An education by fire: Nicaraguan medical student turned activist comes of age during deadly protests
One is a 22-year-old dental student. The other is a 20-year-old studying medicine.
Both are in Miami to raise awareness of the ongoing student-led street battles occurring in their native Nicaragua. They are also in the United States to raise funds to purchase medical supplies and to help pay for funeral services for those killed in the violent protests that are calling for an end to the Daniel Ortega government.
Since the political crisis first broke out in mid-April, at least 130 people have been killed, many of them teenagers and university students.
Citing security concerns, these student activists from National Autonomous University of Nicaragua (UNAN) asked to remain anonymous. The main campus in Managua has been taken over by young activists and become both a bunker for protesters and target for those trying to shut them down. One side uses roadblocks, homemade mortars and Molotov cocktails to defend their cause. The other unleashes bullets, arrests and torture tactics to repress them.
These activists said they believe Nicaraguans must find a solution without foreign military aid.
“This is a peaceful insurrection we are having in Nicaragua, and because it's peaceful we do not want any kind of intervention from another country,” said the dental student.
He said of the government response to the uprising: "It's a genocide."
The visiting students said they are moved by the overwhelming support from Miami's large exile community from across the Americas who have faced the same violent situations that threaten Nicaragua today. Their hope, they explained, is that Ortega succumbs to public pressure and resigns.
"I want to go back to my country," said the medical student. "I want to carry out my life the way I had it planned out in my country.”