MANAGUA, July 11 — Nicaraguan Vice President Rosario Murillo yesterday said her violence-wracked country is leaving behind its “darkness,” and defended her government’s deadly crackdown against protesters seeking the ouster of her husband, President Daniel Ortega.
Murillo spoke a day after hundreds of pro-government supporters broke into a church basilica in an opposition stronghold, Masaya, and following a weekend raid by a pro-government mob that left at least 14 people dead.
Activists accuse Ortega and his wife of establishing a dictatorship characterized by nepotism and brutal repression.
Murillo, a poet, has taken a hands-on role in her husband’s government since his Sandanista Front returned to power in 2007, and many refer to her as the real power in the Sandanista leadership.
“Our government is defending peace, the right to life and public safety... including the right to have people, vehicles and merchandise circulate freely,” Murillo told state media.
“That is our number one duty, and we are carrying it out,” she said, referring to the political opposition as terrorists.
“We are leaving behind a period of darkness.”
Roman Catholic bishops are working to mediate dialogue between the government and opposition in a bid to end the protests and government repression that have wracked the country since April 18.
More than 240 people have died, and demonstrators have set up blockades with concrete blocks and stones around the Central American country.
“It is Commander Daniel Ortega’s commitment to guarantee the right to public safety and living our lives that we had before the unrest,” Murillo said.
Ortega, a former leftist guerrilla, first came to power through a popular uprising in 1979. — AFP