HAVANA TIMES – The former head of the Nicaraguan Army, (Ret.) General Humberto Ortega, today urged his brother Daniel, president of the country, to order the paramilitary forces to be deactivated and call early elections, reported 100% Noticias.
His statement verifies something Daniel has yet to admit, that his government armed paramilitary forces to support Police repression efforts and reign terror among the protesting population.
In a public letter to participants of the National Dialogue, the former general warned that both actions will help resolve the “tragic crisis” that Nicaragua has been experiencing since last April and that has left more than 300 dead, according to independent human rights organizations.
“President Daniel Ortega should immediately use all the power of order of the State and Government to deactivate the parapolice and any other illegal forces,” the former military chief said in his letter addressed to the Government, the opposition Civic Alliance and the Catholic Episcopal Conference, mediator in the currently suspended National Dialogue.
In recent weeks, hundreds of armed and hooded men have imposed a virtual state of siege in Managua and the main cities of the country, where they commit assaults, robberies, killings and carry out selective kidnapping of mostly young people who have supported the protests.
“Today, Nicaraguans suffer unpunished acts of illegal hooded armed civilians, parapolice, who shoot indiscriminately and exercise controls only allowed by law to the police or military authorities,” said Humberto Ortega in his message.
“This situation has imposed a terrifying unofficial state of siege in the country,” he warned. He added that afterwards the opposition should remove the “barricades” (roadblocks) installed by protesters on several roads in the country that have severely affected commerce and the economy.
The former general also urged his brother to accept a proposal from the Catholic bishops to move up the 2021 elections and hold them in March 2019. The president’s representatives in the dialogue have refused to discuss the issue.
“If president Daniel Ortega constitutionally advances the presidential elections for the coming year, he says yes to peace,” said the president’s brother, who was one of the nine Sandinista commanders and headed the army from 1979 to 1995.
Humberto Ortega, who since leaving the Army has attended to his private businesses and investments, lives in neighboring Costa Rica, he has repeatedly counseled his brother to dialogue with his adversaries and build a “nation project” that benefits the country’s development.
Other former Sandinista military officers have also questioned what they call the Army’s “complicit passivity” by not intervening to disarm armed groups acting outside the law, since the Constitution prohibits the existence of irregular forces in the country.
The crisis began last April with a student protest and became a civic rebellion after the violent action of the police and paramilitary forces against unarmed civilian demonstrators left dozens killed.