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Nicaraguan president accuses businessmen of conspiring against his government

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Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega greets to supporters during an event celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Sandinista Revolution, at Juan Pablo II square in Managua, Nicaragua July 19, 2019. REUTERS/Oswaldo Rivas

Nicaraguan businessmen are financing an opposition “conspiracy” against the government in the wake of the deadly 2018 protests, President Daniel Ortega claimed.

Last year’s demonstrations over planned cuts to welfare mushroomed into a popular uprising that left more than 300 people dead and 2,000 wounded, according to rights groups, after a brutal crackdown.

There are businessmen “who are still in the conspiracy, who continue to finance the conspiracy,” 73-year-old Ortega said during an event in the capital Managua on Friday.

Ortega was talking about representatives of the Higher Council of Private Enterprise (Cosep) who supported last year’s opposition protests, distancing themselves from the president following his orders to violently repress the demonstrators.

The business union is now part of two opposition alliances — formed after the April protests — that want to resume talks with the government to resolve the crisis, as well as bringing forward the date of the next election to shorten Ortega’s rule.

But Ortega — who ruled in the 80s during the revolution before returning to power in 2006, winning elections in 2011 and 2016 in processes challenged by the opposition — has refused to move the elections forward.

He argued the opposition’s demands are promoted by the “small groups of terrorists (opponents) that are fed by businessmen.”

Adding businessmen “must comply with the established norms” and “do not come with the story that political dialogue must be made, that elections must be advanced.”

Ortega’s remarks following Washington and now the European Union’s decision to approve sanctions over human rights abuses and repression.


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