Update from US State Department: ‘ Travel Advisory Update: On April 23, 2018, the U.S. government ordered the departure of U.S. government family members and authorized the departure of U.S. government personnel. Reconsider travel to Nicaragua due to crime and civil unrest.’

Protests erupted in Nicaragua last week in response to changes to the social security systems. At least 26 people have been killed in the protests and many more injured. Protests occurred across the nation, with students and pensioners joining in, and shops have been looted.

It is unclear when the security situation will be resolved. See below for travel advisories.

Security forces used tear gas and rubber bullets in an attempt to disperse protesters. There have been reports of live ammunition being used as well.

A journalist was shot and killed during a live broadcast – ‘Ángel Gahona was reporting on damage at a bank in the Caribbean coast town of Bluefields when a bullet hit him during his Facebook Live newscast.

President Daniel Ortega has since cancelled the changes, which would have seen an increase in pension contribution payments for workers and employers and a 5% reduction in benefit payments.

Travel advice

From the US Embassy in Nicaragua

Political rallies and demonstrations are occurring daily, often with little notice or predictability.  Some protests result in injuries and deaths.  Demonstrations typically elicit a strong response that includes the use of tear gas, pepper spray, rubber bullets, and live ammunition against participants and occasionally devolve into looting, vandalism, and acts of arson.  Both the Government of Nicaragua and the U.S. Embassy in Managua are limited in the assistance they can provide.

Violent crime, such as sexual assault and armed robbery, is common.  Police presence and emergency response are extremely limited outside of major urban areas.  U.S. government personnel are prohibited from using public buses and mototaxis and from entering the Oriental Market in Managua and gentlemen’s clubs throughout the country due to crime.  U.S. government personnel require special authorization to travel to the Northern and Southern Caribbean Coast Autonomous Regions due to crime and transportation safety concerns.

Read the Safety and Security section on the country information page.

If you decide to travel to Nicaragua:

  • Avoid demonstrations.
  • Shelter in place if your surrounding area is affected by demonstrations or move to a safer location if your current location is unsafe.
  • If you feel unsafe in Nicaragua, consider arrangements to depart the country.
  • Use caution when walking or driving at night.
  • Keep a low profile.
  • Do not display signs of wealth such as expensive watches or jewelry.
  • Be aware of your surroundings.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • Follow the Department of State on Facebook and Twitter.
  • Review the Crime and Safety Report for Nicaragua.
  • U.S. citizens who travel abroad should always have a contingency plan for emergency situations. Review the Traveler’s Checklist.

Please click here to read more, including contact information.

From the Foreign and Commonwealth Office

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all but essential travel to Nicaragua.

There has been ongoing street violence in many areas in Nicaragua. This has involved the use of tear gas, rubber bullets and live ammunition, resulting in serious injuries and deaths. These incidents are unpredictable and can happen at any time. Major routes to the international airport have become impassable at times due to disorder. This could happen again at any time. There are reports of escalating violence in numerous locations around the country. Exercise extreme caution when planning travel and avoid affected areas entirely.

There is no British Embassy in Nicaragua. If you need emergency consular assistance, you should contact the British Embassy, Costa Rica, tel +506 2258 2025.

Please click here to read the rest of the travel advisory.

From the Canadian Government’s Travel Advice website

Protests have been occurring throughout the country, particularly in Managua, Masaya, Leon and Esteli since April 18, 2018. They have led to violent clashes and caused casualties. Demonstrations are scheduled to occur in many cities until April 23, but may last longer. Protest locations and schedules may change without notice.

  • Restrict your movements if protests are taking place in the area where you are located
  • Avoid central Managua (near metrocentro mall) and other areas where demonstrations and large gatherings are occurring (e.g. near universities)
  • Follow the instructions of local authorities
  • Monitor local media for information on ongoing demonstrations

from Country Advice and Advisories updated in the last 24 hours, which can be found at: http://travel.gc.ca/destinations/nicaragua

Sources + Headlines

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