Things That Matter

Hundreds Of Anti-Government Protesters Are Dead In Nicaragua And The People Are Crying Out For Help

The crisis in Nicaragua keeps escalating, with journalists, students, and anyone who stands up to the dictatorship are risking their lives to speak up. Nicaraguans are using the hashtag #SOSNicaragua to get the attention of the world to help their fight for libertad.

Some background: the current President Daniel Ortega, was a a student leader in the Sandinista de Liberación Nacional (FSLN), which overthrew then-dictator Anastasio Somoza Debayle. Today, a new uprising of students are reclaiming the Sandinista name and spirit that ousted the last dictator and their target is Ortega.

Here’s why.

In April 2018, President Daniel Ortega announced a “comprehensive social security reform.”

CREDIT: @nicadispatch / Twitter

Translation: workers and employers would have to contribute more to their social security and expect 5 percent less of the benefits. Protesters fled to the streets, only to be met with militarized police attacking citizens.

The protests weren’t simply about the social security announcement, as much as the policy change was the last straw. Many Nicaraguans are upset over government corruption and believe that government officials have been using citizens’ social security savings as their own petty cash.

More than 400 people are reported dead since the violent conflict began.

CREDIT: @nicadispatch / Twitter

“We are in the streets asking for Ortega and his wife to go. This has already gone beyond the social security issue. Here there have been dead, wounded, and he does not even apologize for his killings or the savage repression against the people,” Mauri Hernandez, one of thousands of demonstrators at a central rotunda told NBC News.

The scale of the police response has prompted even more unrest.

CREDIT: @Midori1900 / Twitter

Imagine if Trump set police on protestors at #FamiliesBelongTogether marches and you were actually risking your life to speak up? It would create a widespread crisis by anyone’s standards, and it would not be OK.

On top of that, anti-Sandinistas have created a paramilitary that is backed by Ortega.

CREDIT: @BlueLaurita / Twitter

Ortega contradicts himself in multiple statements regarding his aiding the paramilitia who have wounded or killed Nicaraguans, but the fact remains: the National Police and these armed gangs are working side by side.

Plus, a picture’s worth a thousand words.

Ortega cancelled the social security reform but, for months, citizens continue to call for Ortega to step down.

CREDIT: @twosixxx / Twitter

The movement is largely student-led, and the deaths are heart-wrenching. Even Oretega’s own hermano, who once led the Nicaraguan military, called for Ortega to disband the paramilitary just last week.

Then, last week, this happened:

CREDIT: @BretBaier / Twitter

FOX News gave Ortega a platform to speak into President Trump’s ear, and to millions of Americans. When asked why paramilitary are involved in protests against his government, he responded, “Turmoil has stopped and matters are becoming more normal, and there have been some demonstrations both in favor and against the government.”

Nicaraguans and Nicaraguan-Americans are using #SOSNicaragua to call attention to the crisis.

CREDIT: @CDiriangen / Twitter

Brett Baier actually responded to several people, and he did follow through on his promise to grill the leader, who did exactly as expected. He claimed that the people who have died reacted violently, and their murderers were not affiliated with his government.

Nobody bought it.

CREDIT: @nicadispatch / Twitter

One Nicaraguan even tweeted this photo and said, “Someone thought it would be a good idea for Daniel Ortega to give an interview to @BretBaier on Fox News. Someone was wrong. Ortega appeared demented, mendacious and cagado. #sosnicaragua”

Some people tried using Trump’s favorite social media platform to convince him to take action.

CREDIT: @OpaKoukla / Twitter

Y’know, since Trump just parrots everything he hears on FOX News, and Ortega called the paramilitary attacks “terrorism” in an effort to distance himself from the groups. In response to seeing a video of mothers crying over their sons’ bodies, he basically said it’s propaganda to scare people.

The White House responded with a resolution to sanction officials under the Ortega regime.

CREDIT: @MarcoRubio / Twitter

Marco Rubio aided in getting a resolution passed that would prevent Ortega officials from visiting the United States, while allegations of officials poisoning the food and water of students and journalists, and the continued state-led violence ensues.

It’s something, but it’s not enough.

Plus, there’s some confusion over what to call the rebels.

CREDIT: @roxana54755021 / Twitter

Some Nicaraguans consider themselves anarchist Sandinista, holding root to the original intent of the party, which was to overthrow corruption and dictatorship. But since Ortega ran under the Sandinista party, we’re not sure what the U.S. government means by this statement.

Protests escalated when an armed gang took over a Catholic church in Masaya, the battleground for freedom.

CREDIT: @vivanicaragua12 / Twitter

This video shows an armed gang beating down the iron gates of a church raiding it, while students and priests hide behind home-made barricades, meant to block the open fire of the pro-government militia.

After the event in Masaya, tens of thousands of Nicaraguans poured into the streets to support the Church.

CREDIT: @inesanma / Twitter

Catholic officials have been outspoken against Ortega while this brutality has taken place, and Ortega has blamed the Church for encouraging the protests. The Nicaraguan Catholic Church maintains that they are only encouraging dialogue and peace.

Which is why the U.S. decided to have an opinion.

CREDIT: @VoCommunism / Twitter

Thousands of people brutally injured and killed y nada ni nada from the U.S. government, but once a Priest is involved, then they’re humanized. Protestors kept chanting, “Queremos a nuestros Obispos como mediadores!” which means “We want our bishops as mediators!”

Nicaraguans who can’t be there on foot, are doing what they can using the #SOSNicaragua tag.

CREDIT: @rickJMoncada / Twitter

@rickJMoncada is tweeting this at anyone who has a platform to raise awareness around the crisis. Since April, more than 400 people are dead and more than 2,000 injured for resisting Ortega.

Others will carry the flag wherever they go.

CREDIT: @structures3 / Twitter

When you’re Nicaraguense, no matter how far away you are from the crisis, el dolor goes with you.

Nicaraguans at home are doing the work that journalists barely can…because they’re dying.

CREDIT: @NavyBullDog79 / Twitter

If you’re using the #SOSNicaragua hashtag, it’s because you’ve run out of options. If you’re tagging POTUS, Rubio and Pence, it’s because you’re so desperate for help from the country that has always helped free democracy in the past.

Public hospitals are allegedly refusing to treat anti-government protestor’s for their injuries at the hand of the paramilitary.

CREDIT: @gueguensa / Twitter

There was an instance when eight doctors were allegedly fired after they did treat injured protestors, in direct violation of the new rule. The government is turning its back on Nicaraguans.

Meanwhile, women have been at the front of the rebellion.

CREDIT: @brujamistica / Twitter

Oh, did we mention that last year Ortega announced that his wife would become his vice president? His 15 year term comes to an end in 2021, but many fear that she will proceed her husband, and he would still control the government.

Women are straight up defending their rights and turf however they damn well please.

CREDIT: @ComandanteMacha / Twitter

Because es la verdad que la revolución es feminista. Women are actually shooting mortars out into the walls of police officers.

Todavia, Ortega has refused to step down.

CREDIT: @_pizzacloud / Twitter

People continue to die. Mothers continue to bury daughters. Fathers continue to mourn their sons. Just like the revolution that started 40 years ago, young people are fighting for their lives, and many are losing. Nicaragua needs our help.

While we expect the violence to continue, we pray for paz en Nicaragua.

CREDIT: @AJEnglish / Twitter

What can we do? Raise awareness. Share this article, or any article that is telling the story of Nicaragua. Call your representatives and demand that the U.S. takes action. If corruption, nepotism, and authoritarianism can happen in Nicaragua, then it can happen here.

Estamos con Nicaragua. #SOSNicaragua.  ????????

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Costa Rica Became The First Central American Country To Make Same-Sex Marriage Legal

Entertainment

Costa Rica Became The First Central American Country To Make Same-Sex Marriage Legal

@paniaguaenri / Twitter

The country of Costa Rica just got a whole hell of a lot more bright and colorful.

The Central American country became the first to legally recognize same-sex marriage. In a post to his Twitter account, Costa Rican President Carlos Alvarado Quesada wrote in celebration of the day saying, “Today we celebrate liberty, equality, and our democratic institutions. May empathy and love be the compass that guide us forward and allow us to move forward and build a country that has room for everyone.”

The decision to ensure marriage equality came at the hands of an August 2018 ruling by the country’s Constitutional Court.

The decision ruled that laws preventing same-sex marriage were incongruent with the country’s constitution and therefore unconstitutional. After officially recognizing same-sex marriages, Costa Rican couples celebrated by holding weddings overnight.

“Costa Rica is celebrating today: marriage equality has become a reality in the country – the first one in Central America!” the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA World) wrote in a Twitter post. “We rejoice with you: congratulations to all those who worked so hard to make it happen!”

The Human Rights Campaign also celebrated the ruling while highlighting the need to ensure marriage equality around the world.

“Today, Costa Rica has made history, bringing marriage equality to Central America for the first time,” HRC President Alphonso David about the new lin in a statement according to CNN. “Costa Rica’s LGBTQ community has worked tirelessly for years to make today a reality. This victory is theirs, and it inspires the entire global LGBTQ community to continue fighting to move equality forward.”

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He’s Been Called The Greatest Latino Boxer Of All Time And Panamanian Boxer Roberto Duran Might Just Prove His Case In This Documentary

Entertainment

He’s Been Called The Greatest Latino Boxer Of All Time And Panamanian Boxer Roberto Duran Might Just Prove His Case In This Documentary

robertoduranbox / Instagram

No one can deny the impact Latinos have had in the sport of boxing. The rough upbringing of many young men from the region has led trainers and managers to generate a vast quantity of world champions. Names like Julio Cesar Chávez, Ricardo López Nava, Felix Tito Trinidad, Alexis Arguello, and Carlos Monzón bring tears of joy to fans from countries as diverse as Mexico, Puerto Rico, Argentina, and Nicaragua. Boxing champions encapsulate the dreams and aspirations of young Latinos. Because it is often the case that in our continent governments fail the population and each person has to fend for themselves, boxing has become a metaphor for individual progress amidst the most adverse circumstances. 

Roberto Durán is one of the most iconic boxers from Latin America to embody the fighting spirit of Panama.

Credit: Instagram. @robertoduranbox

Panamanian legend Roberto “Manos de Piedra” Durán broke into the Latin American and U.S. mainstream pop culture due to his volatile personality and the brutal precision of his fighting style. Now retired, Durán is again in the spotlight due to the release of the documentary “I Am Durán,” directed by Mat Hodgson and which features other personalities such as Oscar De La Hoya and Robert De Niro, a big fan of his.

So before you watch the documentary, here are some facts about the proud son of Panama. Keep your guard up!

He was born on June 16, 1951.

Credit: robertoduranbox / Instagram

He was born in Guararé, where his mother Clara Samaniego was from. His father was from Arizona in the United States and was of Mexican descent. 

He was abandoned by his dad when he was only 5-years-old.

Credit: robertoduranbox / Instagram

As a way of survival, his family could not keep him in school but rather had to send him to work in the streets as a shoeshine boy. Just like the Filipino great Manny Pacquiao, Durán learned the ropes of life in the streets. That made him hungry for success, a hunger he translated into surgically performed combinations in the boxing ring. 

He laced up the gloves when he was 8-years-old. 

Credit: robertoduranbox / Instagram

His fighting spirit was there from the beginning. He grew up in the slums of El Chorrillo, so he had to learn how to defend himself in the rough streets. He visited the gym Neco de La Guardia as a kid and the rest is history: before they knew it, he was up there in the ring sparring experienced boxers. What a chico maravilla

He began his pro career with 31 straight wins.

Credit: robertoduranbox / Instagram

Durán got a reputation of being a killer in the ring due to his hard punches, solid body frame and general toughness. He won the lightweight championship against Ken Buchanan in 1972 but lost for the first time that same year against Esteban de Jesus. The fight in Madison Square Garden was his Waterloo. Two years later he rematched De Jesus and knocked him out. It is important to note that the De Jesus fight was his sixth in 1972, so he was worn out. 

He was the first Latin American boxer to rule in four weight classes.

Credit: robertoduranbox / Instagram

Others would follow (the Mexican greats JC Chávez, Juan Manuel Márquez, and Travieso Arce), but Roberto was the first bad hombre from Latin America to rule in four weight classes. And he did so in a day and age when a world championship was hard to get (in today’s corrupt boxing world there are up to four champions per each one of the 17 weight classes, so being a champ is relatively easier). He also fought many fights scheduled for 15 rounds instead of the current 12. Even though his best years were at lightweight, he rules the following classes:  lightweight, welterweight, light middleweight, and middleweight. 

He made 12 defenses of the lightweight title.

Credit: robertoduranbox / Instagram

Roberto was practically indestructible for a period of time. He won eleven title defenses by KO and reached a record of 62-1. He gave up the lightweight title in 1979. He basically dominated world boxing in the 1970s with those hands of stone that sent opponents to sleep, one after an another. 

His biggest night: beating Sugar Ray Leonard in 1980 for the welterweight title.

Credit: robertoduranbox / Instagram

After vacating the lightweight title “Manos de Piedra” moved to welterweight. He defeated Carlos Palomino and Zeferino Gonzales, two tough opponents. Once comfortable in the new weight, he faced the golden boy of US boxing, Sugar Ray Leonard, in a fateful June 20 night in Montreal, Canada. Roberto’s relentless pressure broke down Sugar Ray. Thunder defeated lighting and Durán won by a unanimous decision. 

But then came the infamous “No Más.”

Credit: robertoduranbox / Instagram

After defeating Leonard “Manos de Piedra” became even more legendary. He went back to Panama and partied like there was no tomorrow. The rematch was fought in November. Leonard trained like a champ, while Roberto had to cut weight extremely fast and just wasn’t in the right frame of mind. Leonard was magnificent: he played with Roberto, mocked him, slipped the Panamanian’s punches and basically humiliated him. In the eighth round, Roberto turned his back to Leonard and said: “No sigo” (this were his actual words, although the infamous “No Mas” is how the event was remembered. 

He rebuilt his career.

Credit: robertoduranbox / Instagram

It would be hard for any sports figure to come back after such a meaningful defeat. It is not the same being knocked out after a valiant effort as quitting. It was such a disappointment not only for the fighter but also for his millions of fans. So what did the great fighter do? What all elite pugilists do: he came back with a vengeance. He defeated Wilfred Benitez and Davey Moore, two of the best fighters in the world.

He is one of the 1980s Magnificent Four.

Credit: robertoduranbox / Instagram

Boxing in the 1980s was defined by four greats: Roberto, Sugar Ray Leonard, Tommy Hearns, and Marvin Hagler. These four all fought each other and gave fans thrills. Roberto lost to Hearns by KO and to Hagler by a tough decision, but his name will always be attached to one of boxing’s golden eras. 

He fought until 2000.

Credit: robertoduranbox / Instagram

It is unusual for a fighter in this day an age to compete across four decades, but Durán did it. His professional debut was on February 23, 1968, and his last fight was a loss to Puerto Rican extraordinaire Hector Macho Camacho on July 14, 2000. At the end of his career, his record read 103 wins, 16 losses, and a whopping 70 KOs. Wow, just wow.

The debate continues: is he the greatest Latino fighter ever?

Credit: robertoduranbox / Instagram

That is hard to tell. The main contenders for this mythic title are here in this photograph with him: Mexicans Julio Cesar Chávez and Juan Manuel Márquez, who also faced myriad of champions and former champions over their storied careers. One thing is for certain, Roberto wrote his name on the annals of boxing history in golden letters. And he will never be forgotten.

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