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UNAN conditions student scholarships: “If you don’t go to political activities, you lose it”

As if it were a political-partisan training academy, the state-owned National Autonomous University of Nicaragua (UNAN-Managua) is forcing students, especially those with scholarships, to go “applaud” the political activities of the government party , under strict control and supervision of the Sandinista Youth (JS) and the National Union of Nicaraguan Students (UNEN). Whoever doesn’t go will lose their scholarship.

Two students, with scholarships, from Unan-Managua, who spoke with Article 66 Asking not to reveal their identity for security reasons, they affirmed that the university authorities even had a compulsory attendance control card printed for activities organized by the university, which in reality are political activities of the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN), the party of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo.

“Training scholarship control card” is the title of the document the students are talking about. And in it there is a blunt warning: “This card must be presented as a requirement for the renewal of the special internal scholarship.”

Related news: Nicaraguan dictatorship continues to “erode higher education”

«For many of us, not to say for the majority, it is humiliating that they even condition you food coupons in the university canteen, with the attendance to applaud the supposed achievements of the Government, and we cannot refuse because any activity that called by the National Union of Students of Nicaragua (UNEN) is being controlled on that card, and if you do not have attendance marked, you can lose the scholarship”, denounced “student 1”, who is in his fourth year in one of the careers that offers that facility.

For his part, “student 2”, who has been at that university for two years, points out that those from UNEN do not act as representatives of the students but as government watchdogs.

UNAN conditions student scholarships: "If you don't go to political activities, you lose it"
UNAN conditions student scholarships: "If you don't go to political activities, you lose it"

“Now with that control card, it is those of the UNEN and the JS who are going to control the students, whether or not they come to political activities. They are going to mark each of the assists and they already told us that it is mandatory, we cannot miss it, “said the university student.

«University autonomy is already history. Here what the rulers say is done. Young people who aspire to a better future want to be good professionals, learn, not be indoctrinated. It is not possible for us to condition a scholarship, which comes from the town’s taxes, by attending events where the rulers are praised,” added the scholarship student.

They are afraid of opposition students organizing

Student 1 points out that political control at the University is increasingly “closer” because the authorities are somewhat afraid that students who are dissatisfied with the institution’s policies will organize themselves.

«Look, all that control is like a way of threatening you and telling you that they are the ones in charge. On that card they gave us we must mark attendance at at least 30 political activities. Not all students like to go to applaud in those acts. There are some students who do go with pleasure, who love to applaud the Government, but many of us do not like it at all, I came to study to be a professional, not to praise Daniel Ortega or Chayo (Rosario Murillo), “sentenced the academic.

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The State of Nicaragua, in accordance with a constitutional precept, allocates 6% of the General Budget of the Republic for the country’s universities. Those funds should be invested in improving the quality of higher education and in scholarships for students; however, the Daniel Ortega regime has taken over that university achievement and has capitalized on it, to the point that now students who want to apply for a scholarship to study at any state university in the country, they must write a letter addressed to the dictator asking him to grant them a scholarship.

University students flag-bearers in the 2018 protests

The two students who spoke to Article 66 They agree that the Ortega-Murillo regime fears that opposition groups will organize in the universities and for this reason they have intensified controls and political activism.

The university students were the standard-bearers in the social protests that broke out in 2018. The UNAN-Managua was a stronghold, where the university students in resistance entrenched themselves when the repressive wave began that dismantled the protests with blood and fire on the orders of the Ortega dictators and Murillo.

UNAN is the largest university in the country and there UNEN has a greater presence, and direct incidence in academic, administrative and political life. So much so that this student organization is considered a shock arm of the FSLN.

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