Sandinista thugs attack elderly in Nicaragua

(posted June 22, 12:00 p.m.)—Under the “shadows of darkness” at 4 a.m. this morning, a gang of several hundred masked thugs wearing Sandinista t-shirts arrived at the offices of the Nicaraguan Social Security Institute (INSS) on motorcycles and aboard government trucks to violently oust dozens of senior citizens and youth activists who have been protesting against the government since last Tuesday, according to Nicaraguan Center for Human Rights (CENIDH). 

Allegedly working in tandem with the National Police, the state-sponsored security thugs reportedly attacked the elderly protesters with a vengeance, injuring dozens and scattering the group of youth supporters who sought refuge in neighboring homes that opened their doors to hide people from the police and paramilitary group, according to CENIDH’s legal director Gonzalo Carrión.

The human rights leader says there are “an uncountable number—dozens” of people injured and a handful of people who are still missing and unaccounted for.

A senior citizen sits on a stool and refuses to leave after this morning’s attack. In the background, a group of Sandinista supporters arrive on the heels of the masked thugs to hold the line and blare Sandinista campaign music about reconciliation and peace (photo from Twitter)

“This was a criminal operation of state terrorism,” Carrión told The Nicaragua Dispatch. “The terrorist gang was wearing masks and armed with weapons and told the group: ‘You have 10 seconds to run. Run! Run! Then they started to beat people.”

Other witnesses say the Sandinista paramilitary group ordered everyone on the ground, and then robbed them of their cellphones, cameras and other personal effects. The gang then proceeded to beat the group, vandalize cars and destroy private property, according to witness accounts.

“At 4:35 a.m. I tried to film with my camera, but the assailants surrounded me and threw me out. I was robbed” Tweeted Fabiola Tercero.

“What’s happening here is horrible and egregious. Innocent people are injured by the JS (Sandinista Youth), who arrived on municipal trucks,” Tweeted another witness.

“The attack this morning is a clear indication that we are really screwed, for those who weren’t clear about that before,” Tweeted Mayo Cuadra.

Carrión, a former leader of the Sandinista Youth in the 1980s, says this morning’s repression by his former organization was “as bad as you can imagine.”

“This was as bad as the worst of the repression during the Somoza dictatorship,” he said.

As dawn turned to day, the Sandinista raiders were replaced by a second group of Orteguistas who started chanting government slogans about peace and love as their occupied the area around INSS building. The group blared Ortega’s old campaign songs with lyrics about reconciliation, peace and love. Several senior citizen protesters remain several meters from the Sandinista groups, sitting on the ground and refusing to abandon the area.

Others have retreated to the Cathedral in Managua, which has become a de facto area for the opposition to regroup and denounce the government repression.

On Twitter, hundreds of Nicaragua youth are calling people to a generalized protest under the hashtag #occupainss

The police and government have remained silent about this morning’s attack.




  • Jim

    Meet the new boss; Same as the old boss ….

  • Brian

    Tim, typo in Paragraph five … “robbed off their cellphones,” and I thought I saw one toward the end of your story but can’t find it right now. I can only imagine how hard you’ve been working on this … Not to mention the late night postings … Just trying to help you out.
    You are a hero for covering this ugliness. Your photos are compelling, terribly disturbing and very sad. You are awesome.

  • jimmycoffee

    I think there is a very clear and present danger in Nicaragua, that actions such as this, and inevitably others to follow, could lead the country very quickly down a path to social unrest and civil turmoil. When you have an Activist wing of the dominant political force, that unquestioningly beats and suppresses legitimate protest; when the policing becomes partisan, and when the forces in power effectively use these as a means of malevolent control; a country stares into an abyss.
    I hope this is not the case for Nicaragua, but experience tells me otherwise. Dangerous times, I feel.

  • Bart

    As Jim stated .. its the same boss as it was before … Daniel Ortega … who else would order the, state-sponsored security thugs.

    One thing Jimmy, every country deserves hope. I”m Nicaraguense, raised in the USA, but highly believe Nicaragua like other countries deserve a chance!

    • Brian

      I agree. Nicaragua does deserve a chance but I am afraid the world simply does not care about democracy for this beleaguered nation. It is terribly sad but I fear it is the truth. Obama, who I once supported, will not say or do a thing … Hope and change my ass!

      • Carlos Lacayo

        Obama gives no hope but lots fo nice words about it!! The US is making a huge strategical mistake in ignoring Latin America´s fight for democracy. Democracy is weak and fragile here and Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua have lost and are losing that fight everyday, with the tacit acceptance of Washington.

      • http://msn Gin

        The demand for “Democracy” only mattered when the Sandinistas were out of power and academia in the US decried US interventionism and the Contras! The US has left Nicaragua alone and these thugs feel the coast is clear so now so they can be overt about their tactics without fear of punative action! Of course those who railed against “US imperialism” are silent and utter nary a peep!

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  • Ken

    This is too much. Some excesses are excusable (at least by me) on the grounds that the end justifies the means, but it’s really too much to beat of poor old folks. It’s also too much to continuing arbitrarily expelling people from the country, removing office holders, and so on. The excesses are mounting and unnecessarily so.

    The increase frankly makes me wonder whether Ortega is even in control. Maybe he is and has just given into megalomania, but it’s not in his character as I assess it to order the beating of poor old people. I’m not even sure that Rosario is this dastardly, although I judge her to be the more dastardly of the duo. Is someone else–a son, a henchman–behind some of this?

    Unfortunately, I still don’t see how toppling the regime (legally or illegally) would offer any solution, even if that could be done, since I fear that the replacement regime would simply offer a less competent group of thugs.

    But pinning my hopes, as I do, on smart, successful legal action that strengthens the rule of law while actually winning some cases isn’t looking too promising at the moment. That coupled frankly with the kind of more civic-minded political culture that should develop with it is the only viable long term solution.

    But you don’t send in the Sandinista Youth to beat up poor old folks in the middle of the night. As bad as this is for the old folks, it’s worse for the kids. Their civics lesson is might makes right. Many will continue to believe this their entire lives, which will make it more difficult for Nicaragua to develop the political culture and institutions it needs.

    • Carlos Lacayo

      Ken, you are too inocent and too kind to Ortega.Let me remind you this is the same Ortega who ordered the genocide of Msikitos and Afro-descendants in the 80´s, killing 15-20,000 of them, becasue they woiuld not bent the knee to the Ortega government; it is the same Ortega who raised the largest child-army (Juventud Sandinista) in latin america EVER, sending about 22,000 of them to their deaths fighting off contras (2 of my uncles were part of that child-army, 14 and 15 yrs old), this is the same Ortega who raped and abused his step-daughter for 10 yrs….. dont be so foolish, Rosario and Daniel are in COMPLETE controll. Most people, as I, believe, Rosario holds the true power and as you is the more “dastardly” of the two.

    • http://msn Gin

      It isn’t about toppling the regime, it will be about voting them out when the next elections come; provided of course the Sandinistas don’t fix the election to maintain their grip on power!

  • gissell ruiz

    In Nicaragua there is not justice at all lets be realistic us the ones that have lived in Nicaragua and also have family there know. the Nicaraguan police was known as the best police or law enforcement of central America, when they beat elders they also beat women put innocent people in jail and beat them to death. when they are investigating a case they take people to ANY POLICE STATION and beat them, torture them. This I know about because I’ve met people that have gone through this just because the police think that they might know something about a case they are investigating or they just want to solve a case quickly. when this people go to human resources to get some justice human resources in Nicaragua investigates and prove that those people that were torture are innocent. But all the suffering, the torture not only physically but mentally and sometimes death caused by the police stays unpunished those cops keep on doing the same thing to others instead of getting put in jail or alt least fire for what they did. That is what the Nicaraguan police does to Nicaragua . This is not an opinion but a fact do a research and you’ll find out.

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