Things That Matter

As Human Rights Violations Continue In Nicaragua, The Catholic Church Is Calling For Peace Talks

There are increased concerns coming out of Nicaragua due to an on-going human rights crisis that began in April 2018 over planned cuts to welfare benefits. The government of President Daniel Ortega has been at the front of this situation and have done everything they can to silence and stop protesters.

This has all lead to multiple violent clashes on city streets between pro-government forces and protesters that have claimed more than 300 lives, injured more than 2,000 people and countless more have been imprisoned. According to human rights groups, this has included torture and the denial of due process. In return, the violence has prompted thousands of Nicaraguans to go into exile. 

Here’s how we got to this point and what is being done to put an end to the violence in Nicaragua.

Credit: @hww_intel / Twitter

Back in April, the Nicaraguan Government announced that there would be cuts in social security payments. This resulted in immediate nationwide protests that brought flashbacks of the violence seen last year. These cuts were eventually rescinded but not the protests and calls for the resignation of President Daniel Ortega, who’s in his fourth term, to step down and for swift elections to follow. President Ortega balked at the notion of leaving office and says he’ll serve his full term until the next elections in 2021. 

The Catholic church continues to be the mediator between the Ortega government and opposition forces in its efforts to initiate talks between the two bitterly entrenched sides to resolve the crippling ongoing crisis. Last week, a Vatican representative called for the continuation of talks and negotiations. The goal here is to try to release reforms to begin “free and transparent elections” in Nicaragua. 

“The Holy See has been following with great attention the sociopolitical situation in Nicaragua and believes that the unsettled disputes should be solved as soon as possible,”  Archbishop Ivan Jurkovic, the Vatican observer to U.N. agencies in Geneva, told Reuters.

The Vatican is hoping to bring both sides together in a “renewed spirit of responsibility and reconciliation” to hopefully bring forth a resolution “that respects the truth, reestablishes justice and promotes the common good.”  Jurkovic said at a speech on Sept. 10 during a session of the U.N. Human Rights Council on the situation in Nicaragua that these talks will be necessary if there is any hope of peace in the country. 

“The Holy See strongly believes that it is essential to implement the agreements reached last March, to return immediately to open and mutually respectful negotiations and to realize, at the earliest, the electoral reforms for the holding of free and transparent elections with the presence of international observers,” Archbishop Jurkovic told Reuters.

The United Nations has also called for the immediate resignation of President Ortega, who has overseen violations of human rights in Nicaragua. 

Credit: @civiccusalliance / Twitter

As the Vatican voiced its concern about Nicaragua, Michelle Bachelet, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, made comments on the same day about the violence in the country. She noted that while violence has decreased since the Ortega government and the Civic Alliance for Justice and Democracy met for peace talks in February, there is still human rights violation occurring. 

“Between August 2018 and July 2019, human rights violations continued to occur in Nicaragua,” Bachelet told the Human Rights Council. “However, since the end of February 2019, when the Government and the Civic Alliance for Justice and Democracy resumed their dialogue, the number of violations against life and personal integrity has decreased, proof that dialogue is a possible and peaceful way to overcome the crisis.”

From mid-March to mid-June, the Ortega administration had released nearly 400 people who were detained due to protests over the last year. The majority, however, were released under restrictive measures. While most major protests have calmed over the last few months, there have been multiple human rights violations that have occurred. The government has banned public demonstrations from those that have criticized them and have also used violent tactics to stop citizens from public self-expression.  

“We cannot remain in total silence, we cannot be silent,”  Juan Mata Guevara, a bishop of Esteli, Nicaragua, said at the bishops’ conference.“This way of proceeding is an exercise of irrational authoritarianism. This reflects how the regime does not see the needs of those who suffer.”

READ: These Quesadilla Fails Will Make You Wonder How It’s Possible For People To Mess Up A Tortilla With Cheese

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Two Protesters Killed In Streets Protests Over The Police Shooting Of Jacob Blake

Things That Matter

Two Protesters Killed In Streets Protests Over The Police Shooting Of Jacob Blake

Jacob Blake / Facebook

Updated: August 26, 2020.

Police have attacked and shot another unarmed Black man. This time the victim is 29-year-old Jacob Blake, who is still alive but fighting for his life in serious condition.

Video of the attack – which has since gone viral on social media – shows Blake attempting to get back into his vehicle when he is grabbed by police and shot at least seven times right in the back. The video tells a damning story and protesters have already taken to the streets demanding the police officers responsible be held accountable for their actions.

To many, the attack is further proof that the American policing system is broken and has no value for the lives of Black Americans.

Outrage is growing as video shows police shoot an unarmed Black man in the back at least seven times.

In Wisconsin, police have shot another unarmed Black man – which is leading to widespread protests. The two officers are on leave as state authorities investigate the shooting.

Video circulating on social media shows the victim – Jacob Blake – being shot multiple times in the back as he entered the driver’s side door of his SUV. Currently, Blake is in serious condition fighting for his life.

Attorney Ben Crump, who now represents the Blake family, posted a video of the Sunday evening shooting in Kenosha. The footage spread across social media, sparking protests and leading county officials to institute a curfew that remained in place until Monday morning.

The attack unfolded on a residential street packed with apartment buildings, a block from a city golf course. In the video clip, Blake walks around the front of a gray SUV with two officers a step or two behind him, one with his weapon trained on the man’s back. As Blake enters the driver side door of his car, the nearest officer grabs the tail of his tank top and seven shots are heard. The man entering the car appears to go limp. A sustained car horn blares. A woman nearby jumps up and down, apparently in anguish.

Jeffery Robinson, a deputy legal director with the American Civil Liberties Union, said Blake’s death – along with Floyd’s outside a Minneapolis grocery store, Taylor’s in her own home and Eric Garner’s in front of a New York bodega – demonstrates “the very institution of American policing is rotten at its core.”

Of Blake’s shooting, Robinson said, “With each of the seven shots fired, the police department made their intent clear – they believed they had the right to kill an unarmed Black man for the crime of walking away from them.”

Blake was allegedly trying to break up a domestic dispute between two women when police approached him.

In a tweet, Crump, who represents Floyd’s family, says the man was leaving the scene after “breaking up a fight between two women.”

Officers were called to respond to a domestic disturbance, police said, but it’s unclear who called 911 or what happened before the video recording begins. In a police call, a dispatcher says Blake “isn’t supposed to be there” and that he took the complainant’s keys and refused to leave. The dispatcher later explains she doesn’t have more details because the caller was “uncooperative.”

Blake’s own children were in the vehicle and watched their father get shot by police.

Civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump said Blake’s three young sons were in the car.

“They saw a cop shoot their father,” Crump said on Twitter. “They will be traumatised forever. We cannot let officers violate their duty to PROTECT us. Our kids deserve better!!”

Protests are beginning to pop up across the country, as others continue to mourn the loss of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd – among so many others.

Credit: Guy Smallman / Getty Images

The attack on Jacob Blake comes as demonstrators continue to protest against police violence in American cities, including the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.

The night before Blake’s shooting, protests erupted in Lafayette, Louisiana, after police killed a Black man – Trayford Pellerin, 31 – outside a convenience store.

In Kenosha, a city of 100,000 located between Chicago and Milwaukee, protesters overnight broke windows and sprayed graffiti at a Kenosha County administrative building, according to CNN affiliate WISN. Vehicles at a nearby auto dealership were torched, a fire was started at a county courthouse and officers in tactical gear formed a line to protect a public safety building, the station reported.

Before the sun rose Monday, numerous dump and garbage trucks remained smoldering on the street after being set ablaze. The courthouse and administrative building were closed Monday, and all court hearings for the day are postponed, the county said on Facebook.

Still, unrest continues.

During the third night of protests over the shooting of Blake, two demonstrators were killed after clashes with law enforcement raged outside of an Illinois County Courthouse.

After protesters moved their demonstrations outside of a gas station in Kenosha, Wisconsin shots were fired outside leading to two fatalities, and one person being left with injuries that were not life-threatening. Court documents from Lake County, Ill., reveal that Kyle Rittenhouse, 17, was arrested on Wednesday morning in relation to the shooting. He has been charged with first-degree intentional homicide in the fatal shooting . According to The New York Times, “Antioch is about 30 minutes southwest of Kenosha, just over the Illinois line. More details were expected during a news conference on Wednesday afternoon.”

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Latinas Are Forcing Themselves To Examine How They Are Showing Up For The Black Community

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Latinas Are Forcing Themselves To Examine How They Are Showing Up For The Black Community

Eze Amos / Getty

Months have passed since the deaths of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd but members of the Black community continue to fight against police brutality. While news reports of protests might have slowed down, it’s important to know that showing up for Black people has so much power.

Recently, we asked Latinas “How are we showing up for our Black brothers and sisters?” and the answers were pretty humbling.

Recognize the relative privileges we have

“This week has been so, so heavy, but we need to ask ourselves how we are showing up for the Black community outside of the weeks when headlines are grim and cities are on fire. How are we showing up for Black people in our everyday lives? 365 days a year? I am speaking specifically to my community here: [Non-Black] Latinxs, we have so far to go when it comes to protecting the dignity of our own people, I know. I know our people are also hurting. But we HAVE to recognize the relative privileges we have and the ways in which the Black community’s freedom is directly tied to our own. We all deserve dignity. We all deserve the ability to move through the world without fearing for our lives. Some of us haven’t ever had to worry about that—so what are we doing to help those who do worry for their safety and the safety of loved ones every single day? Please pay attention. Please speak out and hold the people in your life accountable. We are ALL responsible. We all need to be doing more—no matter our race or ethnicity. Please, let’s take care of each other.” – @ludileiva

Show up to protests

“Showing up to local peaceful protests and talking to my family and friends about how we need to stand together. It is my hope our black brothers and sisters will stand with us when we have to face our government on DACA and caged children.” – lil_yo11

Donate and give

“Definitely by donating, signing petitions, educating others on issues like this that affect the black community, posting about it, and speaking out when it happens. Our voices and actions definitely need to be heard during this time.”- belleza_xoxo

Continue to fight

“Many of us ARE. And we need to do even MORE. This hurts me because although there is colorism out there, there are also respectful and supporting people who want to do more and more. I hope more people saw that too. Anyways, my family and I will continue fighting strong for this movement. Because BLACK LIVES MATTER. THEY SURELY DO.” – mid.nicole

Hold others accountable

“By holding people accountable. By talking about privilege even if it makes people uncomfortable! Becoming part of the conversation because if you don’t and look the other way you are part of the problem. Make people uncomfortable! Make people realize that our system needs to be redone so justice can be served for our fallen brothers. Being black, being of color shouldn’t be a death sentence.” – koayafilm

Connect with others

“We are each other’s hope 🙏🏽 sharing on your story is great, but never forget the power of human connection. talk to people, have these conversations & hear the pain, empathy & hope in our voices.”- raquelmariaquintana

Educate ourselves and our families

“We show solidarity! There’s still so much racism within our own Latino community over darker skin color. I know because my abuela was Afro Latina.Things need to change. We need to educate our own families about racism. We need to sign petitions, donating, having conversations. I see many people quiet about what’s going on.” – angieusc7

Keep certain words out of your mouth

“Well we could start by abolishing the expressions “negro” y “negra” as a form of endearment to call for someone of dark complexion. I know some will say it’s a form of endearment, but it just degrades the person called upon by only identifying them by their skin colour. You are calling them by their complexion and therefore reducing a whole persons existence and achievements by the colour of their skin.” –christian.aaby

Hold your family accountable

“We have to stand up for each other especially during these times. I’m confronting my own family members who are getting away from the truth. We have to stand up for what we believe not speak negatively about what the reactions are.” – jenmarasc

Create posters for protests

“Creating posters to take to my local police department this Sunday to protest. Signed petition, called the DA, sent cards to the mayor and DA in support of their efforts and demanding criminalization!!! We need to speak louder. Getting involved in my community to provide breath work and yoga to the black community I live in!!” – mexicanameg

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