Political Violence in Nicaragua Reveals Broader Crisis

Political Violence in Nicaragua Reveals Broader Crisis

An edgy calm has settled over Nicaragua in the aftermath of political violence that erupted in Managua late last month. During a tense three-day period from April 19-22, supporters of Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega attacked opposition congressmen -- throwing stones and homemade mortars, burning vehicles, blockading roads, and forcibly denying the lawmakers' entry to the National Assembly, where the legislative body usually conducts business.

The immediate cause of the violence was Decree 03-2010. Issued by Ortega in January 2010, the decree allows for a number of public functionaries -- ranging from Supreme Court judges to congressmen and electoral commissioners allied with Ortega's Sandinista Party (FSLN) -- to remain in power beyond their 2010 term limits.

Not to be denied by Ortega's supporters, the Nicaraguan opposition met at a Holiday Inn on April 20, where they formed a quorum and overturned the controversial decree.

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