Country shuts down in protest against the president
Nicaragua has been in violent turmoil for nearly two months. Today marks another milestone as there is a national protest. For the next 24 hours, everything will be closed. Already highways have been restricted. Food has been scarce, foreign businesses are not importing into Nicaragua, people are suffering. There has been an unofficial curfew of 6pm. It is just too dangerous to be out on the streets after that. I was told that the Nicaragua I knew is now very different. It is a dangerous place to be. There are virtually no North Americans left in the country. Most missionaries have evacuated.
It all escalated when Ortega changed the benefits that retirees would receive. That was the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back. People came out in protest and the government responded with excessive force. There have been at least 135 killed in the last two months. The government is accused of using para military groups to attack protesters. Police are accused of not protecting the people.
In a call for change, the people decided to shut down everything. Stores, banks, transportation, businesses are all closed. In a country where many people buy food daily, this is difficult. If the national shut down endures, people will be hungry.
How does the church respond?
I talked with pastors Marco & Osman this week. When word came down of the national stoppage, they went to buy provisions for those who may have need. La Gracia (Grace Baptist Church) will have food available for those in their community who were not able to get food.
In the hour of crisis, the church seeks to point people to Christ!
View the video below for further insight of the conflict in Nicaragua: