Nicaragua’s government and opposition sectors have agreed via the Episcopal Conference to form a Truth and Security Commission to halt the violence that has plagued the country since mid-April.
Nicaragua: 9 Killed in Opposition-Led Violence Despite Dialogue
Overseen by international accompaniers, the 12-member commission’s main objectives are seeking an end to the ongoing protests and lifting the blockades that have choked the nation’s highways and brought the economy to a near standstill.
The groups involved in the national dialogue, which is being hosted by the Catholic church and has stalled at least twice, are due to meet again on Monday at 10 a.m. local time.
Proposals put forward by the commission will then be voted on in a plenary session, according to Cardinal Leopoldo Brenes, president of the Episcopal Conference of Nicaragua.
In a statement released late Saturday, Cardinal Brenes said: "We reiterate the urgency of the cessation of violence… Enough death."
Ortega’s surprise decision in April to slash pension benefits to cover a widening social security gap triggered demonstrations that quickly turned fatal and led to demands for his resignation.
The Nicaraguan Center for Human Rights, which has monitored the violence, said at least 170 people have so far been killed in the clashes between pro-Ortega forces and protesters armed with home-made mortars.
President Daniel Ortega ratified on Saturday his willingness to "listen to all proposals and initiatives, within the constitutional framework."
A shooting and fire in Nicaragua early on Saturday left eight people dead and shattered a truce struck hours earlier between Ortega and protesters.