The department of Estelí has a population of 223,384 inhabitants and is divided into six municipalities: La Trinidad, Condega, Pueblo Nuevo, Limay, San Nicolás de Oriente and Estelí, which is also the departmental capital.

The main events of April 18, 19 and 20, 2018, occurred in Estelí in the context of the protests organized by students against the INSS (social security) reforms.  The police cordoned off the Municipal Government building and pro-government forces attacked the students.  The first victims hit by firearms were:

May 30: attack by pro-government forces and paramilitaries on the Mothers Day march in Estelí left two university students victims: