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Why are people protesting in Nicaragua?

Nicaragua, the Central American country wedged in between Costa Rica and Honduras, has recently been experiencing civil unrest that hasn’t been seen in the country since the 1980's. Thousands of protesters have filled the streets, calling for president Daniel Ortega (who was the dictator of the country in the 80's) to step down. Police have clashed with those same protesters, violently in some cases, which has only angered more people and garnered international scrutiny.

Why is this happening?

Ortega’s government decided to cut social security and pensions in the country last month. “Well, good! What’s wrong with that?” you might ask. See, in many places in Latin America, social security and pensions are how some people survive and make their living. Cut that, and you’re cutting into people's income. Ortega has since revoked that decision, but protests have continued, and for good reason.

I remember when the first McDonald’s opened in Managua (the Nicaraguan capital), and it was as if the Pope himself had landed. It was going through a post-Sandinista economic boom, and enjoying and reaping the benefits of capitalism and democracy. Nicaragua holds a special place in my life, and I hold no love for Ortega, whose regime forced my dad’s best friend’s family to flee.

Since taking office again in 2007, Ortega has blatantly stolen elections, and in 2014 helped conveniently abolish term limits. He is the same person that oppressed his people in the 80's, and should be resisted. I hope that Ortega eventually steps down, and that Nicaragua can return to proper democracy and positive economic development, like it was doing in the 90's.

Read about Carlos's time spent living in Venezuela here.

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