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Traditionally celebrated in Nicaragua as Mother’s Day, for two years on May 30 it also refers to one of the darkest chapters in the recent history of that Central American nation.
Shaken by protests for just over a month, the country saw that day as a gigantic anti-government march called in the capital, Managua, ended with blood.
And my Twitter account still accounts for my efforts to cover both the opposition mobilization that day and the government act that was trying to compete with it. And then chaos.
reports of new attacks from Sandinista sympathizers to protesters demanding their departure, “reads a trill posted at 4:29 pm on May 30.” data-reactid = “38”> “While President Ortega promises to fight for peace, there are reports of new attacks from Sandinista sympathizers to protesters demanding their departure, “reads a trill posted at 4:29 pm on May 30.
“There are reports of gunshot wounds and serious injuries. You hear detonations and bursts of automatic weapons,” says the following, published seven minutes later.
Six people died in “the Mother’s Day massacre”.
Six of those dead – and most of the wounded – as a result of what would become known as “the Mother’s Day massacre.”
The day, however, had begun under good omens.
Shortly afterwards, two dead Sandinista supporters had to be added to that list after a caravan that was heading for government activity called in the capital was attacked with bullets.
And, due to its size and character, nothing allowed to foresee an attack against #LaMadreDeTodasLasMarchas, as the opposition mobilization had been called.
In fact, the contrast between the call for the march that demanded the departure of Ortega and the little attendance of the act in support of the president was such that, by mid-afternoon, I was sure that this would be the subject of my chronicle of the working day.
Supporters of President Ortega in a “tree of life”.
government activity it’s pretty rare, “he had started overtaking on Twitter.” data-reactid = “113”> “Today there are two activities called that will say a lot about the level of support from the government and about those who demand the departure of President Ortega. And at 3:00 pm the influx to the government activity it is quite rare, “he had started overtaking on Twitter.
“We are the majority” says a Sandinista sympathizer. I ask him why there are so few people. “It is that this street is wide, we are many,” he replies. The second part is a lie. https://t.co/2IGydB8JbG
– Arturo Wallace (@bbc_wallace) May 30, 2018
a coup de force“he warned before leaving that concentration, ready to grant the benefit of the doubt.” data-reactid = “119”> “President Ortega is known for his lateness and this is growing: people are still arriving. But at the moment this is far from being a coup de force“he warned before leaving that concentration, ready to grant the benefit of the doubt.
However, I still remember the first thing I thought when I arrived at the other march, without a doubt the largest I have ever seen in Nicaraguan lands: how is Ortega going to sustain himself if this is the correlation of forces?
According to the GIEI report – which had to be presented in Washington in December 2018, after the Nicaraguan government decided to expel the team of experts – the first of the dead was shot and wounded “at approximately 4:00 p.m.” .
The boy Orlando Daniel Aguirre Córdoba, 15 years old, was shot in the chest in front of the National Stadium. He died hours later in the Dr. Fernando Vélez Paiz Hospital, “the document read.” data-reactid = “125”> “The boy Orlando Daniel Aguirre Córdoba, 15 years old, was shot in the chest in front of the National Stadium. He died hours later in the Dr. Fernando Vélez Paiz Hospital, “the document read.
An injured person during the march is evacuated on a stretcher.
gravity wound“in that area.” data-reactid = “146”> “Later, presumably shortly before 5:00 pm, Maycol Cipriano González Hernández would also be wounded in the area near the Stadium. He died that same afternoon at the Vivian Pellas Hospital,” the report added. , which states that “a significant number of people were gravity wound“in that area.
Having arrived from that direction shortly before 3:00 p.m., I had devoted myself to tracing the march to give me a better idea of its size, so the reports of the first shots found me quite far from the site of the attack.
And those images, together with interviews with witnesses, later served to try to reconstruct, hot, what happened.
Police and parapolice
My conclusion, at the time, was that the first shots had been fired after some protesters had unknowingly crossed an imaginary security line drawn by armed elements affiliated with the government.
Just days before, Amnesty International had published a report accusing the authorities of “shooting to kill”.
and broadcast live on Facebook– it is just the first example of a broader collaboration work with the GIEI. “data-reactid =” 200 “> And that reconstruction -which will be presented in a virtual event organized by the Association Mothers of April and Ama y No Olvida – Museo de la Memoria, and broadcast live on Facebook – is just the first example of a broader collaborative effort with the GIEI.
The presence of armed masked civilians alongside police officers was a constant in the 2018 protests in Nicaragua.
the evidence of abuses by dthe state“they explain from the organizations in a statement.” data-reactid = “221”> “At a time when the Nicaraguan government denies guilt for civilian deaths, presents protesters as terrorists, and institutes amnesty laws to protect the police and others from accountability , it is especially important to present and make publicthe evidence of abuses by dthe state“they explain from the organizations in a statement.
Waiting for justice
Indeed, two years later, no one expects the Nicaraguan authorities to make an honest effort to investigate and punish those responsible.
“Contrary to what its national anthem says, the soil of Nicaragua continues to be stained with the blood of brothers,” is in fact the last line of my report on the Mother’s Day massacre.
By then, Nicaragua had already added almost 200 more deaths to the one hundred that ended May 2018, the vast majority also at the hands of the security forces and paramilitary groups related to President Ortega.
“Here we stay,” he said then.
It was shortly after the shots began to sound.