Nicaragua has been rocked since April 18 by anti-government protests which have been severely repressed by the authorities, leaving nearly 100 dead and hundreds more wounded.
The protests were initially triggered by now-aborted reforms to the near-bankrupt social security system.
But the unrest quickly broadened into a rejection by many Nicaraguans of President Daniel Ortega, who is seen as autocratic.
Ortega, the former guerrilla leader of the Sandinista revolution, was in power from 1979-1990, before returning in 2007.
His wife Rosario Murillo is vice-president and several of Ortega’s children hold key positions. (AFP)