The Brazilian Embassy in Nicaragua confirmed the murder of Brazilian citizen Rayneia Lima on Monday night, when she was returning from her shift at work at the Carlos Roberto Huembes Hospital. The 31-year-old victim was a medical student at the American University (UAM) and was in the final year of her degree.
“We have confirmed the death and have asked the Nicaraguan Government for an explanation,” Ambassador Luis Claudio Villafane G.Santos bluntly said. Hours later, Brazil’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement lamenting the young woman’s murder.
“The Brazilian government received news of the tragic death of Brazilian citizen Rayneia Gabrielle Lima, medical student at Managua’s American University, on July 23rd with deep indignation. She was shot under circumstances which we hope to determine soon with the Nicaraguan government,” the diplomatic statement read.
UAM dean, Ernesto Medina, agreed with neighbors from Lomas de Monserrat when he said that paramilitaries near the home of Francisco Lopez Centeno (vice-president of Albanisa) opened fired on Lima’s car when she was driving near the American School. “She received a bullet to the chest which caused lethal injuries to her heart, diaphragm and a part of her liver,” said Medina.
The Brazilian Ambassador once again “condemns the deepening repression, the disproportionate and lethal use of force and the use of paramilitary groups in operations coordinated by security forces.”
Lima was traveling alone in her car and was being followed by her boyfriend in another car, who helped her when he heard shots. How this attack happened is still unclear, the only thing we know is that her boyfriend took Lima to A&E at the Military Hospital. Doctors at the Military Hospital told Confidencial that the young woman died in surgery.
In spite of witnesses pointing the finger at paramilitaries for the murder, who were near Francisco Lopez’s home, National Police issued a statement in which they maintain that “a private security guard” was responsible for the crime.
“A Private Surveillance guard, under circumstances that have not yet been determined, opened fire and she received a bullet which caused grave injuries,” Police said. According to this institution, “the guard is being investigated.” The police statement was distributed by official media before it was published on the National Police’s website.
Lima had been living in Nicaragua for six years and was planning to return to Brazil because of the violent crisis that had taken over the country and which has resulted in over 300 deaths, according to human rights organizations.
Lima’s body was transferred to the Institute of Legal Medicine and the Brazilian Embassy is making all the decisions and arrangements as Lima doesn’t have any family in the country.
Brazil has criticized state repression against protestors. Last week, it condemned the regime’s violent acts in the country at the Organization of American States (OAS) and voted in favor of the resolution against Daniel Ortega’s government. Before this killing, the Ambassador had issued statements condemning violence and stressed this once again on Tuesday.
“By condemning state persecution of protestors, students and human rights advocates, the Brazilian Government is urging the Nicaraguan Government once again to ensure that citizens can exercise their individual rights and public freedoms,” the statement said.
The UAM issued a statement lamenting its student’s death. The university called the murder “an unclear act of violence”, but that “it is the consequence of the difficult crisis (the country) is experiencing.”
“We are living in a country where being a young person and a student is worse than being a murderer and a thief. As a professor, I can’t sit by and keep quiet while students are being killed, kidnapped or arrested unfairly every day that goes by,” Doctor Cesar Molina said, from the UAM’s Department of Dentistry.
“It’s other people that should be locked up here in Nicaragua. However, injustices continue to occur in this country and while hooded persons occupy our streets with absolute peace of mind and impunity, many students have to hide, running away… because they are fighting for a just cause. It’s completely absurd and doesn’t make any sense,” added Molina.
Lima isn’t the first foreigner to die during this crisis. Sixto Henry Vera of the United States was murdered on June 3rd in the Rubenia neighborhood, in Managua.