Political prisoners are released from prison in Nicaragua

Dozens of political prisoners who were arrested during protests against the government of President Daniel Ortega, including marathon runner Alex Vanegas, are released from prison in Managua, Nicaragua, ahead of long-awaited peace talks with the opposition. IMAGES

Nicaragua: Ortega attacks UN after human rights report

Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega attacks the United Nations during the commemoration of the 51st anniversary of the Pancasan guerrilla campaign in Managua, after the UN human rights office published a report on the country’s “climate of fear and mistrust”.

Thousands walk in Nicaragua demanding Ortega step down

Thousands of Nicaraguans march through the streets of the capital Managua demanding that President Daniel Ortega, who has been in power for the last 11 years, step down and that anti-government protesters jailed over the past four months be released.

This Is The Aftermath Of Nicaragua’s Protests Against Ortega (HBO)

There’s an uneasy calm on the streets of Managua and other cities across Nicaragua.

University campuses that were once occupied by students have been reclaimed by black-clad police with rifles. In the small city of Masaya, a focal point of the unrest, workers have replaced the cobblestones that protesters used to build barricades; meanwhile, paramilitary members wearing ski masks sit idly on street corners, keeping the peace.

“The way we see it, we’re at a stalemate,” said Harley Morales, a 26-year-old sociology student and leader of the protests. “A catastrophic, destructive stalemate.”

For President Daniel Ortega, reimposing order came at great cost: The scale of the repression has left the president politically isolated. More than 300 people have died in the crackdown, most of them protesters killed by security forces and state-controlled paramilitaries, according to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.

Internationally, even some of Ortega’s once-stalwart allies on the left have decried the violence and urged him to step aside. And domestically, quiet on the streets does not mean the opposition has been defeated.

Ortega now faces a coalition of university students, peasants, nonprofits, and the Catholic church. Crucially, the alliance also includes the corporate sector, which for the last 11 years was one of Ortega’s most powerful allies.

Read: Nicaragua’s government is brutally cracking down on its people, but protests are spreading

“What caused us to split with the government?” said José Adán Aguerri, president of the Superior Council of Private Enterprise, Nicaragua’s preeminent chamber of commerce. “The separation happened the moment the first protester died.”

What happens next is largely a question of whether that coalition can keep up the pressure on the government — and keep from splintering long enough to force Ortega to accept early elections.

“In the alliance you have sectors of society with competing, in some ways irreconcilable interests,” said Morales, the student leader. “And I think we still haven’t had a sincere discussion about our visions for the kind of Nicaragua we want to see.”

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Open air mass in Nicaragua to demand an end to violence

Nicaraguan Catholic faithful take part in an open air mass, to demand the end of violence in their country, outside the Metropolitan Cathedral in Managua. This comes after a week of protests and clashes with police that left at least 43 people dead, according to a leading human rights group. University students at the forefront of the unrest have issued conditions for talks with the government of President Daniel Ortega.

Nicaragua: Victim of femicide laid to rest as women protest

Relatives of Karla Estrada, who was killed and beheaded presumably by her fugitive husband, laid her body to rest Thursday in Managua. Estrada became the 39th victim of femicide or gender-based murder this year in Nicaragua, prompting a “March of Silence” through the streets of the capital to protest the killings.