After the recent demonstrations (see below), this is my experience of events in Masaya on 6 May, when I travelled with a ‘peace caravan’ organised by the local Sandinista party (FSLN) in Masaya. I’ll try to report objectively what happened. I should emphasise that, at the moment, violence is limited to parts of Masaya and to parts of the capital, Managua.
About 200 people gathered with flags and signs (‘No a la violencia’) near the old fort on the north side of Masaya, El Coyotepe. The people were all from Masaya and I knew many of them. We set off in about 20 cars and 30 motorbikes into the city, playing Sandinista music. I was interested to see the response of bystanders – the vast majority simply came out to watch, a minority waved support or signalled disagreement. My rough count put the supporters slightly ahead of the dissenters but this was hardly scientific. We passed around the parque central and into the main street leading to Monimbo (the oldest ‘indigenous’ neighbourhood in Masaya).
On arriving in front of the San Sebastian church in the centre of Monimbo, the leaders of the caravan were met with a hail of stones. This was not just a few youths throwing stones picked up at the side of the road. This was dozens armed with piles of fist-sized stones that could have badly injured anyone they hit. There was chaos on the street with vehicles of all kinds trying to do U-turns to escape the stones. The caravan turned around, there was no attempt to throw stones back and everyone eventually returned by different routes to El Coyotepe.