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A man holds a Nicaraguan flag A man holds a Nicaraguan flag 

Nicaraguan crisis talks ‘at a standstill’

The spokesman for Nicaragua’s Bishops Conference says crisis talks with the government of Daniel Ortega have stalled, ahead of a deadline to release political prisoners.

By Devin Watkins

Bishop Mata Guevara, of Diocese of Esteli, has told the Fides news agency that the government of President Daniel Ortega has demonstrated no desire to resolve Nicaragua’s year-old crisis.

“We have said it several times: this regime does not have the political will to reach an agreement for the good of the country,” the Bishop says.

Political prisoners

The Catholic Church is helping to mediate talks between the opposition and Ortega’s government, and has repeatedly called for the release of political prisoners.

President Ortega promised the National Dialogue, as the talks are known, to free them within 90 days. The deadline expires on June 18th.

Opposition leaders claim more than 640 people are being held for political motives. Most were arrested during anti-government protests.

Unrest has wracked Nicaragua since demonstrations broke out against the government in April 2018. Some 325 people have died and more than 50,000 have fled the country.

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Talks at standstill

Despite the situation, Bishop Guevara says the government has “no intention of seeking a peaceful solution to the socio-political crisis”.

President Ortega, the Bishop notes, “is the only one responsible for the crisis in the country”.

Bishop Guevara also claims Ortega is gumming up the work of the National Dialogue.

“He is responsible for all the strikes in the country, for the violation of freedom of expression, for not allowing changes for the good of the citizenry, and for international sanctions,” the Bishop says.

Vice President Rosario Murillo has denied the claims of obstructing crisis talks, saying the government is doing its part at the negotiating table.

Meanwhile, the Ortega regime has reportedly removed its delegates from the talks for the past two weeks, and has cancelled an agreement that would have sped up the release of political prisoners.

14 May 2019, 15:36