The U.S. Embassy in Nicaragua announced on Saturday that a Level 3 travel advisory has been issued to travelers heading to Nicaragua due to a series of violent protests that have already resulted in up to two dozen deaths, according to several media outlets.
According to the New York Times, the protests started on Wednesday as a picket by college students against a social security overhaul. According to ABC News, the overhaul was intended to support Nicaragua's troubled social security system by both reducing benefits and increasing taxes.
However, President Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua, according to the New York Times report, announced on Sunday that he was reversing the social security overhaul that started the violent series of protests.
“Political rallies and demonstrations are occurring daily, often with little notice or predictability,” according to a statement issued on Saturday by the U.S. Embassy in Nicaragua. “Some protests result in injuries and deaths. Demonstrations typically elicit a strong response that includes the use of tear gas, pepper spray, rubber bullets, and live ammunition against participants and occasionally devolve into looting, vandalism and acts of arson.”
According to the U.S. State Department’s new, four-tier system in which every country receives a travel advisory, with levels of advice ranging from one to four, Level 3 means to “reconsider travel.”
“Avoid travel due to serious risks to safety and security,” according the State Department’s official explanation of a Level 3 advisory. “The Department of State provides additional advice for travelers in these areas in the travel advisory. Conditions in any country may change at any time.”