By NAN Travel Editor
News Americas, WASHINGTON, D.C., Weds. June 13, 2018: The U.S. government is warning Americans against travel to the Central American nation of Nicaragua as the death toll from protests there moved to 146.
The U.S. State Department on Monday, June 10th, says nationals should “reconsider travel to Nicaragua due to crime, civil unrest, and limited healthcare availability.”
Many of the 146 have been killed in the socio-political crisis in Nicaragua that began the 55 days ago in protest against President Daniel Ortega, according to the Nicaraguan Center for Human Rights (Cenidh).
Rallies and demonstrations are widespread and occur daily with little notice,” the US State Department OSCAC stated Monday. “In many instances the government responds using tear gas, pepper spray, rubber bullets, and live ammunition, leading to significant numbers of deaths and injuries.”
The advisory also said that “looting, vandalism, and acts of arson often occur during unrest, including in tourist areas” and said road blocks, including in Managua and other major cities, may limit availability of food and fuel and access to the Augusto C. Sandino International airport in Managua.
The US also said that hospitals around the country are inundated with victims of violence and lack the capacity to respond to other emergencies; criminals are in charge of some of the road blocks and violent crime, such as sexual assault and armed robbery, is common and has increased as security forces focus on the civil unrest even as police presence and emergency response are extremely limited.
“The perpetrators are often government-controlled thugs in civilian clothing, sometimes using vehicles without license plates,” the OSCAC statement added, while noting that government authorities detain protesters, and some people have disappeared even as human rights groups have documented credible claims of torture of detainees.
On April 23, 2018, the U.S. government ordered the departure of U.S. government family members and authorized the voluntary departure of U.S. government personnel.
The protests against Ortega began on April 18th for failed social security reforms and escalated into a request for his resignation after he is eleven years in power with accusations of abuse and corruption.