Violence directed by the government of Nicaragua against its citizenry continues in the Central American republic, leading policy analyst Ana Quintana of the Heritage Foundation to say that the crisis may soon increase the numbers of migrants seeking refuge from the isthmus in the United States. Quintana told Buck Sexton and Krystal Ball on Hill.TV on on Wednesday, "There's an incredibly high likelihood" in an uptick of the numbers of migrants. "Right within a few months, you will start seeing the migrant crisis affect in the United States like what we're seeing with Venezuela," she said. In an interview with Spero News, a young Nicaragua activist predicted that young people -- targeted by the Sandinista regime -- may seek to leave the country en masse.
Quintana continued, saying "There's never been a large immigration crisis from Nicaragua, but that's definitely going to change because not only is there a violence issue, but the economy is not functioning." Nearly three hundred persons have been killed in riots pitting citizens against Nicaragua’s authoritarian leftist government, while an untold number have been tortured or killed in prison. "Everything is at a standstill, and people are literally being attacked by their government, so they classify for asylum," Quintana added.
The United States continues to grapple with the influx of migrants from Central America who are seeking asylum. Many of them entered illegally because they crossed at points along the border other than the official entry points. Thousands of illegal immigrant children have been separated from purported parents among the illegal immigrants, prompting the federal government to house them in detention centers operated by the Departments of Homeland Security and Housing and Human Services, or at military bases. While President Trump signed an executive order that ended the automatic separation of parents and children (a policy put into place to protect children from sex-trafficking), but the so-called zero tolerance prosecution of illegal border crossers remains in place. Some deportations of members of the current surge of migrants has taken place.
In an interview with Spero News, Nicaraguan student leader Bayardo Siles reflected on the recent attack on Catholic bishops and priests in the town of Diramba. He noted that Monsignor Silvio Báez wept on Monday when describing the attack on Cardinal Leopoldo Brenes and Vatican ambassador Monsignor Waldemar Stanislaw Sommertag. “The people of Nicaragua are becoming more and more agitated every day, and we cannot predict what will their reaction” to the attack suffered by the three high-ranking representatives of the Catholic Church in Nicaragua. Nicaragua remains a deeply spiritual country, Siles said, where Catholic priests and prelates have long been outspoken about crimes committed by the series of authoritiarian governments in the country.
Siles, who lives under the threat of death which requires he to move constantly, said that it is clear that the Sandinista government is behind the attacks on the citizenry. The so-called “divine mobs” -- supporters of the Ortega government -- a frequently drug addicts, Siles said, who are paid to attack protesters and opponents of the Sandinista regime. “While they appear to be more respectful if international observers are nearby so as to avoid bad press for the regime, the group that attacked the bishops was obviously organized and armed to intimidate and attack the bishops. “The Sandinistas are blaming the bishops for the situation in Nicaragua, whereas in the past they blamed capitalism, the United States or the CIA for supposedly causing the disorder in the country.”
Siles expressed concern that the Sandinista government is becoming more violent. “The government appears to be exasperated and no longer able to control its own para-military forces especially in the northern tier of the country where they are committing murder left and right. The government simply does not want to negotiate, but merely wants to gain time and continue the conflict so as to take covert action.”
Siles said that more mass protests and sit-downs are expected in the next few days to demand that the government respect the right to life of its own people. This will come, Siles said, despite the fact that it is the government and not the people that is armed. He said that at the beginning of the conflict in April, there were some police who resigned from their posts rather than fire on protesters. However, of late, the police and para-military forces have been seen with weapons never seen before in Nicaragua, Siles said. This has led him to believe that Cuba and Venezuela, traditional allies of the Sandinistas, are arming the the Nicaraguan security forces. He said that he hoped that the U.S. and other democratic countries can stop the flow of arms to Nicaragua, even if by naval blockade.
“The great majority of Nicaragua’s people are young,” Siles said, “and I am calling upon everyone who is planning to protest on Saturday to demand protection for young people.” Siles also called on the foreign embassies in Nicaragua to be ready to accept young people fleeing from retribution and may soon flee en masse to neighboring countries. “In Nicaragua, it is considered a crime to be young.”
Spero News writer Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.