If there’s no negotiated peace with a return to order, the conflict could spin out of control, bringing the chronic violence and insecurity of the country’s northern neighbours.
In a video clip, a young boy stands at a makeshift barricade across a road. He holds a toy gun to the head of his friend. Off camera, an adult asks, “What are you going to do?” “We’ll kill him and leave him naked,” replies the boy. The adults laugh. This scene from Nicaragua, filmed at one of the hundreds of towns paralyzed by street protests, epitomizes the violence that has taken hold since April 18. Before that date, local media proudly quoted figures showing that Nicaragua had become the safest country in Central America. But the two months since then have seen more than 170 violent deaths, thousands injured, and scores of public buildings burned down or ransacked.