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Civil Unrest in Nicaragua Increasingly Violent; Stranding Panamanian Truck Drivers

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Stranded Panama truckers at risk in Nicaragua

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The  lives of dozens of Panamanian truck drivers stranded in Nicaragua for over a week  weekare at risk  and the president of the National Chamber of Freight Transportation, Rene Paredes, is urging  Panama authorities to urgently find ways to get them out.

He said that the security conditions of the transporters, as well as their

equipment and the load are unsustainable as every hour passes, hence the urgency for  protection measures be adopted quickly.

He said  the situation in Nicaragua, especially security is very unstable.

“Protesting  groups have already tried to open the containers with food or dry merchandise, that’s why you need to take steps get them out of there, said Paredes.

More than 7,000  trucks are stranded in different parts of the Central American country, which It involves more than $70 million in merchandise and goods.

José Infante, a Panamanian carrier, pointed out that the situation is the same as the first day, nobody has  move from the point where they have been. The Panamanians are in the Jinotepe area.

Relatives said the truck drivers are already without food, fuel and in precarious conditions.

 

http://www.newsroompanama.com/news/panama/stranded-panama-truck-drivers-at-risk-in-nicaragua

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We might get some grief on this major incident since it is not Chiriqui specific but what is going on 516 Km north of Panama is very concerning!

Virtually no media coverage on the deaths and injuries of unarmed civilians. What are they waiting for? Mass refugee exodus into Costa Rica and then Panama? We have friends there and the reports on Facebook are heart-wrenching!

https://www.thedailybeast.com/facing-down-the-death-squads-of-nicaragua-33?source=facebook&via=desktop

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/jun/10/barricades-draw-battle-lines-over-nicaraguas-revolutionary-heritage

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2 hours ago, TwoSailors said:

We might get some grief on this major incident since it is not Chiriqui specific but what is going on 516 Km north of Panama is very concerning!

Normally yes, but the civil unrest in Nicaragua IS impacting Panamanian truck drivers, so you are "good to go" with your reply. (Maybe we are liberally interpreting the CL rules here a bit, but there is a nexus with Panama.)

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Central America and The Cost of the Crisis

With the paralyzation of the cargo transport and the retention of about 6 thousand units in Nicaragua, the region is starting to feel the effects of a crisis with no potential solution in the short term.

Monday, June 11, 2018

The crisis in Nicaragua has created high costs in all countries in the region, as according to the latest report it is estimated that at least some 6,000 heavy cargo vehicles are trapped due to the violence and blockades that have intensified in the last weeks.

In order to avoid getting trapped on Nicaraguan roads, last weekend the National Customs Authority of Panama suspended departure of cargo that is distributed by land from the Colon Free Zone to almost all of Central America.

See articles from La Prensa de Nicaragua: "More than 6,000 international cargo trucks trapped in Nicaragua" and "Panama halts cargo shipments to Central America due to crisis in Nicaragua"

For its part, the Costa Rican industrial sector, " ... suggested respectfully to the Government of the Republic, to Chancellor Epsy Campbell, that it would be appropriate and timely to analyze a call to the relevant international organizations, such as the OAS, in the corresponding forums, so that the Nicaraguan situation can be acted on quickly".

See also "Complicated Economic Outlook" and "Regional cargo transport trapped in Nicaragua".

From a statement issued by the Chamber of Industries of Costa Rica:

Monday June 11, 2018.  The Chamber of Industries of Costa Rica respectfully suggested to the Government of the Republic, to Chancellor Epsy Campbell, that it would be appropriate and timely to analyze a call to the pertinent international organizations, such as the OAS, in the corresponding forums, to to act quickly over the situation in Nicaragua, which if not addressed urgently, could get even more out of hand. The ICRC also recognized and celebrated that the Government of Costa Rica has been in a position to call for a dialogue that will lead Nicaragua to recovering the peace it has lost. 

The blockades are affecting the Costa Rican industrial sector. The sector explained that the obstruction of the free transit of merchandise is already sensitively affecting exports to Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala.

Read full release (in Spanish).

 

https://www.centralamericadata.com/en/article/main/The_Cost_of_the_Crisis_for_Central_America

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Hopefully, it will be resolved and the business leaders are applying pressure to Ortega!

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The following comment is the first-hand experience of our friends in Nicaragua that was posted on our blog this morning:

  1. I am sitting here this morning, the day of the National Strike, sipping my coffee and sobbing while reading your heartfelt post. The parrots are chirping. I hear the howler monkeys in the distance, and the symphony of roosters crowing across the island. The ferries that signal the beginning of our day as they chug past our house stopped running in solidarity with the paro (strike). Until I read the horrifying news on the internet each morning, all appears normal.
    Yet, nothing is normal. No one is safe.
    I compare Nicaragua to the wild, wild west. Lawlessness abounds and the national police and paramilitaries ride around in unmarked Toyota trucks, masked and armed with Ak 47s, shooting indiscriminately at unarmed defenseless citizens. Their only protection is to build a roadblock, or tranque, from the “Somoza” stones that pave their streets and highways. I watched a video of mothers and grandmothers armed with pots and pans, banging those pots furiously to chase away a group of armed thugs. They sit behind their tranques during the late afternoon and sing hymns, while praying for the massacres to stop.
    Rumors are rampant! We live with stress and uncertainty daily. Last night, Jinotepe was attacked. The police flew drones to find the tranques, and then tore them down and walked the streets shooting into people’s homes. I heard they flew a plane over Jinotepe and sprayed pesticides over the city, but as of this morning that is unconfirmed.
    What madness! The atrocities are unbelievable. One of my friends said, “This is not a crisis, it is a catastrophe.”
    I fear for my friends and the lovely Nicaraguans who have adopted us into their lives. I cry for the people because they have no options. Costa Rica has eased visas for Nicaraguans to enter. Hundreds of Nicaraguans are applying for passports so they can escape with their children and families to CR. Our goddaughter, who was in her third yr. at UNAN university in Leon is going to CR to live with her aunt. We gave her money to go to Managua to apply for a passport, but because of all the roadblocks and danger, she cannot get to Managua.
    Meanwhile, the Nicaraguans I love, wait. They wait for peace, they wait for food and gasoline, they wait for an end of their suffering. I sob, I cry out for help for Nicaragua. But, we can wait no longer. It is tragic!
    PS, I haven’t written much on my blog recently, but I hope to spread the stories of my friends after we leave.

     

    http://latitudeadjustmentblog.com/2018/06/14/nicaragua-crisis/

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Nicaraguan protests strand truckers, hit Panama economy

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Panama trucking companies with vehicles  trapped in Nicaragua by the anti-government demonstrations have lost over $!00 million and put another dent in Panama’s economy, René Paredes, president of Panama’s Chamber of Transportation and (Canatraca), told the newspaper La Prensa de Nicaragua

nicaragua-1-300x93.jpgMost of the Panamanian transporters remained trapped in Nicaragua until the end of last week, due to the demonstrations against Daniel Ortega’s government, which have led to over 150 deaths.

The president of  Panama’s Chamber of Commerce,  Gabriel Barletta, said that the priority is for truckers to return to the country as soon as possible. Some have been stranded for  up to three weeks

“It’s definitely a negative effect [for the national economy] because we cannot be exporting products,” Barletta said. “We have an industry that is stopped right now, but the main thing is that Panamanians can return to their homeland as soon as possible.”

According to the Foreign Ministry, 16 of the trapped transporters have managed to move towards the border with Costa Rica.

The news agency EFE reported that there were between 150 and 200 Panamanian truckers initially trapped on the roads of Nicaragua, while the Foreign Ministry reported that until last Friday it had contacted some 70 transporters through a support center that was activated for that purpose.

For weeks, groups demanding the resignation of the Nicaraguan president and his wife and vice president, Rosario Murillo, blocked roads to pressure the government.

Some trapped truckers told local television station Telemetro that they had not received help from the Panamanian embassy but Analuisa Bustamante, director of Economic Relations of Panama’s,  Foreign Ministry said that the stranded transporters have been assisted with food and medicines. but stressed that it is not always possible to access the areas where they are trapped.

The National Customs Authority has suspended shipment of cargo from the Colon Free Zone to Nicaragua as long as the conflict persists in the Central American country.

 

http://www.newsroompanama.com/news/latin-america/nicaraguan-protests-strand-truckers-hit-panama-economy

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Panama and Costa Rica urge "multilateralism" and end of violence in Nicaragua

Fri, 06/22/2018 - 13:59

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Panama and Costa Rica today urged "multilateralism" and "dialogue" as the only way out of the sociopolitical crisis that has plagued Nicaragua for two months and called for the "immediate" end of violence, which has already killed 200 people in that country.

The vice presidents and chancellors of Panama and Costa Rica, Isabel de Saint Malo and Epsy Campbell, respectively, held a meeting on Thursday in the Panamanian capital and addressed the "concern" that
the Nicaraguan conflict generates in the region.

"There is a lot of concern for Nicaragua. We do not see that violence is really ending, which is the most important thing, to safeguard life and human beings,. We rely on dialogue," De Saint Malo said.

Campbell, meanwhile, said that Costa Rica "has an inter-institutional strategy" to address the crisis not only from the migration point of view, but also to counteract the "economic impacts" that this causes in the region, where each month “more than 5,000 cargo trucks” travel.

The Costa Rican vice president recalled that the country has offered "courtesy diplomatic visas" for relatives of diplomats in Nicaragua and that "one of these families has already begun the formalities"

"The approach is a democratic solution to seek bridges so that there is no more bloodshed, call for compliance with the recommendations of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), guarantee  ceasefire and, of course, use multilateralism as the way to contribute to the situation in Nicaragua," she said.

"It is the only way and it is our responsibility," said Campbell, who is undertaking her first official trip abroad since the Costa Rican government of President Carlos Alvarado began on May 8.

Nicaragua is plunged into its bloodiest crisis since 1980, when President,Daniel Ortega was also in office, and has been suffering daily for two months, anti-government protests that are brutally repressed by the police and paramilitary groups.

The demonstrations, which have left more than 200 victims, began with failed social security reforms and became a demand for Ortega’s ouster. Ortega has been in office for eleven years.

The outgoing president of Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos, asked on Wednesday the secretary general of the Organization of American States (OAS), Luis Almagro, and the Permanent Council of that organization to
intervene in the crisis "to refrain that conflict to continue growing and causing victims".

The Permanent Council of the Organization of American States (OAS) will hold an extraordinary session this Friday to address the conflict in this Central American country, since it has killed at least 200 people.

In that session, the IACHR will present a report on its visit last May to Nicaragua and the findings and recommendations on the current crisis.

In its preliminary report, presented last May 21, in Managua, the IACHR stated that during its four-day field visit it found evidence of "serious human rights violations" with "at least 76 people dead" at that time.

 

http://www.panamatoday.com/panama/panama-and-costa-rica-urge-multilateralism-and-end-violence-nicaragua-7153

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