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The parapolice groups and the use of political violence in the Nicaraguan protests of 2018

Human Rights
Political Violence
Protests
Elvin Francisco Rodríguez Fabilena
University of Hradec Králové
Elvin Francisco Rodríguez Fabilena
University of Hradec Králové

Abstract

The article aims to explain the relationship between the parapolice groups and the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN by its acronyms in Spanish), the ruling party in Nicaragua. In this sense, the main research question is why the regime of Daniel Ortega uses intimidation strategies and political violence, even when this implies that his Government will be more isolated from the international community by getting more sanctions from the US and the EU. Therefore, the research goal is to comprehend why, despite the sanctions and growing international isolation from the Western democracies, Daniel Ortega insists on using political violence as a resource to repress opposition demonstrations. In this sense, the theoretical framework will be the theory about autocratization processes, and how these processes, take place under a legal disguise. Besides, I will use the game theory to explain why parapolice groups carry out political violence. In this regard, the approach of the paper will be mixed methods research. The qualitative methods I intend to use are discourse analysis and the legal analysis of laws, particularly reforms to the Nicaraguan National Police Law and the Criminal Code; those reforms criminalize organizing protests without the permission of the National Police. In this sense, non-authorized demonstrations are under the label of terrorism. Additionally, there will be an analysis of the use of the judicial system to prosecute and condemn political opposition figures. In this sense, I pretend to analyze the use of legal tools such as the "cybercrimes" law to criminalize even the criticisms against the Government in social media such as Facebook, Twitter, and Tik-Tok. The scientific hypothesis is that the use of mobs and parapolice groups to intimidate and exercise physical violence against political opposition to the Government of President Daniel Ortega has more benefits for the survival of his regime than economic costs from the sanctions the Nicaraguan regime can get from the EU and the US. In this regard, the quantitative methods will shed light to determine whether there is a positive or negative correlation between the use of political violence and the economic sanctions from the US and the EU imposed on some of the high-rank representatives from the regime of Daniel Ortega. Therefore, this paper will have a multidisciplinary approach by combining legal and political science analyses. The expected outcomes are to find a causal explanation for the use of political violence and its respective modes, subtle and more evident, direct and indirect. Finally, the scope of time of the paper will be from April 2018 to July 2022.