Nicaraguans join National Strike

The Alianza Cívica por la Justicia y la Democracia issued a call to arms, when it invited Nicaraguans to join a national work stoppage and purchasing strike for 24-hours. The strike began at midnight, May 23rd, and it has involved businesses of all sizes, civil society organizations, and industry trade groups, but more importantly, Nicaraguan citizens that chose to stay home today.

According to the Alianza’s press release announcing the strike, supporting it meant that

  • You care about prisoners

  • You worry that they’re being murdered

  • It bothers you when they are beaten

  • It angers you when the mothers of the prisoners are humiliated

  • You want to express solidarity with the pain

  • You want to do something to stop the suffering.

The document encouraged employers to “respect their employees’ decision” to participate in the work stoppage. To Nicaraguans in general, the Alianza’s message was to stay off the streets, because “If they won’t allow us to fill the streets, let’s empty them.”


The Alianza Cívica counts the main chambers of commerce and trade associations in the country among its members.  COSEP, CADIN, UPANIC, and several others issued statements in support of the strike.

Statements by Nicaraguan Chambers of Commerce and Trade Associations, in support of the strike.


Not all businesses participated. For example the Coca Cola company in Nicaragua opted out.  Its sales staff started the work day by singing the national anthem, as a way of showing their support for the strike.

Empty Roadways and Streets

Roads that are usually gridlocked with vehicles are now deserted. This is the New Road to León this morning.


Carretera Masaya, at 6:45 AM. This is during the start of the morning rush hour.

This aerial shot of Carrretera Norte (the north highway) in Managua was taken at 11:40 AM. Carteret Norte is a branch of the Pan American Highway, connecting Managua to Matagalpa, Estelí, Jinotega, and other northern cities.

This is how the new highway overpass, inaugurated twice by Daniel Ortega, looks like at 1:00 pm. The overpass was constructed to ease the gridlock on the southern section of the Pan-American Highway, known as Carretera Sur.

The streets of León, Jinotepe, and other cities are empty.


A similar scene was documented in Matagalpa, by journalists for Radio Voz.

Businesses of all types and sizes closed for the day.

Businesses throughout the country closed for the day.  This is how Masaya looked this morning.

Many of Jinotepe’s retailers also shut down today.

Some small businesses also explained why they closed. This sign says “dear customers, today, Thursday May 23, there will not be any refreshments [fruit juices, etc] for sale. I’ll be happy to serve you on Friday. I SUPPORT THE NATIONAL STRIKE. JUSTICE = DEMOCRACY. Long live a Free Nicaragua. They’ll be kicked out for sure.”

This small business owner opted for a less polite approach for their signage. It reads, “dear drunkards, I’m not selling you any booze today. Remember, the nation comes first.”

La Colonia Supermarkets, one of the largest grocery chains in the country, joined the strike. This is their branch at the Ivan Montenegro Market.


Nicaraguan banks were threatened with fines, should they choose to close today. Banpro in León chose to do just that anyway.

In Managua, Banpro’s branch at the Multicentro Las Américas shopping mall is open, but workers did not show up, so there are effectively unable to serve any costumers.

Managua’s City Government is Open for Business; Murra’s is not.

City government in Managua is open for business. This morning, the municipal authorities launched a new campaign, promoting the city as a tourist destination. Managua Mayor Reina Rueda belongs to the FSLN party.

City services like trash pick up and street repair are operating normally.

In contrast, the City of Murra closed its municipal office this morning. City government is led by Mayor Francisco Herrera, of Ciudadanos por la Libertad (CXL). CXL pledged its support to the strike via press release.

Citizens Participate in Purchasing Strike

Though many businesses opened, customers stayed away and joined a purchasing strike, which was one of the forms of civil disobedience that the Alianza recommended for today.

These images, from the Mayoreo Market in Managua show open and closed businesses. There is very little foot or vehicular traffic in one of the busiest markets in the city. One merchant told Confidencial’s Maynor Salazar that “there’s work being done here. Only lazy people don’t work.”

A similar situation was documented at Ivan Montenegro market, in Managua. Business owners told Confidencial that they were threatened by COMMEMA, the City of Managua’s regulator for municipal markets.

Walmart was heavily criticized for its decision to remain open, when other similar retailers, like PriceSmart and La Colonia, opted for closing. Customers are not flocking to Walmart in Managua today.

Walmart operates the Pali Supermarket Chain in Nicaragua. This image is from the Pali in Boaco.

This Pali location in Ciudad Jardín (Managua) is deserted.

Telecommunications’ provider Claro opened today. This image is from one of its storefronts, at an unidentified location.

The UPOLI [Polytechnic University] is holding classes. Their campus is empty, as most students stayed away.

Most students at the Universidad Americana (UAM) did not come to class. UAM is a private university, upon which the Nicaraguan Army has a controlling interest, as majority shareholder.

The National Engineering University (UNI) was open, but like UAM and UPOLI, students stayed away This video was shot at 4:00 pm, local time.

Most Nicaraguan banks opened their doors today, to avoid fines. La Prensa shared images from the Lafise branch in Metrocentro and the BAC branch in Plaza España.

This video was shot at the Banpro branch in Matagalpa, at 2 pm.

The Metrocentro shopping mall’s parking lot is empty. These images were taken at noon local time, during the lunch rush.

The Galerías Santo Domingo Mall is also deserted.

Noon Closures for Some

Some businesses that opened in the morning, worked only a half day, perhaps because fewer customers than usual were stopping by.

The Be Fit gym in Managua closed at noon, citing closure of Galerías Santo Domingo Mall where they are located.

Galerías Santo Domingo is one of the most popular malls in Managua, located on Carretera Masaya. The Mall opened normally this morning, but shut down early.



Today’s national strike has sent a powerful message to the Ortega-Murillo administration, as Nicaraguans throughout the country have heeded the Alianza’s call and protested through their inaction.