Nicaragua has been rocked since April 18 by anti-government protests that have been severely repressed by the authorities, leaving hundreds dead and thousands 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 to 1990 before returning in 2007.
His wife, Rosario Murillo, is vice president, and several of Ortega’s children hold key positions. (AFP)