The situation in Nicaragua is getting serious
The unrest started with reports that the government under the leadership of Daniel Ortega was planning to make some big changes to the social security system. Workers would have to pay more into the system, and older pensioners would have to pitch in more for their share of healthcare.
Tension reached a new level when a reporter was killed while doing a Facebook live video:
Travelers currently in Nicaragua are reporting looting, rioting, and road closures.
Here’s a video of buildings on fire in the town of Leon, Nicaragua:
Things aren’t likely to settle down anytime soon either…
The U.S. State Department just released a Level 3 travel advisor for Nicaragua:
Political rallies and demonstrations are occurring daily, often with little notice or predictability. Some protests result in injuries and deaths. Demonstrations typically elicit a strong response that includes the use of tear gas, pepper spray, rubber bullets, and live ammunition against participants and occasionally devolve into looting, vandalism, and acts of arson. Both the Government of Nicaragua and the U.S. Embassy in Managua are limited in the assistance they can provide.
Violent crime, such as sexual assault and armed robbery, is common. Police presence and emergency response are extremely limited outside of major urban areas. U.S. government personnel are prohibited from using public buses and mototaxis and from entering the Oriental Market in Managua and gentlemen’s clubs throughout the country due to crime. U.S. government personnel require special authorization to travel to the Northern and Southern Caribbean Coast Autonomous Regions due to crime and transportation safety concerns.
The U.S. State Department also has these suggestions regarding Nicaragua:
Shelter in place if your surrounding area is affected by demonstrations or move to a safer location if your current location is unsafe.
If you feel unsafe in Nicaragua, consider arrangements to depart the country.
Use caution when walking or driving at night.
Keep a low profile.
Do not display signs of wealth such as expensive watches or jewelry.
Be aware of your surroundings.
Review the Crime and Safety Report for Nicaragua.
U.S. citizens who travel abroad should always have a contingency plan for emergency situations. Review the Traveler’s Checklist.
While the situation in Nicaragua is dangerous, our thoughts and prayers are with the citizens of the country who are demonstrating for their freedom and rights.
We urge calm in #Nicaragua. Gov’t of Nicaragua should respect peaceful protesters’ right to free expression & assembly. Repressing protesters & censoring news are not consistent w/democracy. The Nicaraguan people deserve better.
— U.S. State Dept | Democracy, Human Rights, & Labor (@StateDRL) April 20, 2018
This is also some good advice from a business owner in Nicaragua:
If you’re in Nicaragua currently, please add your comments below to help people plan accordingly.