Category Archives: National Dialogue in Nicaragua

Ortega Dictatorship behind the threats against bishop Silvio Báez

This article appeared in La Prensa on Oct 26th. It puts the denouncement of Rafael Valdez of the St Paul Christian Community within the context of an ongoing campaign by the government to discredit the bishops, and one of the most outspoken, Silvio Báez. Here is the other side to the previous post.

Ortega Dictatorship behind the threats against bishop Silvio Báez

Brother of bishop Silvio Báez declares the Ortega Murillo family the “intellectual authors” of the threats against the religious who denounced harassment in his home.

By Emiliano Chamorro Mendieta in La Prensa, Oct 26, 2018

While the US State Department this Thursday warned the regime of Daniel Ortega that “the Church should be protected, not the target of shots”, Mons. Silvio Báez denounced this Thursday that he was being harassed in his home by people on motorcycles in the framework of a campaign of repression, disparagement and harassment that the dictatorship is promoting against him.

Javier Báez, the brother of the Carmelite, blamed “the Ortega Murillo family and their circle of followers for all the death threats” against Silvio Báez.

“I publicly denounce that my brother Mons. Silvio Báez is being harassed by sympathizers of the Ortega dictatorship, motivated by the manipulation of the convictions of Mons. Báez. Now I declare them the intellectual authors of these threats”, denounced the brother of the religious.

For his part, the auxiliary bishop of Managua, Silvio Báez, said in his Twitter account: “I denounce that I am the victim of a campaign of repression, disparagement and harassment that is made evident not just by manipulated audio recordings, but also by hundreds of messages to my Whatsapp with insults and threats, in addition to people on motorcycles surrounding my home. I will continue committed to my episcopal ministry.”

The presence of motorcycle drivers in the home of Báez is the same tactic of repression and harassment that the dictatorship has been employing to persecute any Nicaraguan who tries to raise their voice against his power and that demands democracy in Nicaragua.

Mons. Silvio Báez, with a doctorate in Sacred Scriptures, who so far has not offered declarations to the communications media, expressed in one of his tweets that he is not responsible for any crime nor conspiracy as the Ortega dictatorship wants to make him seem to be, and stated that very soon he will present the proof and will share it in his social networks and with the communications media.

The threats against the Carmelite religious emerged after the Ortega regime on Tuesday published through their state propaganda apparatus an audio recording for the purpose of framing him in a supposed coup attempt and pressuring him to go into exile or be tried. This action was rejected by the Episcopal Conference of Nicaragua and the Civic Alliance for Justice and Democracy, that expressed their complete support for the religious leader, a critic of the abuses of the dictatorship.

Báez has responded that he will continue in Nicaragua, and will continue being faithful to the ministry that he has been entrusted. “My conscience does not reproach me for anything before God”, stated Báez.

The escalation of violence against priests and bishops of the Catholic Church has been incited by the dictator himself, who last July 19th in a public party event accused the Catholic hierarchy of being behind a coup plan to remove him from power. In addition Ortega stated that the bishops were using the parishes to store weapons and provide refuge to torturers. There Ortega declared war on the Catholic Church.

In spite of the fact that the bishops are mediators and witnesses to the National Dialogue, they also have been victims of the Ortega repression. Last July 9th, Cardinal Leopoldo Brenes, bishop Báez along with the Apostolic Nuncio and several priests, were physically attacked by mobs and paramilitaries in the San Sebastian Basilica in Diriamba. In that violent scene, Báez ended up wounded in his left arm. In addition to the aggression, the Ortega hordes took his episcopal insignia from him.

In the face of the escalation of violence against the Catholic Church in Nicaragua, the ambassador for Religious Freedom of the US State Department demanded from Ortega protection for the Church. “The Church should be protected, not the target of shots”, said the US official Samuel D Brownback. Brownback made these statements in a press conference where he took a position on the situation of religion in Nicaragua, Cuba and Venezuela. “This is not an acceptable situation for religious freedom or religious tolerance. It seems that there are people, a number of individuals, shooting at churches, persecuting the churches,” stated Borwnback. “We do not agree with this treatment, the church should be protected, not the target of shots,” added the official from the State Department.

Brownback said that the United States feels “deeply concerned” about the situation in Nicaragua and stated that his government has detected an “increase in persecution” in that country and in Venezuela against the Church.

Concerning the audio recording where the regime tried to incriminate Báez as “coup monger, murderer” as Laureano Ortega, the son of the dictator, called him, Cardinal Leopoldo Brenes said to Channel 100% Noticias that indeed an audio recording had been made of a private conversation, but that its authenticity has still not been verified.

The ruling party this Thursday once again manipulated the statements of Brenes, by just publicizing the part where the religious admitted that there was a meeting where Báez had participated, but did not put the part where Brenes clarified that they were verifying the authenticity of the recording disseminated by the regime.

In Spain a sound engineer stated to a digital daily that that recording had been manipulated. He pointed out that it was an audio file edited with “important technical errors” that showed the “union and editing of several different recordings” of the voice of the Catholic prelate.

The ex-president of Costa Rica, Laura Chinchilla, also spoke out in favor of Báez in her Twitter account. “Let us not allow a tragic action to be done against @silviojbaez, the voice that is most heard denouncing the abuses of the regime of #Nicaragua. Let´s call the attention of the international community”, she said in support.

According to a document that the Saint Paul base community released, where they accused Mons. Báez of promoting hate, the audio was recorded in an encounter that the religious man had with peasants from the Anti-canal Peasant Movement.

Lesner Fonseca, one of the peasant leaders in the area of El Tule, confirmed that indeed they met with Báez and that someone recorded the meeting, but he did not venture to identify the person responsible for the recording and leaking. “I am deeply sad, hurt and sorry for Mons. Báez, with this situation that has happened,” stated Fonseca to La Prensa.

The peasant explained that seven people accompanied him in the entourage, but that the author of the recording was still not investigated.

“For now we cannot reveal the name, it is assumed that we are trustworthy people who met with Mons. But yes, we are investigating, and when the person responsible is found, we are going to expel him from the movement, and we will make his name public,” clarified the peasant.

Mons. Silvio José Báez stated in one of his tweets this Thursday that very soon he will make public the truth of the audio recordings where the regime of Daniel Ortega and his communication media present him as a coup supporter. “Very soon I will present the proof of all this in my social networks and in the communications media,” clarified the Carmelite religious and auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Managua since 2009, after his return to Nicaragua.

Silvio Báez is an obstacle for Peace and Reconciliation

This week an audio was released by Rafael Valdez, a leader of the Base Christian Community of St Paul the Apostle, where the voice of Auxiliary Bishop Silvio Báez is heard, which Valdez claims prove that the bishops have been conspiring against the regime, and are therefore biased and thus can no longer serve as mediators. Since the first session of the national dialogue on May 16, when a student from the UCA called Ortega to step down because of the 55 students who had been killed since April 18th, the government has called the students and their supporters “coup mongers”. Since the bishops in the dialogue asked Ortega to hold early elections, it has been clear to everyone in Nicaragua that Ortega has wanted to replace the bishops as mediators. This incident falls within this context.

Catholics of Nicaragua ask Pope Francis to remove Silvio Báez from Nicaragua

Silvio Báez is an obstacle for Peace and Reconciliation

Wednesday, October 14, 2018 In El 19 Digital (official media of FSLN)

https://www.el19digital.com/articulos/ver/titulo:83046-silvio-baez-es-un-obstaculo-para-la-paz-y-la-reconciliacion

The bishop, Silvio Báez, a member of the Episcopal Conference of Nicaragua, is an obstacle for Peace and reconciliation, stated Rafael Valdez, a member of the Saint Paul the Apostle Christian Community, who released an audio where the official of the Catholic Church spoke about the destabilization plan for the country, to remove the government of President Daniel Ortega Saavedra. In declarations to the EN VIVO magazine, Valdez insisted in that the request to Pope Francis is that he remove the bishop from Nicaragua who is corrupted by hate and a thirst for power.

“What we are asking is that he leave because he is doing damage to the Catholic Church, because the Catholic Church is not the Curia, nor the hierarchy, the Catholic Church is the believing people. That is the Catholic Church. And he is doing damage to this believing people, because with his actions he has been able to divide the flock,” explained Valdez.

“Now it ends up that there are some Catholic Christians who are on one side and other Christians who are another side, because he has divided them, or they (the bishops) have divided them, because they have taken biased positions, and they have not been really who they should be, pastors who love peace, reconciliation, who strive for people to understand one another, dialoguing and not killing one another; and they have been doing just the opposite. So, this is a detrimental man for the church itself and is doing it damage. He should leave this country for the good of everyone, the people, the church itself. The church would feel better with people like this outside, let them go and teach, be professors,” he added.

Valdez stated that Silvio Báez “is not someone who is going to contribute to peace and reconciliation.”

“On the contrary, this man promotes hate, because he is full of hate. His expressions that come out in the video are expressions of hate. Saying that it does not matter who he is going to ally with, whether with the devil, evildoers, criminals, drug traffickers, as long as the objective is achieved that he wants, which is to remove the current government, is an expression of hate. Or saying: we are not going to kill him, even though I would like to, he says…so that is an expression that shows the depth of his hate, because the Word of God itself says that out of the mouth comes what one has in their heart. And if he said that, it is because he has it deep within himself. So a person like this is not going to contribute ever to that there be peace and reconciliation, he is an obstacle for peace and reconciliation,” he said.

The member of the Christian community said that Báez is a politician in a cassock.

“He is promoting continuity, when he talks about new barricades as an ingenious invention that they have had in order to do damage, to destroy the country, to cause death. They are opting once again for violence, so that cannot be a path for peace, ever,” he pointed out.

With these attitudes, explained Valdez, what the hierarchy are going is burying the Catholic church.

“These bishops and priests who have been doing damage for many years, they are burying it, they are the ones who are burying the Catholic Church. And that is why there is a large desertion of people who used to call themselves Catholics and now opt for another type of religiosity, but it is because they are disillusioned because those people are not teaching the true Gospel, but what they have done is something else. There is an estimate that 40 million Catholics in Latin America have abandoned the Catholic church and have become evangelicals,” he emphasized.

He added to this the fact that the bishops lie in such a brazen way, and it seems that they are saying the truth. “It is evident to me that they are big liars, they lie without mercy and they are not ashamed of lying,” he stated.

Likewise, he said that the church can no longer be the mediator of any dialogue, because it is automatically left disqualified.

“No one can be a mediator who clearly has a bias toward one side. I cannot sit down at a table and be the mediator and be telling the other side, “continue with your struggle, do not stop”. This is not mediation,” he said.

He also described as unfortunate and conspiratorial the attitude of Cardinal Brenes on the matter that involves Báez in a conspiratorial coup.

“It is unfortunate because he (Brenes) with that attitude is backing what this man has done, and so he is making himself an accomplice and participant in these actions, and he cannot now claim ignorance, unless you tell me that what there is there is not true, but it is clear, it is obvious it is him, there is not the slightest doubt,” he assured.

“The [Bishops] Conference disqualified itself by supporting that attitude. It is impossible to be a mediator in this way, there cannot be more dialogue, nor anything of that,” he indicated.

The Christian community of Saint Paul the Apostle, who revealed the audios of Silvio Báez where he confirmed his role of organizer of the destabilization and destruction of Nicaragua, has more than 53 years of existing as a Base Ecclesial Community.

“We are Building Nicaragua” Program

An important issue in the current crisis in Nicaragua is the question of what would Nicaragua look like should Ortega leave, as the opposition demands. In recent weeks some important proposals have been developed to begin to respond to this question. The following was developed by mostly student groups calling themselves “Construimos Nicaragua” and was posted shortly after the independence holidays in Nicaragua, Sept 14-15.

We are Building Nicaragua

 “We are Building Nicaragua” Program

This document is the draft of the Program of the Social and Political Movement called “WE ARE BUILDING NICARAGUA” which we submit to the consideration of the readers to open a public discussion among all social sectors on the urgent tasks that we need to promote for a real democratization of Nicaragua.

PROGRAM FOR THE DEMOCRATIZATION OF NICARAGUA: GIVE BACK TO THE PEOPLE THE RIGHT TO DECIDE!

Introduction

The days of struggle, started in April 2018, are forging and consolidating a strong sense of collective national identity in favor of democratization and justice, as had not occurred in our nearly two centuries of independent history around fundamental symbols and values: the blue and white flag, inextricably linked to republican democracy, public liberties, citizen participation in the State affairs, a strong sense of social equity and true solidarity.

The democratic struggle started by the youth opened the possibility of rebuilding and re-founding our nation on the bases of democracy, justice and social equity. The enjoyment and exercise of public liberties, as well as absolute respect for citizen rights, should not depend ever again on the will or discretion of any government. We all the sectors of the people (youth, students, women, workers, peasants, indigenous, etc) need to recover our popular sovereignty to re-found a new Nicaragua, creating a Social and Democratic Rule of Law on new bases, that imply eradicating forever the use of violence, repression or intimidation by those in power for the purpose of remaining in it, or limiting and blocking the exercise of these freedoms and rights.

The fundamental decisions of Nicaragua should not be made by small oligarchies, but by the broad majorities of men and women through democratic and deliberative processes with all the information on the table, where the broadest sectors can participate.

So that our society might move from discretion and the arbitrary and personalized use of power, to a social interaction more and more regulated by laws, norms and policies that are implemented in a more impartial, transparent and impersonal way possible, that is, with the absence of discrimination and punishment for some, and privileges and “awards” for others.

Currently State institutions have lost their public character by being completely subordinated to partisan control and the discretional management of the rulers. It is urgent to begin the transition toward the new Nicaragua, where national public institutions exist that fulfill their function of providing public goods and services, and that are capable of ensuring confidence, security and certainty to economic agents and all the citizenry.

Nicaragua needs a radical democratic revolution that would build national public institutions that can keep themselves relatively isolated from the pressures of economic groups and those in power, be focused on effective, professional performance and their objectives and responsibilities, establishing mechanisms that would ensure transparency and accountability, and that would make citizen control possible over the institutions that administer power.

Within the framework of this context, we a group of youth, men and women from all social strata, have agreed to launch a new political organization called “WE ARE BUILDING NICARAGUA”, an inclusive, horizontal, democratic and progressive political movement for the purpose of promoting structural changes for the sustainable development of Nicaragua.

WE ARE BUILDING NICARAGUA is a social and political movement where all us Nicaraguans find the opportunity to voice our opinions and participate to achieve our political, economic, social, cultural and environmental aspirations.

The mission of WE ARE BUILDING NICARAGUA is to provide each Nicaraguan the opportunity to promote and defend their rights to achieve a full, just and prosperous life.

We present, then, our proposal for a political program that we submit to the consideration of the citizens for their study, critique and improvement, because only united will we be able to accomplish the immense task of democratizing Nicaragua for the benefit of the great majorities.

16 BASIC POINTS FOR FOUNDING THE NEW NICARAGUA

  1. Free and Sovereign Constituent National Assembly

We men and women of WE ARE BUILDING NICARAGUA, many of us had not even been born during the time of the revolution, we think that the first thing that we should do is dismantle the status quo of the political power that was established in the last period, and that has roots in the institutions created during the process of the death of the revolution of 1979.

It requires returning sovereignty and decision making capacity to the people, in other words, the citizens. This elemental principle of democracy has been systematically denied in the history of Nicaragua. It requires profoundly reorganizing the State institutions. And this can only be achieved by repealing the Constitution of 1987 and its reforms, discussing and approving a new democratic Constitution, that would minimally bring together the issues that we discuss in what follows and that would bring the Nicaraguan State into the modernity of the XXI Century.

  1. Limits to re-election for popularly elected officials

Re-election is not a problem of principles in democracy, everything depends on the political culture and the electoral system, whether it is sufficiently democratic to respect the popular will.

Nevertheless, this is a key discussion in Nicaragua, because the emergence of the dictatorships of José Santos Zelaya (1896-1909), Anastasio Somoza and his successors (1937-1979), as well as the new dictatorship of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo (2007-2018) have been related to presidential re-election.

For this reason, and taking into consideration that a good government is not improvised, presidential re-election should only be permitted for a second period, so the new election becomes a plebiscite on the first mandate. Starting with the second period, there should be an absolute prohibition of presidential re-election, establishing iron clad clauses in the new Constitution that would prevent a third presidential period.

Likewise the deputies should only be elected for two consecutive periods. This same norm should be applied to mayors and council-members and the members of regional governments.

  1. A new electoral system

A complete reform of the electoral system is needed, approving a new Electoral Law that would do away with the bipartisan system inherited from Somocism, and that served as a cover for installing a new dynastic dictatorship. A new Party and Political Association Law should be approved, which also should have constitutional standing, that would allow for the creation of groups, associations and political parties at the municipal, provincial, regional and national levels.

The obstacles created by the constitutional reform of 2000 should be ended, that demand a minimum of 4% for a party to maintain their legal status, because it limits the right to representation of minorities. The myth of dictatorships should be done away with, that only the traditional parties should exist. Democracy rests on the principle of diversity and the respect and protection of minorities.

But, above all, the monopoly of the political parties should be ended, that they are the only ones who can propose candidates. A new emphasis should be placed on the fact that citizens can run as candidates regardless of whether they are party members, in any type of election, including presidential elections, prioritizing the fact that youth, who have traditionally been marginated from political activity, might have a dominant role in the destiny of the country.

The election of deputies should be by provinces or districts, doing away with the election of national deputies. The right to proportional representation of minorities should be ensured, especially of indigenous, in every type of election.

The functions exercised by the Supreme Electoral Council (SEC) should be decentralized in different institutions (identity cards, parties and associations, organization of electoral processes, etc), completely reorganized, not just with the participation of the political parties, but civil society organizations, who should play a role of oversight and control.

Tbe new electoral system should include the partial or total renovation of the deputies of the National Assembly halfway through each presidential period. The dates for legislative elections should coincide with municipal and regional elections which should be held every two years, so that the elected officials might know that their posts will always depend on the assessment of their performance and the will of the electors.

To be a candidate for popular election they should be qualified and honest. In addition the 50/50 Law should be kept and respected that ensures the presence of women on electoral ballots which opens the doors for their participation in political decision making posts.

  1. System for direct election and renovation of magistrates and of other high officials, under citizen control.

The citizens should be given back the capacity to elect and remove magistrates, as well as other high officials from other branches and institutions of the State. That vicious cycle should be ended where the executive branch proposes candidates for magistrates who end up being approved through agreements and negotiations among the deputies, who generally obey the interests of party leaders, who include them on the electoral lists, annulling the capacity of the citizens who elected them.

On establishing a percentage of votes of deputies to choose the magistrates, the problem is resolved through transactions or political pacts, turning the deputies into the principal electors, annulling the popular will. This type of indirect election makes possible the creation of political rings and castes, which are the negation of democracy.

It should be established that the holders of the executive branch, deputies, mayors, councilpersons, members of the regional governments, all popularly elected officials, are subject to the evaluation of the people through a recall referendum. In this way any popularly elected official, having finished a third of their mandate, and in the face of a petition for their removal signed by a certain number of citizens, those signers should have the capacity to call for elections in that specific case, so that it be the electors who decide if the official continues or not in their post.

  1. Restructuring of the judicial branch

Democracy is, in the last instance, the governance of judges. These officials are the ones who decide on the freedom of people, the future of their assets and settle political conflicts. The one who controls the judicial power, controls the State and political power. That is why a profound reform and restructuring of the judicial system should be done. The magistrates, judges should be directly elected by the people, and submitted every two years, when intermediate elections are held, to the control of the citizenry.

The judicial profession should be submitted to periodic controls. Only the people through their vote can decide whether a judge continues in their post for one more period. The re-election of judges and magistrates should have a limit, no more than three periods, to open the way for the formation of new judges and magistrates.

A commission composed of recognized jurists and national and foreign academics should examine and review the curriculums of the aspirants, and they will be the candidates who would be subject to popular balloting. Political parties cannot campaign in favor of the candidates under pain of disqualification.

The Supreme Court of Justice (SCJ) should decentralize their functions, so that the administrative functions are not mixed with jurisdictional ones, and with those of control and sanctioning. Deputies cannot be candidates for judges or magistrates. It is a matter of building a new judicial branch that would supervise jointly with the citizenry the functioning of public administration and democracy.

Amparo [constitutional or administrative protection order] should not be an appeal but a judgement, as happens in Latin America. A Constitutional Tribunal should be created, whose magistrates will not obey political parties, but the mandate of the citizenry.

  1. Ongoing fight against corruption

In Nicaragua corruption is an evil embedded in all the State institutions, and it has become part of the political culture: popularly elected posts and public service have been turned into ladders for illicit enrichment. That is why the fight against corruption should be ongoing and at every level. Corruption is one of the principal causes of the increase in poverty and social inequality. It is not possible to fight poverty without fighting corruption at the same time. Indeed corruption erodes and weakens democratic institutionality, annulling existing legality, promoting impunity and social chaos.

The existing laws for fighting corruption are not applied because the State institutions responsible for fighting it, like the Comptroller General of the Republic (CGR), the Attorney General of the Republic and the different tribunals of justice have been victims of the concentration of power phenomenon, which centralizes the mechanisms for the election of magistrates and other high officials solely on the deputies of the National Assembly, who are elected through the lists of the political parties who exercise a monopoly on popular representation.

The anti-corruption legislation should be modernized, administrative processes should be greatly simplified, a new law of State Purchasing and one for Conflict of Interest of Public Officials should be approved, establishing online bidding, so that everyone can see what is happening with prices and technical specifications, taking into consideration citizen participation at all levels, developing to the maximum electronic governance.

Transparency should become a new fundamental right, a key factor for strengthening social confidence and a sense of participation and co-responsibility in the construction of a shared destiny. Public information should never be managed as if it were private. The people have the right to know all the affairs, no matter how complicated they may seem. The officials who violate this principle of access to public information will be submitted to severe penal sanctions.

Likewise, the obligation should be established of all officials to be accountable to the general assembly of workers of the public sector with the participation of the citizenry every three months for spending, investments or purchases made. The result of these reports should be placed on the web page of the respective institutions.

In all State institutions an assembly of public servants should be organized to create citizen control commissions responsible for overseeing the implementation of the budget, plans for purchasing and bidding, with the legal faculties to file the corresponding charges. Those who make any denouncements will not be able to be fired nor will there be any administrative reprisals against them, unless it is shown that they had no basis.

The new constitution should establish the new principle that there is no immunity for crimes related to corruption. All assets obtained through acts of corruption or money laundering are imprescriptible, it is the obligation of the State to pursue them until they are recovered, trying and punishing those who are guilty. The officials punished for acts of corruption through a final judgement will be disbarred for life from running for public posts or providing public service, as well as prohibited from being a supplier of the State or contracting with Public Administration.

  1. Professionalization and dignity of public service

A radical democratization is required so that workers in public administration never again are hired or fired based on their party affiliation or loyalty, but rather on the basis of their capacities and competency, and so that the career of civil service be respected.

The Civil Service Law should be governed by the principle of the merits and capacities of the applicants, we should eradicate the culture of sharing posts by pacts and political arrangements or by electoral quotas. Likewise they should promote reforms so that the youth can make a career in public service in a decent way and with facilities for access.

  1. A fair tax system

The taxes of all Nicaraguans should not be used or diverted to enrich small groups, but should form part of the sacred national patrimony. Tax collection should be based on transparency, social control and the principle that the payment of taxes should be proportional to income. In this way society will have the resources needed to cover social spending and ensure the minimum functioning of democracy and the construction of a medium and long term national development plan that is able to transcend changes in government.

  1. Incorporating new rights in the Constitution

Respect for human rights in Nicaragua will never be limited by any government, placing arguments of “national sovereignty” above the relevancy of international treaties on this matter.

New fundamental rights should be incorporated and applied, like Gender Equity, and other specific rights of women, that should be implemented in all the State institutions and at all levels of social life.

Likewise, basic income should be established in a progressive manner for people who are living in levels of poverty. It is the only way of ending the political patronage that does so much damage to democracy, and so that the State might protect in this way those most in need.

Nicaragua should be proclaimed as a Social and Democratic Rule of Law State, governed by fundamental rights, by the principle of absolute respect and equality under the law, the control of the citizenry in the affairs of the State, and the defense of the environment.

The right to rebellion or insurrection against dictatorial or dynastic governments should be recovered, as a fundamental essential right of Nicaraguans.

Likewise, new procedural guarantees should be reformed or incorporated: the function of the Police should be to investigate crimes and send the accused to the judicial authorities in a term no longer than 24 hours. In their investigations the Police should be subordinated to the Prosecutor´s office, who should be responsible for directing the investigations and the gathering of proof. Detentions can only be done through a judicial order or when catching a crime in progress.

Jury trials should be re-established for all cases, and exceptional jurisdictions should be ended.

In addition, Nicaragua should bring itself into the XXI Century and promote the access of all children and adolescents to information technologies and the internet.

  1. Reorganization of the Army and the Police

The role that the National Police have performed in the current civic insurrection, as a small, very centralized repressive army, forces us to re-examine the role of the police forces. The Police should play a very important role in ensuring citizen security, in a context of the advance of the drug trafficking cartels and organized crime in Central America.

To keep the National Police from being a small, mercenary army at the unconditional service of a dictatorial government, their operation should be decentralized, creating municipal police who will maintain a national coordination or command, but whose members will be recruited from within the community, who will be subject to the local authorities. The naming of the Chief of Police in each municipality, as well as their term in the post, will be done through direct election of the citizens. The monopoly of the control of the president of the republic over the National Police must end, it should be shared with the local authorities.

The National Police should have a Community Policing approach, composed of people from the community on a rotating manner, with a reduced administrative apparatus and permanent officials. More women should be incorporated into the chain of command of this Community Police.

Likewise, the role and conception of the National Army should be re-evaluated. The collective trauma that the implementation of military service had during the civil war (1982-1990) has made it possible, contradictorily, for the evolution of the National Army as an institution ever more separated from the people.

In times of peace, the Army should have a very reduced apparatus, it should be composed of citizens who provide their civil service regularly within the armed forces at certain times. Likewise, more women should be incorporated into the chain of command of the Army.

It should not only defend the national sovereignty against drug trafficking and organized crime, but also exercise a social function in the most vulnerable social sectors, protecting and defending the environment, enabling youth to join as their first job and acquire technical training. This is the only way to prevent having an Army of full time paid soldiers unconnected to the people. The Army should not have, nor its officers, businesses or companies to finance retirement systems different from those that most of the population have, or caste privileges that promote social inequality.

Due to the importance of this issue, a special plebiscite should be promoted on the reorganization of the National Army and the National Police, so that the people might democratically decide the path to follow.

  1. Educational revolution, academic freedom, and university autonomy.

Nicaragua will never come out of poverty without being able to raise the educational level of its population.

Nicaragua is losing the only opportunity from the “demographic dividend” as dozens of thousands of youth do not have the opportunity to study and work. The dichotomy between primary education and higher education is false. Both are complementary. That is why academic freedom and university autonomy should be insisted on for training the technical staff and the professionals that the country requires.

Primary and secondary education should include a class on civic education, so that the students might learn from an early age how the State functions and what the principles of democracy are.

Within the framework of basic income, it should be ensured that all children finish their primary and secondary schooling. For that purpose 15% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) should be used for public education. State resources should be used to develop public education, and the businesses of private schools and universities should never be subsidized. The universities should never be submitted to political power and party control.

The teaching profession and scientific research should be encouraged and protected by the State.

Social innovation and entrepreneurship should be encouraged by the State to expand the labor prospects of the recently graduated youth from the Universities so that they can be inserted into the work world. Likewise, the Youth First Job Law should be approved where the universities and companies will coordinate to provide facilities of access to work to recently graduated youth, and so that the relationship between professional majors and market demand might be improved.

  1. The role of the State in the economy

Given the backwardness of the productive forces in Nicaragua, the State should play the role of promoting economic development, the only way of doing away with migration and poverty. Within a scheme of the social market economy, the principal public services (water, health care, education, energy and communications) should be in the hands of the State. The acceptance of mixed enterprises in these areas, and the percentages of private, national or foreign participation, will depend on the needs of each concrete case.

A State bank should exist that would promote financing, at fair interest rates, to the benefit of the peasantry, artisans and small urban and rural producers. To prevent political patronage and corruption that can lead to their bankruptcy, the workers and clients of the state bank should be allowed to form a verification and control commission of the loans, focused on citizen participation.

The profits of the private banks should be regulated, through a policy of fair interest rates, that do not exploit the population.

  1. Agrarian reform and the defense of the environment

The agrarian reform that was promoted under the revolution in the 1979-1990 period was reversed in later decades. A process of land concentration functioned and now we have the existence of new large landowners. This process was possible because the peasantry did not have financial and technical assistance that would allow it to develop agriculture or ranching. Not only should the right of the peasantry to land be ensured, but also the right of peasant women to be owners of land. Likewise, a state bank is needed whose principal function would be to develop the peasant economy. The State should ensure a policy of fair prices for peasant products.

The agricultural production of Nicaragua in large measure rests on small and medium producers. It is necessary that these sectors grow through increase in yields and productivity, more than by the expansion of the agricultural frontier, which has degraded hydrological basins, produced sedimentation and the disappearance of water sources, and destroyed biodiversity.

Protected areas should be expanded, like Bosawás and Indio Maíz, and other new ones created. Protecting the national capital of the country should be a priority – water, soils, forests and biodiversity – the State should ensure that they be used in a sustainable manner.

The agrarian reform should have an ecological approach, one of defense of the land, forests, water and the environment. Zones apt for agriculture should be defined, planting should not be done on hills or inclines, what lands are apt for ranching should be pinpointed. Extensive ranching should be eliminated, promoting the creation of modern farms with breeds of cattle that allow production to increase without the need to destroy forests. Peasant or indigenous communities should be the protectors of the forests. A process of reforestation should be promoted and the protection of natural reserves for the purpose of caring for the water of rivers and lakes.

  1. For true autonomy in the Caribbean Coast

Raising the autonomy of the Caribbean Coast to constitutional status in 1995 implied great progress, but the real effects of the Autonomy Statute of the Regions of the Caribbean Coast of Nicaragua are more formal than real. The principal decisions on the economic resources of the Caribbean Coast, and investment in them, in reality are not up to the Regional Councils, nor the indigenous communities, but the central government, which continues limiting the right to autonomy of the native population.

Not only should the customs, language and culture be preserved, but also the communal forms of organization of the indigenous population, which should administer and protect the natural resources.

Even though it is true that as a result of the struggle of the indigenous communities progress has been made in the titling of communal lands, as long as there is no resettlement of non indigenous on their land, the autonomy of the Caribbean Coast will be a fiction.

  1. Consolidation of municipal autonomy

Municipal autonomy has been enshrined in the Constitution since 1987, but in reality the municipalities are subordinated to the central government, in spite of the existence of the Municipal Law. The role of the State in society should be realized through the municipalities. The national budget should be invested in the municipalities. The role of the central government should be reduced, and the functions decentralized in the municipalities. The structure of the State should rest on the municipalities, who should control education, the supply of potable water, public services, services of police, sewage and the defense of the environment.

The democratization of Nicaragua passes through transferring more national power and resources to the municipal governments.

  1. Reconstructing the Central American nation

In the XXI century the countries of Central America are intimately linked by their economic bases, but not on the level of state superstructure. What happens in some of the countries of Central America has repercussions on the rest. SICA [Spanish acronym for the Central American Integration System] has played a great role as a project for the reunification of the national economies, but it has not achieved the goal. The establishment of PARLACEN was a great step forward on the political plane, but it has very limited functions. We should make more progress. The deputies to PARLACEN should be the same deputies of the national legislative organs, so that there is no separation and ignorance about the regional reality.

We should proceed until achieving the call for a Central American Constituent Assembly that would allow for the creation of a Central American federation or confederacy.

Managua, Nicaragua, September 14 & 15, 2018.

 

Letter to the Commander in Chief of Nicaraguan Army from Prominent Nicaraguan Women

This letter, although written on July 24, was published as a paid ad in La Prensa,  on August 2, 2018. Early on in this crisis the Commander in Chief of the Army, General Avilés, issued a press release saying that the Army would not take part in this internal conflict. The position of the Army is seen as a very sensitive issue. On the one hand, it is the institution with the highest approval rating in Nicaraguan society, and was praised – even by the US – for its professionalism. On the other hand, after the US supported military coup in Honduras in June 2009, Ortega took steps to consolidate his effective control over this armed body. So many breathed a sign of relief with the initial statement of neutrality of the Army in this crisis. In fact various Nicaraguan national security analysts since then have attributed Ortega´s use of paramilitary or parapolice forces to the neutrality of the Army. Their analysis is that, given the massive nature of the protest, he was not able to adequately respond with just the police forces available, so has armed other groups favorable to the government.   Since then a controversy has arisen as these pro-government parapolice or paramilitary forces have operated with weapons only permitted for the Army, and it has been revealed that many of them are retired military. Thus some are questioning the “neutrality” of the Army in the face of these parapolice forces

Managua, July 24, 2018

General of the Army

Julio César Avilés

Commander in Chief of the Army of Nicaragua

Dear General Avilés

We a group of Nicaraguan women sincerely write to you to ask that the National Army proceed to disarm the parapolice groups that are usurping the functions and equipment of the Institution that you lead, to carry out criminal acts against the civilian population.

The certainty that by constitutional principle the National Army is a “non deliberative and apolitical” institution has moved us to send this letter, in addition to knowing that:

  1. The Political Constitution of Nicaragua establishes in its Article 95 that “there cannot exist other armed bodies in the national territory, nor military ranks than those established by the law.”
  2. In Article 2, Law 855, Law of the Reform and Additions to Law 181, the Code for the Organization, Jurisdiction and Social Military Prevision it is written that the Army should “use its forces and means to fight threats to the national safety and defense, and any illicit activity that would put at risk the existence of the Nicaraguan State, its institutions and the fundamental principles of the nation….”
  3. In addition, the General Assembly of the United Nationa approved on December 4, 1989 the International Convention against the recruitment, use, financing and training of mercenaries. This Convention establishes in its Articles 1b and 1d that mercenaries are those who without being members of the armed forces of a State, get involved in a conflict with the desire of obtaining personal advantage having been hired by one of the parties in conflict from which they receive material retribution considerably higher to what combatants of similar rank and function receive in the armed forces.

As mothers, workers and professionals, we are extremely upset by the pain of hundreds of mothers and sisters who have lost their children and/or have them disappeared or in prison. The conflict – which exploded in April of this year – is the consequence of a decade of suppresion of liberties. Unfortunately the Government has tried to resolve it with indiscriminate repression, which only has made the problem worse. Even more, to be able to increase the repression, the regime – violating our Constitution – has created irregular mercenary groups who usurping the functions of the National Army murder, kidnap and torture unarmed civilians, using rifles of war and heavy arms that should only be used by the Army.

The existence of these parapolice groups constitutes a threat to our nation and to the existence of our State. The Convention of the UN cited above, having present the experience of other conflicts in which third party parapolice forces have been used, points out that the activities of the mercenary groups when they have happened, “ have contributed to the destabilization of the affected States…”

For Nicaragua to be able to move ahead it is essential that the National Army look for mechanisms to preserve the constitutional order and peace, for which purpose it is key to dismantle and disarm these mercenary forces who are sowing terror among the population, carrying out an illegal war against the true sovereign of the nation, the Nicaraguan people.

Signing Names

Gioconda Belli            Lea Guido                   Josefina Vanini          Ximena Ramírez

Vanessa Castro          Violeta Granera         Mignone Vega            Carmen Elizondo

Cristiana Chamorro  María Hurtado           Mónica Zalaquett      Grace March

Ligia Elizondo            Malena Montis           Ana Eliza Martínez    Rita Delia Casco

Central American University announces SUSPENSION OF WORK FOR THE MONTH OF AUGUST

The Central American University in Managua released this press statement yesterday July 31, 2018 announcing the suspension of most of their activities for the month of August. Nearly half of its budget in recent years, much of it used for scholarships for low income students, has come from state funding . By constitutional mandate dating back to the 1950s the government is obliged to dedicate 6% of its total budget to higher education. The CNU (National University Council) is responsible for its distribution. From the beginning of the crisis in April the UCA has protected students and the population from attacks by pro-government supporters and paramilitaries. Nearly 5,000 people took refuge in the UCA after the massive demonstration on Mother´s Day was fired on by snipers (see earlier posting of interview of President of the UCA Fr. Idiáquez)

UCA

CENTRAL AMERICAN UNIVERSITY

SUSPENSION OF WORK FOR THE MONTH OF AUGUST

Dear Collaborators of the UCA:

Given the serious situation that we are experiencing in the country, our University is going through a very difficult moment. The UCA has seen itself forced to suspend all its academic programs and most of the services that it offers to the public, which constitute sources for the generation of income for the funds of the University. In addition, there have been delays in the transfers of state funds assigned to the UCA. The CNU (National University Council) has informed us that this is due to problems of liquidity of the Ministry of the Treasury and Public Credit. In spite of all the difficulties, the University has made the maximum efforts to ensure the salary of all the staff.

The conditions described prevent the University from being able to continue dealing adequately with all its operational costs. In light of this, it is urgent to take some additional measures of austerity and cost reduction, until the current situation is overcome. In this sense, a temporary cancelation is needed to be done of the activities that are still underway, which implies the suspension for the month of August of labor contracts of an important part of our collaborators.

The figure of Suspension is the temporary interruption of the execution of the labor contract and does not terminate the established legal relationship (Art. 35 Labor Code). The Collective Suspension of Work due to Force Majeure [forces beyond our control], contemplated in the Labor Code (Art. 38) is the option that allows the labor relationship to not be cancelled and is a form of ensuring the work position of each one of our collaborators. The people affected by this measure will be notified individually be the Human Resource Office.

The University is grateful for the understanding of everyone given the complex situation that we are experiencing.

July 31, 2018

 

 

Will We be Able to Live Together Some Day?

This is an opinion piece done by Guillermo Rothschuh, writer, essayist and Director of Observatorio de Medios of CINCO, published on July 20 in their digital publication, Confidencial. It addresses one of the principal problems for the future of Nicaragua, no matter how the crisis unfolds – the ongoing polarization of the country.

Will We be Able to Live Together Some Day?

By Guillermo Rothschuh, published in Confidencial July 20, 2018

A fraticidal struggle. The critical moment that Nicaragua is experiencing – with hundreds of dead, wounded, jailed and disappeared – invites reflection. Finding a way out is urgent. The physical and emotional wear and tear is increasing. The division within the Nicaraguan family continues to mount. All of us are obliged to find a response to the crisis that the country is experiencing. Mourning is generating deep resentment. The cry of the mothers shakes the conscience and disrupts reason. None of these deaths are acceptable. The explosion of disagreements on the networks demonstrates again that political differences divide us. They cause fissures difficult to heal. The pooled hate is gushing out. We are drowning!

The stigmatization, campaigns to discredit, report people, accusations and counter accusations, defamation, slander, maliciousness, political and ideological intolerance, intransigence and lack of compassion form part of the daily rations served up in the networks. The discord and slander deepens the gap that separates families. Maybe the worst consequence –in addition to the mourning and crying – for Nicaraguans is that they have lost several of their loved ones. The historic moment that Nicaragua is experiencing made the ethical crisis rise to the surface. The process for healing the wounds is going to be long and painful. The verbal and symbolic lack of restraint and aggressiveness have destroyed the honor and reputation of people. There are no scruples with anyone nor for anyone.

Those most committed to peace should be the rulers, it is not a matter of making false calls for understanding. Attitude and not words are what in the last instance ratify the true feeling of people. It is up to no one more than President Daniel Ortega and Vice President Rosario Murillo to take a radical turn in the search for an authentic peace. The country cannot continue bleeding out. Good sense should prevail in the face of all adversity. The asymmetry between the forces in dispute is disproportional. The right of might has never been advisable. Even less among people who form the same human cluster. Each death breaks us up. Cracks the social fabric. Makes it difficul to re-establish national harmony. Leaves uncurable scars.

The amount of deaths and the occupation of property reinstalled the cycle of violence that has shaken Nicaragua since our independence (1821). Will it be possible for us to live together at some time? The reiteration of violence takes us back to the national war (1856-1857). Why have we not been able to dialogue in a natural and more appropriate way to resolve our political differences? Why is the negotation table only returned to when the victor – over a pool of blood – tries to impose his supremacy on the others? The peace of the conquered! An artificial peace. Ficticious. Born from the mouth of a rifle. Nicaraguan rules have been friends to the guerillas and the physical elimination of their opponents.

The systematic use of violence. The US citizen Ephraim George Squier, journalist, diplomat and archaeologist, among the several books that he drafted on the Central America region, one is enough to know the stuff that we are made of. Nicaragua: Its People and Landscapes (1970): a valuable text for identifying our immediate past. Jaime Incer Barquero states that Squier had the honor of leaving us the legacy of “a great wealth of national knowledge through his abundant writings, illustrations and maps, like no other foreigner or occasional traveler through Nicaragua had done before, nor will be able to later.” I speak highly of the assessment of a researcher like Incer Barquero in order that the talent and disposition of Squier be understood. The very primary importance of this text for the knowledge of our political idiosyncracy.

Beween surprised and concerned, Squier confirmed how the winners capitalized on their victories in the ballot boxes. He proved that whoever wins, wins everything! Those who were in disagreement could expect jailing, confiscation, exile or death. I wonder whether evil was left encrusted in the deepest part of being Nicaraguan? Some even think that our propensity to violence comes from farther away. They talk about the Pedrarias Sydrome, referring to Rodrigo Contreras, son in law of Pedrarias and the butcher of Bishop Valdivieso. He did not forgive him for interceding before the Spanish Crown, so that he would not continue enriching himself and killing the indigenous population. With the intention of teaching the citizenry a lesson, he went to a lot of trouble to give him a terrible death.

The closest relationship between the text of Emilio Álvarez Montalván, Cultura política nicaragüense (Fouth edition, Hispamer, 2008) and La Lucha por el Poder (Ardis, 2017) of Enrique Bolaños Geyer is that both coincide in highlighting the systematic use of violence and authoritarianism to resolve our political discords. Álvarez Montalván maintains that “The depth of the drama of our political culture is that we do not like to enter into civic competition with the adversary, rather we have the compulsion to remove him or discredit him using “legal” methods or tricks, like exclusion.” Civic competition causes allergies and rejection. Rulers prefer electoral fraud. They have always sought to control the institution that counts the votes.

Does the disease have no cure? Bolaños Geyer from the beginning opts for highlighting in five chapter titles (out of ten in his book) the words anarchy, war, instability and dynasty. “In 160 years of sovereign life, since May 2, 1838 (when Nicaragua separated itself from the Central American Federation and became completely independent) until 2007 there have been – at the very least – 111 changes of government in which 61 people have participated, many times as the result of a struggle of political caudillos to be installed and tighten their hold for life on the seat of executive power.” He points to these principal people as responsible for the suffering of the Nicaraguan people. The evil continues as a tumor and it would seem that there is no antidote for this disease.

How can one look on the other when dealing with a being of flesh and blood? How can you look on your fellow countryperson, inhabitant of the same territory, with whom at some moment you shared a desk in school, visited the same places, are from the same town, live in the same neighborhood, walked through the same streets, are connected by family ties, played on the same baseball or soccer team, went out on the town with, countless times rode the bus together, are great friends of your brothers, go to the same church, believe in democracy as system of govern,ent, were active members of the same political party and share the same traditions? Are we so blind that we pass over or are not affected by all these affinities? Everthing indicates that yes that is how it is!

As long as there are no substantial changes in our political culture, we will not be able to overcome these inequities. The other continues to be foreign. The closeness that we might have does not matter. The crucial thing in politics continues being how do we conceive of the other? As long as we consider them as our enemy and not as our adversary, we will continue anchored to a past that is ending up nearly impossible to overcome. In Nicaraguan society, the enormous social, economic, racial, educational and cultural inequalities constitute a norm. Perspective has to be changed. What other way is there to leap over hell? The original sin of Sandinism was to try to install uniformity of thought,. An impossible aspiration.

The other is our neighbor! The response is the question, how are we going to resolve the inequalities that we have with others? It will be positive if we understand that all of us live in the same planet and we live under the same sky. “All of us inhabitants of our planet are Others to other Others: I to them, they to me” notes Ryszard Kapuscinski. I have the impression that we – Nicaraguans – have not been able to find ourselves with our-other-selves. The ways in which political controversies historically have been settled constitute a warning. A tragic sign. We are entering the XXI Century with very high levels of intolerance. Disagreeing continues to be a crime. This has been proven during these months of civic insurrection.

The number of resources used to destroy the other – catalogue of greviences presented by Emilio Álvarez Montalván – present in the Nicaraguan political culture of this century, are similar to the exclusions pointed out by Squier. Censure, confiscation, exile, jail –“trials to justify legalized imprisonment” – up to physical elimination. An unending spiral. Our history would seem to move on a stationary bicycle (the metaphor we owe to the philosopher Alejandro Serrano Caldera). As long as we do not break this iron circle, we will continue stuck in the same place! We have not been able to retrace history. The caudillos have known how to sweet talk their followers. They continue to keep them captivated.

To be able to live together – in other words, to be able to live in peace – we have to quit considering the other as the enemy. No one should be criminalized nor persecuted nor jailed for dissenting. Much less killed! How much it is costing us to break with the values of the past! We need to put a stop to this! Go back to the dialogue table. On one occasion the poet José Coronel Urtecho said to me: Rhymester, we Nicaraguans are genetically sons of bitches. Accept it, poet! It is not a matter of a cultural problem.” I refuse to accept it. Like the Chinese, let us see the crisis as an opportunity. If we do not get on the train of history today, we will lose a new occasion to re-encounter ourselves. Then it will be concluded that we are hopelessly lost.

 

Paying the Price

Now in the fourth month of discord in Nicaragua, there is no end in sight.  Statements and actions of the president indicate no capitulation to the demands of the protesters.  The demonstrators show no weakening of will or purpose in their stand against the government.  Other voices from outside the country weigh in on both sides.  But there are other voices, unheard, who are paying a steep price indeed for the impasse that is Nicaragua today.

There’s an entire population, urban and rural alike, which survives hand-to-mouth in the Nica economy, and the upheavals that have occurred over the past several months have all but quieted those hands.  Tourism, an important component of the economy everywhere in the country, has ceased.  Rural producers, who have labored hard and diligently sought to learn improvements for their yields and their markets, have watched their momentum slip away once again, not due to rainfall or drought or crop infestation, but from politics.  The improved road infrastructure throughout Nicaragua was rendered inaccessible for long periods of time during the protests, as barricades achieved what they sought to achieve: the halt of commerce.  Markets demand goods, and goods must make their way from the farms.  As a result, credit obligations have sometimes not been met.  Materials for a new harvest cycle cannot be bought.  Collateral has been called.  Sources of credit have evaporated.

In the words of Sergio Ramírez, former Vice President for Daniel Ortega:

“The universities have been closed for three months and the high schools as well. 10% of the public schools are functioning, no parent thinks about sending their child to school. Life ends at 5pm, everyone looks to get home. There is no night life in Managua, being out on the street after 6pm is putting your life at risk. Social life has changed a lot, so it is a situation of seclusion.”

This is not a life of vibrant progress, but of loss.

To be sure, some of these voices have joined the chorus either in support or defiance of the government.  But the “silent majority” of Nicaragua, as usual, has little opportunity to speak its reality.  As always, those in the countryside are paying an enormous price for that reality.  The disappointment must be immense; hard work perhaps does not always pay off.   Still, they persevere.  What else is there?

The litany of matters which have oppressed and stalled Nicaraguans for portions of two centuries are long and diverse.  Some were natural disasters. Others were the result of outside forces seeking to own the beauty and the richness of the country.  And often the sources of the inequities and the impoverishment were the legacies of leaders who could not envision leadership without autocracy.  As the saying goes, “There’s always something.”

There is likely a limit to human resilience for most of us.  These is a saturation point beyond which even our tenacity and determination will not permit us to go.  I worry about Nicaragua a lot these days.  I anxious for the lives of those who are on the front lines for a cause in which they believe, for whatever reason.  My heart aches for the places I have come to love in Nicaragua, some now relegated to battlegrounds once again.  But my greatest fear is for the steadfast endurance of those in the countryside, for whom every day is both a blessing to be celebrated and a threat to be confronted.

The number of physical victims in the Nicaraguan turmoil of the past three months continues to grow.  Some estimates have the number of dead at more than 300, the number of “disappeared” at more than 750  and many thousands of others injured from the attacks from paramilitary forces.  No matter what the actual count, the costs have been extensive thus far, with no end in sight.  These are the dramatic affronts that deserve our tears and our prayers.  But the price being extracted is strangling all Nicaraguans….

Daniel Ortega´s Speech on the 39th Anniversary of the Revolution

To have a full picture of the polarization in Nicaragua today it is important to compare this speech with the previous post, the interview of Daniel Ortega´s Vice President in the 1980s, Sergio Ramírez. Ortega accuses the opposition of exactly what he is being accused of. What is particularly noteworthy is his conflict with the Bishops, who he originally went to and asked to host the National Dialogue. Documents from the dialogue can be found in earlier posts. Here is his speech [capitals are from the original text published by the FSLN webpage]

Brother and Sister Nicaraguans, Families of this Country of Diriangén, Darío and Sandino, today, the 39th anniversary of the Triumph of the Revolution, is a very Special Date because, from April to May, May to June, from June to July 19th, it has been up to us to defend once again Peace for all Nicaraguans.

And it has been a painful Battle, painful because we have faced an armed conspiracy financed by internal Forces that we all know, and by external Forces that we identify completely, because they themselves have taken charge of revealing the financing that they give to these groups that become an instrument of the Policies against the People, against the Poor, against the Peasants, against the Youth.

And a coup is being organized, we were seeing it, it would seem difficult having so much Stability in Nicaragua, 11 years of Stability, 11 years of Security, 11 years of Economic Growth, 11 years of Health Care, Education, Streets for the People, Homes for the People, Agrofood Programs, Programs for the Countryside, Programs for the City; with approval levels for this Government of the People without precendent in the History of Nicaragua, the highest Approval levels.

Of course, they could not allow the Revolution to continue consolidating itself, and the Strength of the Revolution undoubtedly that resided in Peace, Security, Stability and that at the same time allowed the Economy to grow, to the benefit of the Small Producers, to the Benefit of Walking Salespeople, to the Benefit of the Peasants, to the Benefit of the Large Producers, to the Benefit of the Medium Enterprises, to the Benefit of Large Enterprises, to the benefit of Large Capital. All were benefitting, and it was good that they benefitted, it was a correct Policy: Benefits for Everyone!

But for that Economic Growth and that Benefit for Everyone to be possible, there had to be Peace and Security; so the conspiracy said: We have to kill Peace, do away with Peace, so that the Economy would be destroyed and the Revolution be destroyed, and that Sandinista Government be destroyed. That was the Plan, and they began to invent once again what they have been working on for some years, with financing from Organizations, US Agencies, they began to work through the Networks, they began to work now with more force to provoke this shock and destroy Peace.

When the fire happened in the Indo Maiz Reserve, there they began to blame the Government for the fire in the Indio Maiz Reserve, and they said: This is the moment; because the Specialists that come to support us in the face of this fire in a Forest Reserve, including Specialists, US Experts were telliing us that it would be difficult for us to be able to control that fire in 2 or 3 months, and they provided as examples the fires that they experience in the United States that last months.

Logically we were concerned, and they working on their conspiracy under this principle, this fire is going to last, this is the moment. And they began the war through the Networks, nationally as well as internationally, and they continued arming themselves, because they have been arming themselves, they were already arming themselves.

And under what coverage were the protests? They are “civic protests” they say… civic protests, civic protests, but, how did they kill the son of Amada? With what did they kill him? With weapons of fire, even weapons of war, they came to stockpile weapons of war. With what did theuy kill the Sandinista brothers and sisters who they went to find in their homes, simply for being Sandinistas, and they shot them? With what did they kill them?

The civic protest was just the pretext, and they held some Marches where they were not armed, but on the other hand they had armed people, and they installed the armed people at points where they converged into points of terror, where they installed torture centers, they used the Universities to install torture centers, to kill. And we were saying: How far are they thinking of going? How far are they thinking of going? Because the fire, thanks to the intensity of the rains in the Indio Maiz zone quickly disappeared. And they were left without fires!

So the Decree was issued to respond to Social Security, which is essential, which is necessary to save Social Security. And when the Decree was issued, again in the streets with the social protest, with the civic protest they started immediately, now at midnight, in the early morning and the following days with armed attacks against State institutions, with armed attacks against the Sandinista Front for National Liberation, the institutions of the Sandinista Front, with armed attacks and burning of buildings of institutions, and then with the looting also of Enterprises of Supermarkets. It was a matter of sowing chaos.

And in an Act of Patience, of Patience, avoiding falling into provocations, we ordered that the Decree be withdrawn; it did not mean anything to them that we withdrew the Decree, they continued with their campaign, they, who started the aggression, they who caused the deaths and who sent the young people to death, and above all, Youth from the Neighborhood who they paid so they would participate as Shock Troops.

But we not only withdrew the Law, but we said: Well, we are going to a Dialogue to talk about the Law and get the law produced in a Dialogue, and they said that it no longer dealt with the Law. And where did they want to go, we said. And we were saying to them, what is it that you want? What is it that you are proposing to us? We wanted to hear them, we wanted to know what was the Strategy that they had. And they took out their claws, they took off their masks and they ended up saying: You have to leave now! You have to leave now!

They said it, logically, our adversaries… full of hate they said it! It was understandable that they would say it, but it surprised me more, or maybe it did not even surprise me, when the Mediators, meeting there in the Casa de los Pueblos with all the Bishops led by the Cardinal, read me the Riot Act, took out their Strategy, and they said there: “This has to change now, starting on day 11”, they gave us a term of two days, “the Judicial Branch has to change now, the Electoral Branch, the Comptrollers office, all the Branches of Government, the National Assembly, and the President has to be removed and the Elections pushed up”. They said that there with complete clarity.

When I received the Document, I said: Well, this is what they really want. I thought that they were Mediators, but no, they were committed to the coup plotters, they were part of the Plan with the coup supporters. And it hurts me a lot to say this, because I have respect for the Bishops, I respect them, I am Catholic, but they have positions there, some, of more confrontation, others I would say, more moderate, but unfortunately always the line of confrontation is imposed and not the line of Mediation. They failed to understand that Mediation is to have the two parties sit down and listen to the two parties, and not that the Mediator takes sides and says: You have to do this in so many days, in a week. A Coup they wanted to cause in Nicaragua, said by they themselves!

When they proposed this to me…well, I always ask God to fill me with the Patience of Job, and I said to them: Well, if you want to propose all this in the Dialogue, propose it, you can propose it, but there has to be a Consensus, and for there to be a Consensus there has to be agreement between the two parties, but they did not wait for Consensus, they simply appeared with an ultimatum.

I did not want to speak to them with this clarity, I simply took the Note, I paged through it, I was surprised, it hurt me that my Bishops had that coup supporting attitude…It hurt me! And right there they discredited themselves as Mediators, they disqualified themselves as Witnesses, because their clear Message was the Coup! The Coup! And from one day to the next.

When they presented that List to me, immediately I remembered what happened with that Mr. Carmona Estanga there in Venezuela, when the Coup against Chavez happened, that they came and met joyfully Leaders of the Churches, the Capitalists, the enemies of the People met in the Presidential House and the then began to say: The National Assembly disappears, the Electoral Branch disappears, the Attorney General disappears, the Justice Branch disappearsl And all of them joyfully applauding; then the People arrived, and the People got rid of them, got rid of them, and Chavez returned to exercise the legitimate Presidency that he had.

This is what has hurt me more, because I got to think that with the Bishops we could find Agreements that would give us Peace, that would help us to consolidate Peace. And the truth is that, every day that the Dialogue went, and when they talked about the barricades, and that they had to remove the barricades that they had imprisoned our People by all sides, they did not like that, they did not like that, the furthest it got was an Agreement for a 3 day Truce; that was the most that was gotten, a three day Truce.

And the Truth has to be said, you have to tell the Truth, I do not know if all the Bishops, I want to believe that not all the Bishops, I want to believe that the Cardinal did not know anything about this, but many Churches were occupied as bases to store weapons, to store bombs, and to leave from to attack and kill.

Look at this closely, they say that their struggle was civic, that their protest was civic; then who killed Senior Commissioner Luis Mayor Emilio López Bustos of the National Police? Who killed Captain Hilton Rafael Manzanares Alvarado of the National Police? Who killed Lieutenant José Abraham Martinez, of the National Police? Who killed Lieutenant Douglas José Mendiola Viales of the National Police? Who killed Lieutenant Marcos Antonio Gonzalez Briceño of the National Police? Who killed Jean Kerry Luna Gutierrez of the National Police?

Who killed Lieutenant Dixon Bismark Soza Enríquez of the National Police? Who killed Lieutenant Carlos José Zamora Martínez of the National Police? Who killed Lieutenant Zaira Julissa Flores of the National Police? Who killed Lieutenant Martín Ezequiel Sánchez of the National Police? Who killed Lieutenant Hilarios Jesús Ortiz Zavala of the National Police? Who killed Lieutenant Marlon José Requene López of the National Police? Who killed Lieutenant Lenin Ernesto Olivas Alaniz of the National Police? Who killed Lieutenant Gabriel de Jesús Vado of the National Police?

Who killed Inspector Juana Francisca Aguilar Cano of the National Police? Who killed Inspector Abelina Obando of the National Police? Who killed Inspector Ilish Aarón Urrutia of the National Police? Who killed Inspector Faber Antonio Vivas of the National Police? Who killed Inspector Faustino Téllez Vargas of the National Police? Who killed Inspector Kelvin Javier Rivera Lainez of the National Police? Who killed Inspector Luis David López Hurtado of the National Police? Who killed Senior Officer Allan Alexander Rodríguez Hernández of the National Police? Who wounded by bullets 342 men and 58 women of the National Police? And these are pacifists! They are the pacifists! These are the pacifists!

And then, who killed dozens of Sandinistas, hundreds of Sandinistas? Dramatic cases, dramatic! In Jinotepe, the coup supporters show up, defended by the Civic Alliance, defended by the Civic Alliance that is the false face of the coup supporters, is the mask of the coup supporters, the coup supporters show up to look for a person in their home; the person is not at home and the person´s younger brother opens the door and when he told them he was not there, then they killed the young boy, and left. Then the father of the murdered boy shows up, after the funerals, the grieving father, and he did not talk of hate, he did not talk of hating them, but that logically he grieved the death of his son, and he condemned it. And what did they do the next day? They also killed the father of the boy.

They injected the poison of hate! They turned them into a diabolical force, satanic, like those that practice satanic rites. When we see the way in which they acted, torturing the people in the barricades, killing them in the barricades, all that like a satanic rite, and what is more terrible, that shows that these people are completely satanized, and it is these that should be sought out to be exorcised, Mr. Bishops, these devils, these demons.

Look closely at how they are satanized, that all the atrocities, the crimes that they commit, the torture that they do, remember what they did with the son of Amada, what did they do? They danced, they jumped around the cadaver while they set it on fire, celebrating it, and filming themselves and later they themselves put it on the Networks, they themselves accusing themselves as the criminals, as the murderers of this People, that want to steal Peace from the Nicaraguans.

So much pain! So much pain! So much tragedy! But they are confused, one of the Bishops came to us to tell us that the Sandinista Front was now finished, that it no longer had people, that it was liquidated, and that it was better that we leave, that is what he said! That is how he said it! No, we are not going to disrespect the Bishops either, we are not going to fight with the Bishops, but, Christ died for the

Truth, and as Christians we are obliged to tell the Truth, and to ask the Bishops to correct themselves, for the Love of God, that they correct themselves and not be encouraging these satanic sects, coup supporters, murderers.

They thought that we were already defeated, simply because we had Patience, Patience, Patience…And it is that their Plan was incredible, incredible, they were so coordinated that I even remember that they placed as a condition on us, for the Dialogue Meeting, for the installation of the Dialogue, that the Police had to be restricted to their bases, in other words, secuester the Police. We said, look, how interesting, confine the Police to their barracks! Of course. Why? So that the armed people of the coup supporters could peacefully kill, murder, destroy and attack the very Police confined to their barracks.

And our Patience, our flexibility got to the extreme that we accepted confining the Police to their barracks; but a moment came where we said: We are patient, but we are also responsible for the Security of all these people. Even the US Ambassador told us this, that the Police should act; because now the “little angels” that were in the UNAN, armed, had already assaulted an Official of the American Embassy, they had taken his pistol, they had stolen his pickup. And I said: Of course, since their conspiracy is there, then they looked for a way in which the truck would be returned to them, but the pistol already appeared among the arms captured from those who were in the UNAN, imagine that.

So, not because the Ambassador of the United States said it, but because we know this is an obligation of the Nicaraguan State to watch over its Citizens. We said: This is over and we have to reestablish Order in our Country!

And that is what has them irritated, furious, and they are calling to exorcize us tomorrow, starting tomorrow they are going to start, they have ordered to say that there has to be an exorcism, that they have to exorcise us. Let them exorcise the demons that they have there next to them! Let them tell them that the Path is not war, but it is Peace, Dialogue. Let them tell them that we have to reestablish Peace in a definitive, total, permanent way, Stability so that the Country can continue growing, continue developing, because there will have to be an enormous effort to raise up the Economy. Thanks to God, the bases for Productive Actiivty are there, but they have logically fallen with this situation, and we hope that they can be quickly energized.

But for that it is indispensible that here all us Nicaraguans, regardless of Ideology, regardless of Political Thought, regardless of Religion, join forces to ensure Peace, which is what gives us Security and a Better Future for all Nicaraguan Families.

I want to thank you for the Message that Compañero Foreign Minister Bruno brought us on behalf of the President Miguel Díaz-Canel and Commandante Raul; and your Message, Bruno, is a Message with that Strength, with that Conviction that you have had and that the Cuban Revolution is always going to have, the Heir of Martí, Heir of Fidel, Heir of Che.

Likewise, grateful for the Message that the Foreign Minister of the Sister Republic of Venezuela have brought us, a young, very young Foreign Minister, and who has spoken to us from the Heart, and when he talks about the willingness of the Venezuelans to accompany our Battles, he reminds us of the time of Sandino when Brother Venezuelans were in the Sandino´s Army in Defense of the National Sovereignty.

Thanks, dear Compañero Jose Arreaza, Chancellor of Venezuela. And our Affection, our Esteem, our Gratitude for our Brother Nicolas Maduro, for Diosdado, for all the Members of the Leadership and for that brave and heroic Boliviarian People.

We greet the Brothers of the Sao Paulo Forum who accompany us in this 39th anniversary.

And from this Plaza de la Fe we greet the brothers and sisters of each and every one of the Provinces of our Country who on this occasion were not able to come. And they were not able to come, why? Because the Slogan was, to celebrate the 19th each one in their Province, in their Municipality. And Managua? Here is Managua with the Municipalities of Managua.

It has been, therefore, a massive Celebration where people have participated from all of our Country, from the Caribbean Coast, from the Autonomous Region of the Northern Caribbean to the Southern Caribbean, from the Provinces of Nueva Segovia and Madriz, from Matagalpa and Jinotega, from Boaco and Chontales, from San Carlos, Rio San Juan, from Chinandega, from León, from Carazo, from Granada, from Rivas from all of the Country, all participating, all the Provinces, this day on this great date, and all defending Peace!

Well, we have to learn from the experience of this that has happened, you have to fight for Peace with Firmness, you have to fight for Peace with Intelligence, you have to fight for Peace without hate, you have to fight for Peace strengthening the Mechanisms for Self Defense, so that never more Sandinista Families are murdered, nor never more are the homes of the Sandinista burned.

And that those sinister messages be erradicated from the Networks, where they are offering death to entire Families only for being Sandinista Families. And they say it there with complete clarity that they are going to kill the father, the mother, the children, even the small children they are going to kill, they say… What kind of thing is this? This is something from satanic sects. Please, dear Bishops, exorcise these demons, exorcise these demons.

And without dropping our guard, without dropping our guard, continue defending our Rights, continue defending our Decisions…!Our Decisions are not in Washington, they are in Managua! Our decisions are not in Washington, they are in Nicaragua! And we are those who have to defend our own Decisions to continue defending this Model, that continue promoting Peace, Reconciliation. Because we are never going to be sowers of hate, not even against those who have done so much damage to the People. We do not hate them! We say to them, correct yourselves, change, and help them to change and they can then be a proactive part in the construction of Peace in our Country. We want Sowers of Peace, not Sowers of Death!

I want to tell you, dear brothers and sisters, dear Nicaraguan Families, on this day, that you are, Brothers and Sisters, the Defenders of Peace with the Heroes who gave their Lives defending Peace. Here are the Defenders of Peace in this Plaza, and they are in all of Nicaragua, and we are full of Faith in the fact that we will win an ever more solid Peace, because Peace has to be defended every day, you have to be winning it every day, to keep situations like these from repeating.

Long live the 39th Anniversary of the Triumph of the Revolution!

Sandino Lives…the Fight Continues!

Free Country or Death!

Long Live Nicaragua!

Blessed and Always Free!