Nicaragua's Ortega calls for talks to end political crisis
MANAGUA, Nicaragua – Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega on Thursday, February 21, called for negotiations to resolve a long-running political crisis sparked by protests against his rule, with at least 320 people killed in a brutal government crackdown.
Ortega said that the government is working to "set the table for negotiations next Wednesday" with representatives from the opposition, which is demanding his resignation.
He made the announcement during an event commemorating the 85th anniversary of the death of guerrilla leader Augusto Sandino, to an audience of cabinet members, military personnel, the police and supporters.
It comes as the government faces economic crisis and a $315 million deficit, as it struggles without funding and loans that would usually come in from multilateral organizations.
Protests initially started last April over a now-ditched pension reform, and escalated quickly as they were met by a brutal government crackdown.
Negotiations broke down in June as Ortega refused the opposition's main demands to step down and bring forward presidential elections.
Protests lasted until October and as well as the many dead, more than 750 people were arrested and accused of terrorism.
The Nicaraguan opposition accuses former guerrilla leader Ortega, in power since 2007, of establishing a corrupt dictatorship with his wife and vice president Rosario Murillo. – Rappler.com