Nicaraguan opposition demands justice for victims of “clean-up operation”

Nicaraguan opposition demands justice for victims of “clean-up operation”
Nicaraguan opposition demands justice for victims of “clean-up operation”

San Jose, Jul 8 (EFE).- Humanitarian organizations, opposition members and relatives of those killed in protests that broke out six years ago against the government of Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua demanded justice on Monday for the victims of the so-called “Operation Clean-up” in the department (province) of Carazo, in the Pacific.

In a statement, the Nicaragua Never Again Human Rights Collective said that on July 8, 2018, at least 2,000 members of “paramilitary groups” acting with the acquiescence of the National Police attacked the municipalities of Diriamba, Dolores and Jinotepe in the province of Carazo for more than 12 hours, causing at least 20 deaths and 30 arrests “who were cruelly tortured.”

“Operation Clean-Up demonstrates the inhumanity, disrespect for life and serious violation of human rights of the Nicaraguan dictatorship, which preferred to attack and kill the Nicaraguan people using all possible means and resources,” said the group, made up of exiled Nicaraguan activists based in Costa Rica.

“On this sixth anniversary of crimes perpetrated against the Nicaraguan people, the Nicaragua Never Again Collective denounces Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo (president and vice president of the country), the head of the National Police, First Commissioner Francisco Díaz, and multiple state actors as the main people involved in this deadly repression,” said the organization, which demanded justice for all those families who lost their loved ones.

For its part, the Mothers of April Association recalled that on July 8, 2018, “the so-called ‘Operation Clean-up’ in Carazo” began when “paramilitary groups entered the city (of Jinotepe) along with police officers from the four cardinal points of the municipality.”

According to testimony from Jinotepe residents, “while the attack was being carried out” against the opposition members who had blocked the roads in protest, “internet, telephone, electricity and water services were suspended throughout the city,” the Association added.

The lawyer, Roger Reyes, released from prison and denationalized, originally from Carazo, said in a message that six years ago the province of Carazo “was defended by brave young people ambitious for a future surrounded by opportunities and freedom,” who were victims of “this bloody execution that was called by the same perpetrators as ‘Operation Clean-up’, which claimed the lives of more than 20 people, mostly young people.”

“Sadly, we have unintentionally taken our attention away from these victims who are crying out for justice today,” Reyes said.

For his part, denationalized opposition leader Félix Maradiaga said in X that “the scars of ‘Operation Clean-up’ are deep, but they do not erase the strength and spirit of a people who resist and demand justice.”

“We are committed to continuing tirelessly in the search for justice and to supporting the families of the victims, as well as the individuals and organizations defending human rights that have initiated legal proceedings in international jurisdictions,” said Maradiaga, who was released from prison and expelled to the United States, where he resides.

In turn, the authorities of the province of Carazo, under the control of the Sandinistas, and the National Police commemorated this Monday, with a march, the sixth anniversary “of the liberation of the roadblocks of death” in that area of ​​Nicaragua.

They also paid tribute to two police officers who died in the operation, who, according to Nicaraguan state television Channel 6, died “in the restoration of peace” in the province of Carazo.

On April 18, 2018, a popular revolt broke out over controversial social security reforms, which later turned into a demand for President Ortega’s resignation after he responded with force.

The protests, described by the Executive as an “attempted coup d’état,” left at least 355 dead, according to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), although local organizations put the figure at 684, while Ortega acknowledges that there were “more than 300.”

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