Daniel Ortega’s Assault on Access to Healthcare in Nicaragua

By now, you’ve probably seen or read summaries of Daniel Ortega’s farcical, factually inaccurate TV interviews in both English and Spanish. This blog will only focus on on issue: access to healthcare.

Basically, the Ortega regime has worked hard to deny access to healthcare to individuals who don’t align with the ruling FSLN party. Here are some examples.

Conrado and Cruz Azul

On April 20, during protests, 15 year old Alvarado Conrado was shot in the neck. His parents took him to the nearest hospital in Managua: Cruz Azul (Blue Cross), near the Loma de Tiscapa and Busto Jose Marti. There, the hospital denied him entry and care despite the gravity of his injuries. He was then taken to the Baptist Hospital, but it was too late: he died.

Paramilitary Intimidation

The Ortega-Murillo regime has relied on masked men with semi-assault weapons in trucks and checkpoints to terrify the population. Think Islamic State, but Abu Bakr gives Fox News interviews in his spare time.

One of these checkpoints in Managua was near a hospital, where Brazilian medical student Rayneia Lima, in her last year, was doing her rounds. Sadly, on July 24, she was shot several times in her car by an individual with an M4 — a very powerful semi-assault rifle. Thus far, only paramilitaries have been seen in the streets with such powerful guns.

The police have tried to claim that Raneia was shot by a night watchman, however, the individual they have tried to blame — Pierson Solis — has not been in the military since 2009 and thus could not have had access to such a high caliber weapon.

The Ortega-Regime checkpoints serve to intimidate the population and sadly are likely behind the killing in cold blood of a medical student.

Trinidad Hospital Surrounded

In smaller towns where there is only one hospital or clinic, such as Trinidad, paramilitaries often surround the clinic and prevent injured protesters from getting life-saving medical attention. On July 3, this happened at La Trinidad hospital.

The paramilitaries surround the hospital as other irregular forces mount an attack, thus ensuring maximum fatalities.

Leon and Mass Firings

On July 28, at the HEODRA hospital in Leon, the Director fired 10 doctors, 12 nurses, and 13 staff employees. The Director, Judith Vargas, was secretly recorded and admitted that the mass firings were for political reasons. Basically, the doctors and nurses and staff had gone to protests against the Ortega-Murillo dictatorship.

More Doctors Fired?

Today, July 30, in the Hospital Brenes Palacios in Somoto, has threatened to fire staff, doctors, and nurses for political reasons as well: apparently, many of the employees at this hospital have gone to protests, supported protesters, and also supported the medical employees fired in Leon.

How you can help

There are two excellent in hospitals in Managua that have helped protesters: the Baptist Hospital and the Vivian Pellas Hospital.

If you don’t speak Spanish, you can go to TuNicaragua and donate food for the needy in their Donation Program. This service is done through the Catholic Church, one of the few institutions supporting protesters.