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Priests In The Nicaraguan Catholic Church Are Supporting Anti-Ortega Demonstrators Calling For His Removal

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After two weeks of violent and deadly protests, Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega has scrapped a proposed social security reform plan which would have increased taxes to workers and employers and reduced retired workers’ pensions. In response, the Nicaraguan Catholic Church called for peaceful marches. The church is also taking the position of mediator to address the cause of the protests. More than 60 people have died and over 400 have been injured in Nicaragua due to anti-government protests and most of the victims are students.

Many leaders in the country’s Catholic church support anti-Ortega protestors taking to the streets.

“The government has just one month to come through. If it doesn’t, the people will be told that it couldn’t,” Leopoldo Brenes, a cardinal in Nicaragua’s catholic church, told The Washington Post. Human rights groups have denounced the country’s response to protesters which has led to National Assembly president Gustavo Porras calling for the creation of a truth commission to look into the deaths and violence during the clashes.

The Nicaraguan government has not confirmed or denied casualty figures which has been estimated to include at least 60 dead and almost 400 injured.

Nicaraguans are demanding Ortega’s resignation and that of his wife, Vice President Rosario Murillo, describing them as oppressive and corrupt violators of human rights, civil rights and the freedom of the people. President Ortega who has held a tight grip on power since his election in 2007, has also seen his share of supporters who took to the streets on Monday to rally in his support.

“We must say no to death, no to destruction, no to violence, no to barbarity!” Ortega said to supporters during the rally, according to The Miami Herald. “Yes to life, yes to dialogue, yes to work , yes to peace!.”

Young people have been at the center of protests calling for the resignation of the President Daniel Ortega.

The protests were started by students at the Polytechnic University of Nicaragua in the capital city Managua. Peaceful protesters were attacked by police in an attempt to stop the students from voicing their discontent. This led to nationwide protests against the current government instead of just about the proposed social security changes.

As protests continue, the world is watching to see if Ortega and his wife will leave their position of power.

President Ortega has been in power for 17 years. First from 1984 to 1990 and he resumed power again in 2007 until now.

“He either lives in a civil way, obeying the law and stopping the brutality and the corruption, or he becomes the Nicaraguan version of the Ceaușescu,” Nicaraguan journalist Alvaro Cruz, editor of the Salvadoran newspaper Diario El Mundo, told the Miami Herald.

The reference of Ceaușescu is of Nicolae Ceaușescu, the last Communist leader of Romania. He and his wife were overthrown in 1989 by a revolution. They were tried and convicted by a court for their crimes against the Romanian people and were among the last people executed in Romania.


Read: Political And Civil Unrest Has Been Raging In Nicaragua After A Change Was Made To The Social Security System

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Mexico City Taxis Came Full Force To Block Major Streets And Tourist Attractions To Get Ride Sharing Apps Banned

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Mexico City Taxis Came Full Force To Block Major Streets And Tourist Attractions To Get Ride Sharing Apps Banned

@jcarlosbarman / Twitter

Taxi drivers came out in full force across Mexico City, blocking streets, tourist attractions, and major intersections. They’re protesting what they say is unfair competition from ride-sharing services like Uber, Cabify, and Didi.

They want the apps banned in Mexico.

Their bloqueos of some the city’s most important streets and attractions made news around the world.

Credit: @AFPMexico / Twitter

The taxistas started congregating in the zócalo (the city’s giant public plaza) around 6:30 am, while roadblocks started going up at 10:00 am all around the capital. and were expected to remain until noon. Drivers were even blocking major entry points to the city along highways from Pachuca, Toluca, and Cuernavaca.

Taxis were even suspending services in districts across the city.

The drivers complain that inconsistent regulation creates an uneven playing field for them to compete with ride-sharing, and want more robust regulation of their competitors. One of their biggest complaints is that taxis in Mexico City have to be painted a certain way – white and pink – which can cost up to MXN$2,500 (about $125 USD).

Several drivers said the ride-hailing apps have cost them 40% of their earnings.

According to some estimates, Mexico City is home to the world’s largest taxi fleet.

Credit: @fastpacific / Twitter

With that many cabs out there, it kinda makes sense how they were able to bring the city to a standstill with their demonstration.

Many across the capital were shocked by their tactics.

Credit: @pqblair / Twitter

Drivers would form giant groups of taxis and invade entire districts, intersections, plazas, and major tourist attractions. They succeeded at shocking residents and tourists alike while snarling traffic across the city of more than 20 million people.

At one point, taxi drivers enlisted the help of bus drivers to help block streets.

Credit: @lad_left / Twitter

Now imagine trying to get through the city’s narrow street or already traffic-chocked streets with gangs of taxis and giant buses…

Mexican Twitter was full of opinions on the taxi strike and taxi drivers themselves.

With the strike bringing much of the city to a standstill and the already negative attitudes towards taxistas in the city, many were not happy.

In an all too common sight in Mexico City, videos emerged of taxi gangs attacking Uber drivers.

These attacks on Uber drivers are nothing new. When the ride-sharing app first arrived in Mexico City, it was common for drivers arriving at the airport to be pelted with rocks.

And people are fed up.

Credit: @chromaticexplor / Twitter

Most people on Twitter had the same feelings and thoughts – either evolve with the industry or you’re going to go extinct.

Residents were quick to call out the taxi drivers on social media for the reasons why they’re losing to Uber.

Credit: guruchuier / Twitter

Basically saying that if drivers cleaned their cars, were friendly, and didn’t try to rob you with high fares, they wouldn’t have to worry about competition from Uber.

The memes out on Mexican Twitter in response to all of this were pretty amazing.

Credit: @lapnayh / Twitter

Translation: “It’s not you, it’s your bad service.”

And apparently, the taxi strike happened to fall on World Bike Day…

Credit: @BiciManager / Twitter

Leading many to suggest taking your commute into your own hands while helping the environment – ride a bike!

All of this had many dreaming of a Mexico City without taxis.

And the people were totally here for it.

As Nicolas Maduro Dances In Celebration, Protests Turn Violent In The Streets Of Venezuela

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As Nicolas Maduro Dances In Celebration, Protests Turn Violent In The Streets Of Venezuela

Edilzon Gamez / Getty Images

The crisis in Venezuela shows no signs of improving as violence erupted at several points along Venezuela’s border over the weekend. Armed government forces tried to block shipments of aid from entering the country that resulted in the death of four people and injuring countless more. Soldiers threw tear gas and rounds of rubber bullets at protesters who tried to bring boxes of aid across the neighboring Colombian and Brazilian borders. The aid, which came from the U.S, is desperately needed right now as thousands are in urgent need of food and medicine.

Venezuela is on the brink of a humanitarian crisis with no end in sight.

Maduro, pedazo de malnacido, sabíamos que eres incompetente, ignorante, farsante, dictador, marioneta, corrupto, narco, cobarde, criminal, pero ahora ya sabemos que eres el asesino criminal del pueblo venezolano. Que Dios te maldiga y te fulmine. Y pronto!!! pic.twitter.com/joCgq95feX— Miguel Bosé (@BoseOfficial) February 23, 2019

This is all happening as as embattled president Nicolás Maduro tries to withstand opposition from within Venezuela and other international leaders who’ve called for him to step down. Venezuela’s opposition leader Juan Guaido, who is being supported by the U.S., backed the efforts of the incoming aid. Maduro has rejected the help and called upon military forces to stop people from getting to the aid, this resulted in a clash with activists at the Venezuelan border on Saturday.

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“They started shooting at close range as if we were criminals,” Vladimir Gomez, a shoekeeper told NBC News. “I couldn’t avoid the (rubber) bullets and they hit me in the face and my back. We have to fight.”

Trucks carrying aid have been torched as Maduro has attempted to stop help from coming into the country.

A truck in a convoy attempting to deliver humanitarian aid into Venezuela from Colombia went up in flames and crowds started taking boxes of supplies from another truck, as Nicolas Maduro has refused to allow any kind of international aid in the country. https://t.co/nmlqoBh818 pic.twitter.com/KUIIgqe52p— ABC News (@ABC) February 25, 2019

Three trucks of aid caught on fire along border checkpoints at the Santander and Simón Bolivar bridges that connect Venezuela to Colombia. Venezuelan authorities blamed pro-opposition protestors for burning the aid trucks and for attacking Venezuelan security authorities on the bridges. Maduro has previously said the aid is not needed and called those trying to help bring it in to the country “traitors.”

While all this was happening, Maduro was dancing it up at a pro-regime rally.

Maduro dances on national TV as national guards fire tear gas and plastic pellets at crowds trying to move humanitarian aid into the country along the Colombian border pic.twitter.com/4u4zEHDixi— Patricia Laya (@PattyLaya) February 23, 2019

Video captured Maduro dancing with his wife during a pro-regime rally Saturday in the Venezuelan capital of Caracas. The scene was criticized by many as turmoil in the streets turned deadly. Even as Maduro starts to lose power within his own country, he has remained defiant in his refusal to give up control.

Maduro has now broken off diplomatic and political relations with Colombia because of their support of the U.S. move to bring aid. He has ordered all Colombian diplomats to leave Venezuela.

The U.S has now placed more sanctions on Venezuela, asking for Maduro to step down.

Vice President Pence announces new sanctions against Venezuela’s Maduro in speech from Colombia https://t.co/Se2XijM7Bv— TIME (@TIME) February 25, 2019

On Monday, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence met with Venezuelan Guaido to show the country’s support. The meeting was the first between Pence and Guaido since the US decided to publicly back him as the rightful Venezuelan leader about a month ago. While President Trump has previously said “all options are on the table” when it comes to Venezuela, the U.S. will try to diplomatically take down Maduro first.

“In the days ahead as well, the United States will announce even stronger sanctions on the regime’s corrupt financial networks. We will work with all of you to find every last dollar that they’ve stolen and work to return it to the Venezuelan people,” Pence said at the meeting with Guaidó.

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One thing is clear, the people in Venezuela are facing turmoil beyond just the rule of Maduro. The country is facing economic downfall due to inflation and a government that is denying help. If Guaidó and other opposition forces are too succeed, they will need restore hope back to the people of Venezuela.

Esperanza Rodriguez, 49, had worked as a Venezuelan police offer for 19 years before leaving the job. She was at the border where she asked security to allow the aid in. Rodriguez told the LA Times the people in Venezuela are suffering and change is desperately needed.

“This is just the first step. We need to get rid of Maduro and his corrupt government and start a new Venezuela.”

READ:What You Need To Know About The Growing Turmoil In Venezuela That Has Left At Least 40 People Dead

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