For nearly two months now, Nicaragua has been coming apart at the seams.
The Central American nation of 6 million has been rocked by popular protests and state-level violence since mid-April, and on Thursday night completed 24 hours of a nationwide worker strike in an attempt to push out longtime leader Daniel Ortega and his wife, Rosario Murillo.
Human rights groups say more than 150 people have been killed since April 18, as peaceful protests initially meant to oppose social security reforms were met with beatings and civilian deaths at the hands of state security forces, subsequently spiraling into a much larger political movement.
The economic reform measure, which would have upped workers' social security contributions but cut pensions for retired workers, sparked such backlash that the government revoked it. But by that time public anger at the protester deaths was irreversible. The pension cut was aimed at stopping the widening deficit in a country already ranked the poorest in Central America and the second-poorest in the western hemisphere after Haiti.