IT BEGAN three months ago with a protest against cuts in pensions decreed by Daniel Ortega, Nicaragua’s president. Now his Central American country is witnessing a full-blown civil insurrection with mass casualties. Although it has received far less attention, Nicaragua is following the script of Venezuela, in which an elected dictator clings to power though repression and at the cost of economic destruction. And as in Venezuela, restoring peace and democracy is a task for which outsiders seem to lack both the will and the tools.
Some 300 people have been killed since April in a country of 6.2m according to human-rights groups, almost all of them unarmed protesters at the hands of paramilitary thugs acting in cahoots with Mr Ortega’s police. Among the latest victims were at least 20 killed on July 8th when the paramilitaries cleared opposition barricades from two small towns south of Managua, the capital.
That conforms to the pattern of this unequal struggle. Students and other young…Continue reading