Help peaceful protests in Nicaragua

Funds from this gofundme will go towards purchasing food, water, and medical supplies for peaceful protesters in Nicaragua. Additionally, given that protests have led to the deaths of at least 59 people, gofundme campaign organizers suporting victims' families with some cash to pay a portion of funeral costs.

Tuesday, May 8 is the 21st consecutive day during which university students and other peaceful protesters are excercising their democratic and constitutional right to protest the government's disregard for basic rights, including freedom of speech. Protests began on April 18th over a reform to the Social Security System, but protesters were violently repressed by the government (using anti-insurgence forces consisting of pro-government civilian groups known as the Sandinista Youth and the National Police) so harshly that by day 5 there were reports of over 30 dead, a number that keeps growing as the many injured lose their battle over the following days. By the 21st day, reports of the death toll reached the 59th confirmed death. The protests are no longer (and haven’t been since day 3) about the social security reform. Protesters are desperately clamoring for a fundamental democratic change in the country.

Protesters are self-funded and need funds urgently to continue protesting peacefully. This campaign seeks $15,000 to assist protesters with funds that they require to continue protesting.

In the interest of transparency, I am a United States citizen currently residing in the US who has many close friends, and individuals I consider to be family, living and working in Nicaragua. The individuals I am raising funds for are a group of Nicaraguan citizens preocupied for the current political situation and government repression to basic freedoms, such as freedom of speech, as well as the future of the country that they love so much. They are mobilizing these funds on the ground to support peaceful protesters with basic supplies to ensure that their health and their lives are not put in danger. Additionally, they are supporting the families of some of the victims with funds to pay a portion of funeral costs, each of which has a cost of approximately US$450. The majority of families do not have the economic conditions to absorb such an unexpected shock to their income. US$450 is almost twice Nicaraguan minimum wage. Under no circumstances will funds be spent on weapons or objects that can be used to induce violence. Funds support peaceful protests, exclusively. Once funds are withdrawn from this campaign, they will be sent to the group of individuals I am cooperating with who are leading efforts on the ground in the form of remittances. In order to limit transaction costs (funds are subject to an approximately 1.2% fee by international remittance providers), there is a possibility that funds will be delivered personally should circumstances permit.

Funds support exclusively peaceful demonstrations, in accordance with recent pronouncements from the UN’s High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Organization of American States.

Protests began due to government reforms applying a 5% tax to old-age and disability pensions and increasing contributions paid by employees and employers. This is considered just another unjust action by a government that has been accused of using the National Social Security Institute (INSS) as a source of “petty cash,” leaving many feeling that pensioners and workers are now being forced to pay for government fund mismanagement.

The government has responded to protests with violent counter-marches and positioning members of the Sandinista Youth and riot police to intimidate peaceful protesters on highways and universities in the capital of Managua. So far, at least 59people have been confirmed dead, with little sign that the government will permit students and other protesters to take to the streets peacefully. In one episode, the Sandinista Youth cornered peaceful student protesters in the Cathedral of Managua, where they continued violent physical aggression. The government has also taken five independent television networks off the air after they broadcast demonstrations live. In some parts of the country, electricity service has been suspended in an effort to make it difficult for protesters to continue.

Protests come following demonstrations beginning in April 2018 against government inaction and alleged collusion in relation to fires in the Indio Maíz biological reserve on the Caribbean coast region. Recent years have also been plagued by alleged electoral fraud, which has allowed President Ortega to control the country’s legislative branch and make controversial constitutional changes, including his own ability to serve more than two terms as president. He has succeeded in consolidating control over all branches of government. Reforms to laws regulating the army and national police have also brought those institutions into line behind him.

Please help support peaceful protests in Nicaragua. We need your help! ¡Qué viva Nicaragua!
Five people die as anti-government protests spread across Nicaragua (The Guardian)


Julian Larregui
New York, NY

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