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.”

@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.

@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.

@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.

@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.

@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:

@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.

@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.

@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.

@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.

@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.

@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.

@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.

@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.

@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.

@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.

@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.

@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.

@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.

@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.

@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.

@_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.

@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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Two Weeks Ago He Lost His Home To Hurricane Eta And Now Hurricane Iota Threatens His Entire Community

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Two Weeks Ago He Lost His Home To Hurricane Eta And Now Hurricane Iota Threatens His Entire Community

Once again, the year 2020 is delivering a shocker but this time it‘s in the form of devastation caused by a record-breaking hurricane season. So far, the 2020 Atlantic Hurricane season, which is set to end on Nov. 30, has had 30 named storms, 13 of them hurricanes. And six of those hurricanes were considered “major”— Eta and Iota among them — meaning they were Category 3 or higher.

Meteorologists have been forced to use the Greek alphabet to name the new systems after having exhausted the 21-name list that is prepared for each hurricane season. The last time the Greek alphabet was used was in 2005, when there were 28 storms strong enough to be named.

Now, as Hurricane Iota ravages Central America, it’s becoming clear that an imminent humanitarian catastrophe is setting up across the region.

Hurricane Iota is ravaging Central America just two weeks after communities there were hit by Hurricane Eta.

Late on Monday, Hurricane Iota made landfall as a powerful and “extremely dangerous” Category 4 hurricane. Aside form the catastrophic winds and life-threatening storm surge, the hurricane is impacting already devastated communities recently hit by Hurricane Eta.

People across Central America will feel the impacts of this record breaking storm, which is expected to produce up to 30 inches of rain in some areas of Nicaragua and Honduras through Friday. The intense rainfall could lead to significant flash flooding and mudslides in higher elevations, the hurricane center said.

Dozens of Indigenous communities were evacuated throughout the weekend in Nicaragua and Honduras, where the military shared pictures on Twitter of soldiers helping people out of stilted wooden homes and carrying them to safety. One of the soldiers stood in knee deep water, holding a resident’s pink backpack in the same arm as his service weapon.

The forecast, at least, offers some hope for those in Iota’s path. The National Hurricane Center expects the storm to rapidly weaken over the next 36 hours as it moves toward El Salvador across the mountainous terrain of inland Nicaragua and Honduras.

Honduras was hit particularly hard by Hurricane Eta.

Central America is still reeling from Hurricane Eta, which struck less than two weeks ago and made landfall about 15 miles from where Iota did. Aid workers are still struggling to reach communities cut off by washed-out bridges, downed trees and flooded roads.

According to the Red Cross, more than 3.6 million people across the region have been affected by the storms.

Antonio Herrera told Mitú in an interview that his modest home had already been reduced to rubble by Eta. Herrera and his daughter were staying in an improvised shelter but it’s directly in the path of Hurricane Iota. A GoFundMe has been setup to help Herrera and his family recover from the devastation wrought by both hurricanes.

“This Hurricane Iota is a monster,” he said. “After Eta and the damaged it caused, I’m afraid for all of us.”

Herrera added that even without a disaster devastating the region, Honduras is a country where half the population doesn’t have enough food to eat. And now, because of Hurricane Eta, Herrera counts himself among that group of Hondurans.

He adds that, “Honduras is a challenging place just to make sure that the everyday needs are met. And of course, all of this happening during a global pandemic — no possibility of social distancing, obviously, in those sheltering situations.”

Many Central American leaders are blaming climate change for the disasters and are seeking international aid.

Credit: Josue Decavele/Getty Images

As the region is pummeled by storm after storm, the leaders of Honduras and Guatemala have called for in increase in international funding to help combat the effects of climate change – which are having an outsized impact on the region.

“Central America is not the producer of this climate change situation,” the president of Honduras, Juan Orlando Hernández, said at a news conference. “Instead, we are the most affected.”

President Orlando has called on the United Nations to declare Central America as the region most affected by climate change worldwide.

“Hunger, poverty and destruction do not have years to wait,” said Alejandro Giammattei, the Guatemalan leader. “If we don’t want to see hordes of Central Americans looking to go to countries with a better quality of life, we have to create walls of prosperity in Central America.”

Disclaimer: The author of this story has a personal connection with Antonio Herrera, a victim of these storms in Honduras mentioned in this story. The GoFundMe for Herrera was created before this story was written but was included as many GoFundMe fundraisers are when relevant.

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Hurricane Iota Slams Into Central America As Region Tries Recovering From Hurricane Eta

Things That Matter

Hurricane Iota Slams Into Central America As Region Tries Recovering From Hurricane Eta

Update November 19, 2020

As Central America works to recover from Hurricane Eta, the region was devastated again by Hurricane Iota. Hurricanes of this strength this late in the season are extremely rare. The death toll is coming in from the storm battered region.

Nicaragua and other Central American countries are reeling from a second massive storm.

More than 40 deaths have already been reported from Hurricane Iota. Hurricane Eta killed 189 people across several countries in Central America. Iota made landfall in Nicaragua as a stronger storm than Eta, which also made landfall in Nicaragua. Much like Eta, Iotas has triggered landslides in the region. The devastation left by the two storms is in the billions as rescues are currently underway to find hundreds of missing people.

“I think you’re going to be seeing an increase in migration month after month after month because of the compounding nature of this,” Giovanni Bassu regional representative for Central America for the UN refugee agency (UNHCR), told Reuters.

Update November 6, 2020

Hurricane Eta slammed into Nicaragua as a Category 4 hurricane with sustained winds of 140 mph. It quickly dropped to a Category 2 but continued to bring devastating rains to the rest of Central America for days. About 50 people in Central America have died.

Central America is reeling from the devastating impact of Hurricane Eta.

Hurricane Eta made landfall Nov. 3 as a Category 4 storm. Millions of Central Americans were in the path of the storm that brought devastating winds and rains. Landslides throughout the area have resulted in dozens of deaths and the rain has left tremendous flooding from Panama to Guatemala.

The storm has now shifted and is passing over Cuba before hitting Florida Monday. The storm is bringing similarly devastating floods to the Caribbean island.

There are ways to keep helping the victims of Hurricane Eta.

Several NGOs and humanitarian organizations are already taking donations to help those affected by the storm. If you would like to help, there is also a GoFundMe raising money for the Ruth Paz Foundation. You can also donate to Food For The Poor, which is sending aid to Hondurans affected by the storm.

The recent hurricane season has been intense and filled with powerful storm. The latest storm to make landfall is Hurricane Eta. The story made landfall in Nicaragua as a Category 5 hurricane bringin devastating winds and rain.

A Category 4 hurricane made landfall in Nicaragua as the U.S. presidential election was fully underway.

Hurricanes this late in the year are very rare. More rare is the intensity the storm develop so close to shore. Hurricane season in the Atlantic is June to November but 2020 has been a very active season. There have been 12 named hurricanes, five of which were Category 3 and above.

Images of Hurrcane Eta show a storm rapidly intensifying right before making landfall.

The hurricane has sustained winds of 140 mph when it made landfall and has dropped since. Eta is currently a Category 2 hurricane and is hovering over Central America bring more wind and rain damage. Honduras, Guatemala, and Belize are all feeling the storm as it slowly makes its way through Central America.

Eta is the third major hurricane since October.

Part of Nicaragua’s coastline experienced 21-foot storm surges as the country braced for the storm. Hurricane warnings covered 150 miles of Nicaragua’s coastline. More than 1 million people were affected by the the storm that is expected to make its way to Florida on Monday as a tropical storm.

Some Twitter users have been able to share some of the damage being done.

The storm started to create flooding and wind damage before making landfall. The storm was so strong before landfall that various countries were feeling the effects as it moved through the Caribbean.

If you want to help those affected, you can start with the American Red Cross.

The American Red Cross is already mobilizing to help the people of Central America. We will update you as more organizations start efforts to help Central America recover from this hurricane in the midst of a pandemic.

READ: Mexican Couple Hailed As Heroes For Saving 10 Dogs From Flooding Caused By Hurricane Hanna

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