Below is a letter, slightly abridged, from Julio Martinez, nephew of Robert Ellsberg, publisher of Orbis Books. Kitty Madden provided the initial paragraph in italics.
As a Maryknoll Affiliate who has been living and working in Matagalpa, Nicaragua for the past 32+years (3 of those years as a Maryknoll Lay Missioner), I totally concur with Julio’s letter of concern and am grateful for the careful documentation he provides as a way of helping to educate the Maryknoll community about the desperate situation of Nicaraguans today. Please also keep us in your daily prayers. (Kitty Madden)
As mentioned on the phone, the situation in Nicaragua hasn’t improved over the past 2 months, and the latest death toll has reached 285 since April 18th. I won’t describe the circumstances much, since you’ll read that in the articles, but I’ll at least mention that these deaths have occurred almost exclusively among unarmed protesters who were met by heavily-armed government forces.
While international press seems to be reporting fairly, we are seeing an unexpected response from progressive groups with historical ties to the Sandinista Party (because of what this party used to be during the 1980s), some of which go as far as touting government talking points and blaming the situation on a right-wing, CIA-funded campaign, rather than a popular uprising against government authoritarianism. This has us in Nicaragua very worried since the situation seems to be getting worse, and it is important for this government to be isolated internationally if it is expected to back down. This is why I was hoping that I could ask you for help. An important objective now is to get as many international progressive groups as possible, especially those that have historical ties to the Sandinista party, to denounce this government repression in Nicaragua, and where applicable, publicly cut ties with the party. If any of you had ties to these kinds of groups, and could help me get this message to them, i would be extremely grateful. I could facilitate any information that they would need in order to clarify, including getting them in touch with former Sandinista leaders (virtually all of whom are now against the regime) if that would help.
Please let me know if you would have any comments or questions and thank you so much for your help.
The Atlantic: The Unraveling of Nicaragua (June 6)
Amnesty International: Shoot to Kill: NICARAGUA’S STRATEGY TO REPRESS PROTESTS. (May 29)