WATCH: In Podgorenko, growing political unrest is escalating to extreme levels. A Victoria photographer lives in the Central American nation part time and has just returned home after witnessing what he says was shocking street fighting between police and protesters. Kori Sidaway has the story.
The Nicaragua Collin Podgorenko remembers features beaches and festivals. But in April, things began to change.
For the past two months, protests over social service cuts have grown more violent. Podgorenko was there, phone in hand to film what he saw.
“You’re just in a state of fear, but you understand that if you don’t record this, no one else is recording,” he said.
“But I knew I had to record it, someone had to do it for the history books.”
But he said the truth isn’t being told. Leaving Nicaragua, Podgorenko had to smuggle his pictures across the border.
“All camera reporters were attacked, their equipment was taken away from them, so I was lucky, I don’t know why,” said Podgorenko.
Although international agencies are working to end the violence, Podgorenko isn’t convinced that will happen.
“They need someone to get the news out before both sides are using rifles,” said Podgorenko.
“Six weeks throwing rocks at machine guns and sniper rifles – they haven’t picked up the guns yet, and they will, it’s only a matter of time.”
“They’re going to think that the international community doesn’t care, and they’re all alone.”
Safe in Victoria, Podgorenko is still traumatized by what he witnessed.
“I wasn’t sleeping well at night let’s put it that way,” said Podgorenko.
“When you’ve heard AK 47’s going off for two to three hours – it hits you, it hits you really bad. So, it’s something I’ll be living with for quite a while.”
Regardless, Podgorenko plans to return to Nicaragua soon, feeling the need to help his friends who are caught up in the conflict.