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US Tells Diplomats Relatives to Leave Nicaragua ASAP

The United States ordered today that relatives of its diplomats working in Nicaragua immediately leave the country, mired in protests against the government of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo.

The State Department also authorized the departure of personnel who so wish in the face of the situation in the Central American country, where government shock forces and riot police are repeatedly attacking the protestors.

The State Department also discouraged US citizens from traveling there and told those with a trip scheduled to reconsider going at this time.

“Political rallies and demonstrations take place daily, often announced on short notice, with some protests resulting in injuries and deaths,” said the statement issued by the State Department.

“The US embassy in Managua will stop providing services to the public with the exception of emergencies or by telephone,” noted the statement.

The protests began last week over a highly unpopular reform of the social security law, including a tax on pensions and higher worker and business contributions, imposed by decree by the Ortega government.

Ortega announced on Sunday the repeal of the reform in a meeting with concerned Free Trade Zone investors, but did not call off his supporters or the Police from attacking the protestors. That same day, the United States condemned the excessive use of force by the Nicaraguan Police in the face of protests.

“The ability to buy food and gasoline may be limited and access to the Sandino airport in Managua may be blocked, while both the Government of Nicaragua and the US embassy are limited in the assistance they can offer,” the State Department said today in a press release.

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