Ortega feels heat
President Daniel Ortega’s first formal talks with Nicaraguan opposition and civic groups since he returned to power in 2007 quickly became heated and confrontational yesterday. The dialogue, mediated by the Roman Catholic Church, came after more than 60 people died amid a government crackdown on demonstrations against social security cuts. Ortega was greeted by jeers as he arrived at a seminary on the outskirts of Managua with his wife, Vice-President Rosario Murillo, and a large security detail of about 500 riot police. Ortega told the gathering that the police were not repressing protests, but preventing chaos. Bishop Abelardo Mata of the Esteli diocese echoed the students’ demand that the police return to their barracks, saying it was not an armed revolution. The meeting broke up with Ortega and his contingent walking out under shouts of “killers!” from students.