District 12 Commissioner Jose Diaz’s constituents in Miami-Dade County comprise the largest population of Nicaraguans in the United States. On Tuesday, Diaz helped pass a resolution condemning the Nicaraguan government’s use of force against protesters. He specifically wants to see action from the U.S. Congress.
“There’s a lot of things the United States government could do, that’s why we’re asking them to do something. They could do sanctions, they could do all kind of different things that don’t result in boots on the ground from the U.S. military,” Diaz said.
In the past six weeks, over 100 anti-government protesters in Nicaragua were killed and over 800 were wounded by state police and third-party actors. Many of those killed were students. Protests began in mid-April after Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega announced a plan to cut pension benefits while increasing taxes. Demonstrations soon ballooned into a full-on anti-government movement. Police clashed with students, who fought back using stones and homemade mortars.
The Nicaraguan community in Miami is organizing to help people suffering on the ground. Sweetwater residents are fundraising monetary donations by selling homemade food and t-shirts. Other groups are organizing donations of medical supplies for the wounded.
Diaz’s resolution states that violence should never be used to suppress political opposition. It also says the U.S. government should take appropriate diplomatic action to restore public safety in Nicaragua. The resolution next goes to Congress and the Secretary of State. U.S. Senator Ted Cruz has already introduced a bill instructing U.S. directors at international financial institutions oppose any loan for the government of Nicaragua.
“People are being slaughtered for protesting against the government,” Diaz said. He said it is especially important for his constituents to make their voices heard when protesters in Nicaragua aren’t afforded the same luxuries.
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights condemned the Nicaraguan government for its actions against protesters and the U.N. urged the government to protect its citizens’ human rights.