Despite the fact that the Nicaraguan president assured during a recent speech that his government has successfully faced the COVID-19 pandemic, citizens consulted by the Voice of America express mistrust of the official position and say they feel unprotected by the public health system of the country.
On a tour of the city of Managua, VOA spoke with several citizens who share the same opinion on the presidential speech, such as the merchant Juana Berrios, who said that despite efforts to “change reality, people know what they are experiencing in the streets of the country ”.
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“He always plays with people. It seems that he was prepared, that’s what he learned, only to lie. He is no longer believed in anything, he is going out to do the circus, because nobody believes him, the circus that no longer amuses anyone, “Berrios rebuked.
President Daniel Ortega maintains that his government has successfully faced the pandemic and that the Nicaraguan Health System has installed capacities to face the health crisis, however, the ex-guerrilla and former health minister, Dora María Téllez, assured that the Public health lacks credibility in managing the pandemic.
Because while in the rest of Central America and in the midst of strong restrictive measures, 200 people per country are infected every day, in Nicaragua the Ministry of Health says that the virus only infects an average of 37 people every 24 hours. Tellez considers that these figures from the Nicaraguan government do not agree with reality.
All of this, he explains, at a time when the region is experiencing an increase in cases and health systems are on the brink of their capabilities. Meanwhile, the Nicaraguan Ministry of Health has reported in the last three weeks a decrease in cases, which never exceed 350 per week.
“The issue is that the health system collapsed in the face of the pandemic and also its credibility has deteriorated in a gigantic way to the degree that most people do not go to the health units to be treated because they do not have confidence, because they feel that in hospitals can die, and do not receive good care, “said the former minister when questioning the official figures.
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Meanwhile, the sociologist, Cirilo Otero, considers that the distrust of the population and health experts is justified. “People have lost confidence in this government and particularly in Mr. Ortega for a long time, because people have confirmed that it is a lie, that it is false, and that there is an excessively dreamy vision that is not realistic.”
Until last week, the Nicaraguan Ministry of Health reported more than 3,000 cases of COVID-19 and 99 deaths from the disease. To date, the government does not accept that community contagion exists in Nicaragua, nor does it provide the real data of the most impacted departments, nor the age, sex, or location of people carrying the new coronavirus.
The official figures are also well below what the citizen observatory reports, which until July 10 accounted for 7,893 cases. Of these 3,287 are registered in Managua, the department with the highest numbers of infections and deaths.
Otero believes that President Ortega “lies to Nicaraguan society to evade his responsibility as head of state. You can see the isolation and disinformation of President Ortega, “he concluded, referring to US sanctions against people around him, including a son.
He also referred to issues such as the economic crisis, and what he called the employment and migration debacle.
“These are topics that apparently do not count on your agenda,” Otero concluded.