Right-wing coup or popular revolt? The April 2018 Nicaraguan uprising examined

Nichols, Dick
Date Written:  2018-11-16
Publisher:  Links: International Journal of Socialist Renewal
Year Published:  2018
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX23137

Description of a report on the causes of the April 2018 conflict in Nicaragua.



This document investigates the causes of the student protests that broke out on April 18 against the Nicaraguan government's decree changing the regulations governing the country's Institute for Social Security (INSS). The subsequent conflict has to date claimed at least 269 lives.

The research focuses on the period from April 18 to April 30 because what actually happened in these first days of the conflict is key to reaching a conclusion about which of two opposing accounts of its cause is most believable. The first account is that of the Nicaraguan government. This is that the events amounted to an attempt at a right-wing coup against a democratically elected administration , a coup successfully defeated with the minimum possible use of force. The INSS changes were merely a pretext for launching the coup attempt. For the opposition, by contrast, the events amounted to a revolt against a regime that suppressed protest with violence: police and paramilitary forces using military-grade weaponry were deployed to crush peaceful demonstrations that in reaction to state repression escalated into a popular uprising for justice and democracy.

In this document this difference is called the "core issue in dispute", so as to distinguish it clearly from the many other questions on which there are conflicting points of view between the Nicaraguan government, the opposition and the human rights organisations that have investigated the events. These events include atrocities and attacks on property that have been broadcast on the mainstream media and the social networks. They have been used as evidence by both sides of the conflict and by their supporters, nationally and internationally.

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