the vehicle twice while the mobs arrived aboard motorcycles, most of them with their protective helmets so as not to be identified. Once they recognized them, “they began attacking with stones and bats shouting that they wanted peace,” denounced Aguerri.
Also in the vehicle were political commentator Jaime Arellano, the President of the Union of Agricultural Producers of Nicaragua (UPANIC) Michael Healy and the President of the Livestock Federation of Nicaragua (Faganic), Alvaro Vargas, who accompanied the owner of “Radio Dario,” Anibal Toruno, on his return to Leon after having spent almost a year in exile. The businessmen were besieged since their arrival to Leon and when they were about to return to Managua they were attacked at the exit of the city.
Aguerri described that Ortega’s supporters were shouting at them that they had to pay the price for the “failed attempt at a coup d’état,” which is how the Government labels the anti-government demonstrations that erupted in April of last year. The protests derived into demands for the resignation of the president for the repression and deaths caused.
The business leader said that he complained to the agents, who had the documents of the vehicle, and since they did not react, they fled from the place in the car because they considered that their lives were in danger. He also showed at the press conference, one of the stones that broke one of the front windows of the vehicle and remained inside, as well as the pellet that was shot at them.
“They passed from the insults to the aggression, while they attacked us, they were saying that they wanted peace,” reproached Aguerri, who criticized the Government for maintaining a “double discourse” and “selling intolerance and hate” to its supporters, “contrary to what they preach.”
Meanwhile, Arellano insisted “They did not want to injure us, they wanted to kill us. There was the intention to kill Jose Adan.” Arellano’s conclusion is based on the fact that the pellet shot at them hit driver’s seat, just at head level.
The commentator emphasized that the “mobs” came with “hatred to kill” and that the police “lent themselves to that.” At the same time, he called on the Government to reflect, because “there is no way that they will kill us all” and that the Nicaraguans opposed to Ortega “are not going to leave Nicaragua.”
Attacks on “Radio Dario” continue
Hours earlier, Ortega’s mobs besieged and threw stones against “Radio Dario” and the home of its owner Anibal Toruno, who was forced to leave his house again to accompany the businessmen that were being attacked at the exit of Leon.
The subjects who stoned the front of “Radio Dario” arrived aboard motorcycles and after destroying the security cameras withdrew from the premises, so Toruno had no major difficulty leaving Leon. Hours before, in the early morning, the same subjects arrived to paint graffiti with threats on the radio station and the home of its owner.
Toruno regretted what happened in Leon and called on the Ortega regime to stop the violence of its paramilitaries, since these are violent groups operating jointly with the police and “have created an institutional chaos.”
During his brief visit to Leon, Toruno met with his family, with the “Radio Dario” workers and visited his father’s grave in the Guadalupe cemetery. The day was spent in a tense environment and under police harassment.
On April 20, 2018, “Radio Dario” was set on fire while a group of workers were inside the building. Other attacks against the radio station occurred on May 30, 2018, when a group of armed hooded men subdued the security guard to destroy the transmission equipment. On December 3, 2018, the station was raided by the police chief of Leon, Fidel Dominguez; and, on January 29, 2019, police officers illegally detained the press chief, Leo Carcamo, when he was about to enter this media outlet.
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) was informed about the “Radio Dario” attack, so the agency reminded the State of Nicaragua—through its Twitter account–, that “the members of ‘Radio Dario’ have precautionary measures and reiterated the request made to the State of Nicaragua to protect them.”
The businessmen, who are also part of the Civic Alliance for Justice and Democracy, announced that they will present a formal complaint regarding the events in Leon. They also have been in contact with international human rights organizations, such as IACHR and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner on Human Rights (OHCHR). For now, neither the Government nor the National Police has referred to that complaint.
Police besiegement in Managua
Meanwhile in Managua the police besieged the Executive Director of the Civic Alliance for Justice and Democracy, Juan Sebastian Chamorro, the student leader Max Jerez and the political analyst, Eliseo Nunez, who were participating in a meeting with citizens in the sector of “Villa Libertad.”
Chamorro repudiated the police besiegement through this Twitter account: “Today was a day of harassment and violence in Masaya, Leon and Managua. We particularly repudiate the complicity of the Police with violent mobs in the attack against Jose Adan, Mike, Alvaro and Jaime Arellano,” he wrote.