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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega has revoked the controversial social security reforms that triggered violent clashes between demonstrators and government security forces.
Nicaraguans have taken to the streets to protest the planned increase in worker contributions to their pension fund along with lower benefits.
As many as 25 deaths had been reported when Ortega announced the reforms were being pulled back.
In South Florida, local lawmakers called on Congress to pass the Nica Act, which would withhold U.S. loans and funding to Nicaragua unless Ortega, now in his third consecutive term, agrees to democratic reforms that include new elections, protections for journalists and fighting corruption.
“The Nicaraguan people have said enough is enough and they have rebelled in this manner,” said U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. “Make no mistake; these protests are not about social security. This is about the heavy hand of Daniel and Rosario Ortega.”
“The Ortega regime is authoritarian and dictatorial in nature,” said U.S. Rep. Carlos Curbelo. “Ortega is inspired by the Castros in Cuba and Chavez in Venezuela. He has turned Nicaragua into his own personal ranch.”
The Nicaraguan Center for Human rights has reported that the death toll has increased to at least 25 killed and 67 injured in the protests.
The U.S. State Department has issued a travel advisor for Nicaragua, urging Americans to reconsider travel to the Central American country while the civil unrest continues.