Category Archives: Nica Update

“My Head has a price in Nicaragua”, fleeing to Costa Rica to Survive.

This was published in the Costa Rican newspaper “Semanario Universidad” on August 7, 2018, located on the campus of the University of Costa Rica in San José. It provides a window into the lives of people who participated in the protests and saw themselves forced to flee the country and sought refuge in Costa Rica because of the violence.

“My Head has a price in Nicaragua”, fleeing to Costa Rica to Survive.

Published in Semanario Universidad August 7, 2018

By Yamlek Mojica Loásiga

Since the crisis began in Nicaragua, a new wave of migrants began that are fleeing to Costa Rica to survive. They do not come just in search of work, studies or health care. They did not plan their trip as a strategy to improve their living conditions, but as the only path to continue alive. These are some of the stories of these Nicaraguans.

The decision was already made. Lesly Mayorga would escape from Jinotega through the mountains along with his entire family on July 25th, before the Orteguista paramilitaries would be able to penetrate the “barricades” that were protecting his town. No one had a passport and no one wanted to leave their lives behind, but all wanted to save them. Without knowing exactly where they were going, seven days later they arrived at their final destination: Costa Rica was welcoming them.

Today Lesly wakes up on a mattress on the ground along with his entire family, within an improvised tent in the Center for Temporary Attention to Migrants (CATEM) in Guanacaste. He says that every day he silently cries out of nostalgia and impotence, but does not hesitate to state his happiness for not feeling afraid of being murdered. “Oh, I am happy. It is more comfortable here than sleeping on the ground in the forest,” he jokes.

In the northern CATEM the days pass slowly. For the more than 15 Nicaraguan migrants sheltered there the calm turns odd and suspect. After nearly four months of being witnesses to extreme repression on the part of the government of Nicaragua, the tranquility has become foreign to their sense of normality.

The Center is located five kilometers before reaching La Cruz, and more than 20 minutes from the border post of Peñas Blancas. It is an arid land, unpaved, with 25 green tents put up for around 40 immigrants, including Nicaraguans and extra regional migrants (as the African immigrants are administratively classified).

It is here that the authorities come to allow the migrants who are seeking asylum to enter the country. When Lesly arrived with his family of eight members to Peñas Blancas, they took down their data, offered them a migration appointment in La Uruca in San José, and drove them in a truck with his entire family to the Center. “We walked for more than five days. Going in the pickup gave me an incredible sense of peace,” he says.

More than seeming like Costa Rican soil, because of their [Costa Rican`s] obvious hostility and the origin of the tents where the refugee sleep, the place resembles the military camps in Irak. According to people responsible for the site, up to 25 people can be sheltered in each tent, and in their most crowded moments they can receive up to 300.

Within the Center the stories about the repression in Nicaragua are recounted all the time, and each person compares their experience with the experience of others. Even though all the immigrants come from different provinces, the stories are similar to one another.

Lesly Mayorga defended his trench in Jinotega from April 20 to a day before escaping. As he tells it, their weapons were mortars, rocks, and from time to time he had a machete, which months previously he used in farming. From the first day that he joined the Self Convened Movement he began to receive threats against himself and his family.

“One of the most difficult things was that the paramilitaries tried to burn down my house when I was not there. Since they were not able to, they took it out on my 15 year old daughter. They shot mortars at her body, they attacked her,” he said.

Currently there is an arrest warrant out for Lesly in Nicaragua for the crime of terrorism.

Nevertheless, he says his family was the principal reason why he had to flee the country. His daughters, all minors, had been threatened with being raped after putting him in jail.

He was left with nothing. In spite of his sturdy physique, Lesly appears vulnerable, sad. In his handbag he has the deeds to his house and a yellow list of the names of people who threatened him since he went into the trenches. Of all his belongings that he packed when he fled, these are the only papers that he has left.

Inside there is a tent with toys where the refugee children can play, but they have to play in the mud that the rain leaves. It is lunch time and the refugees make their own food on the fire. Among all the Nicaraguans they cook beans and rice and whisper among themselves. They smile at the cameras and look anxiously at the pot of food. Some, like Juan Carlos Espinoza, had not tasted food for more than five days.

Juan Carlos traveled from Managua to the border of Peñas Blancas, as he recounts, fleeing from the Sandinista Youth of his neighborhood. They recruited him months ago as a paramilitary, but he refused due to the fact that “he did not want to kill people.”

“One day they came to the house of my aunt, where I was living, to invite me to “Operation Cleanup”. They offered me 500 córdobas a day [some US$16] and an AK 47 to be out defending the Comandante from the “coup plotters”, he explained.

Juan did not finish high school but he was working in a barber shop. He earned less than US$100 a month and had several children to support. Even so, he states, he rejected the offer that they made him. From there began the intimidations against him and his family. He says that while he was going toward his house, people with their faces covered in a Hylux [pickup truck] got down and beat him, stole his identification, money that he was carrying and his cell phone. “After that, my aunt told me that she could not have me there (in her home). That I should leave. That is why I came to Costa Rica, “ he says.

Most of the way he traversed walking in the brush and without eating a bite. On arriving in the country, he did not ask for asylum, because he did not know that he could. “I had not eaten nor drunk anything in days. When I got to Costa Rica I looked for work on a pineapple farm and they told me that they were not hiring illegal immigrants. I went back, asked for water in a house nearby. They gave me money and told me about the shelter. I came in bus and taxi, and between those two things was left without any money again. But I got here and now was able to eat. I am now OK, “ he explains.

Juan Carlos´s voice is subdued, sad. He says that he does not have hope. He wants to go to the appointment to ask for asylum in La Uruca, but he does not know how to get to San José. The Government does not assume the cost of transportation, and each immigrant goes to their appointment on their own; most do not have their own money, therefore the only way of traveling the 267 kilometers of distance between the two places is hitchhiking. According to the Costa Rican office of Immigration and Foreign Status, they are working on immigration units closer to CATEM.

Most of the immigrants who live in the refugee center come into the country illegally. Among their reasons for coming in this way are the lack of money to process a passport and visa, or the fear of being stopped in the immigration post of Nicaragua.

Álvaro González came in this way, for those two reasons. He is 22 years old, but his tired face adds several years to that. He has used a wheel chair for two years now, due to the fact that while he was working as a newpaper delivery person he was attacked with a screwdriver in the back by gang members in a marginal neighborhood of Managua. Since then he has not been able to work, therefore processing a passport, he says, it economically impossible for him.

Since the beginning of the protests his brother entrenched himself in a university in Managua. A month ago he was captured within his house and they also tried to arrest Álvaro, “They (the paramilitaries)” came in to take my brother away and they wanted to lift me out of the wheelchair, saying that I was playing sick so that they would not arrest me,” he relates. When they realized his disability, they kicked him and threw him on the ground. “You cannot live in Nicaragua like that,” he laments.

Wth the help of his family he started to look for money to cross the border of Peñas Blancas with the help of coyotes. They told him it was nearly impossible to cross him over, and therefore they were charging him nearly double. The young man does not like to talk about how he was able to get to Costa Rica.

He goes ahead in the story and begins to remember how with his partner he was asking about the Refugee Center that he had seen in the news. He found it, but it did not have the capacity to receive him. Álvaro continues awaiting responses about where he will live temporarily. For now, he admits, it reassures him to live in a place where he does not hear bullets every half hour. For him it is worth sleeping on the ground if that allows him to survive.

La Cata of Jinotepe

“Ortega leaves and the next day I go back to my land.”

In the town people knew about the attack before the 8th of July. The rumor of the massacre in the province of Carazo got to La Cata, the coordinator of the local 19th of April movement, four days before with an additional specification: “they are coming for you”. Awaiting the attack of the paramilitaries meant her death or kidnapping. She left the “safe house” where she was, and without knowing it, began a journey that would take her to Costa Rica in search of staying alive.

Seated in some place in San José, she sees the videos of the massacre in her town and crying is unavoidable for her. She also sees the photos of walls of houses marked with threats against her, “Where is the torturer? LEAD for the coup plotter!” According to what she says, the writings were the minimum of what they wanted to do to her. “They wanted to kill me,” she explains.

Three months prior, La Cata lived in the municipality of Jinotepe in Carazo. She worked in a marketing company and was far from politics. Nevertheless, she explains, the governmental violence used in the protests within the capital against the reforms to the National Social Security Institute (INSS) caused in her a enormous feeling of indignation. On the afternoon of April 19th she decided, along with no more than 20 people, to do a peaceful sit in in Carazo demanding the repeal of the law.

20 minutes went by once they placed their posters in front of INSS when they were removed from the place by state workers with threats of violence. “They (the state workers) tried to intimidate us with stones. We withdrew from the area, but we went to other streets to continue fighting,” she tells.

As the deaths increased with the protests at the national level, she along with other people organized more demonstrations against the Government. The intimidation quit being with mortars and stones, they began to use bullets and shot to kill. The rise in the violence forced them to create “barricades” in the principal entrances to the province. “We made the barricades to put pressue on Ortega, but also for protection, to prevent any paramilitary from entering to kill innocent people,” she says.

Her leadership meant being the person resonsible for communication among all of the self convened. Her fight was not shooting mortars, given that she says that she was never able to manage them, but taking food to the barricades, creating assemblies to understand the needs of the people, being the spokesperson for all. Her resistance quickly turned into a threat for the Government and her name began to circulate in the social networks. She was related to political officials, they labelled her a “coup plotter”, and every day they would go to the home of her parents to shoot off mortars.

La Cata had to leave her home to hide in “safe houses”. In Nicaragua homes in zones outside of the cities have been turned into hideouts for the youth who are persecuted by the State.

“They are watching us,” she says. The indicator for having to change safe houses was waking up with a contact bomb at the door. It was a sign that the paramilitaries left behind to let her know that it did not matter where she hid, they were going to find her.

The threats increased. They would pass by the house of her parents machine gunning it, and in the social networks her “head” (capture or death) was worth $1,500. She was called a criminal and blamed for the murder of people she never knew. In spite of everything, she did not want to leave Carazo, much less the country. She saw it an unjust, inhumane. She did not want to leave her life behind. She felt that leaving was abandoning her fellow fighters who had nearly become her brothers and sisters.

But they were the ones that took her out of Carazo when the rumor came that the paramilitaries were “coming with everything” to attack them.

-The specific rumor came to us: “they are coming for you”. They decided to get me out of Jinotepe before the attack, but it was not our objective to come to Costa Rica. The point was to try to keep ourselves safe, isolated from everything. Without talking with anyone in the outside world. We thought that we had to go back to organize and get to the town with a better strategy.

When did you decide to come to Costa Rica?

– We decided to come when they began to find us. When they got to one of the safe houses outside of the province and took away some companions to El Chipote, now they are trying them for terrorism. They followed all the rules that we agreed on and even so they captured them. There we decided that the coordinators had to leave. We had to go, but we did not think about it nor did we want to. We never imagined Costa Rica as our final stop. We were traveling in the bus and we thought that we were going to go back, but all this got more and more difficult. There is more and more despair about returning soon. We continue hoping to return. Daniel (Ortega) has to go. I do not know how but he has to go. Ortega goes and the next day I will return to my land.

The attack by the paramilitaries on Carazo happened on July 8th. Up to now there is no exact count of how many people died that day. Some say 14 and others calculate it at 40. There is more than a hundred disappeared and around 10 people captured and accused of terrorism. The house where she was sheltered before leaving Carazo was left completely ransacked, they were after her. “It is horrible to think about what they could have done to me. But it is more horrible to not know what happened to people I knew, with whom we fought shoulder to shoulder,” laments the young woman.

La Cata continues alive but feels that each day she dies a little more. The impotency eats away at her and she says that there has not been one day in which she can go back to normal. “It was not for this that I fought for three months. When we started we did not think that the hate was going to reach such dimensions. I feel impotent and even selfish because my brothers continue there. Ortega hates us,” she says firmly.

Her story was validated by the Interamerican Commission of Human Rights (IACHR) when they offered her and her family precautionary measures so that the State of Nicaragua might respect her human rights. La Cata now is one of the more than 8,000 people requesting refuge in Costa Rica, a country that according to her “has opened its arms when we most needed them.” She gives thanks to God for being alive, but she also prays for her brothers in the struggle. That gives her the most hope in the midst of everything.

 

Message to Parents at the Colegio Centro América

This message was published on the Colegio Centro America facebook page, and gives an inside view as how the crisis is affecting normal families. It is a large Jesuit run institution from Preschool to High School, seen as a feeder school to the Central American University (UCA).

https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=230926940896878&id=103126253676948

Posted on facebook, August 6, 2018

Good morning, parents, we are sharing with you the words of Fr. Domingo during flag raising today:

Many things have happened in the country and in the school since the last Flag Ceremony. Since April 19, 47 students have definitively left the school. Close to 70 students remain outside the country. Many fathers and mothers have lost their jobs and some families have had to separate. Likewise, we have cancelled some activities of the school: the Cup of Friendship, the Class Group Dance competition and the “Weaving Dawn” Cultural Presentation Night, in addition to other academic, pastoral, sports and cultural events. The economic situation of the school has been affected significantly…This is nothing in the face of everything that the youth and Nicaraguan families have suffered. The Flag of the school remains at half mast; it is a symbol of the sadness and grief in the face of everything that has happened. In contrast to what we sing in the National Anthem, the voice of bullets has roared and the blood of brothers has been made present in the country. This cannot be.

One of the great questions of philosophy is whether human beings are born good and later become bad, or something of evil is born with us, because we live in a reality that gets worse every day…but it should not be this way, we have to live from the hope that Nicaragua is full of good and altruistic people who daily work to make it a little more humane, that struggle day after day to have a better country.

That is why we have to continue asking and working so that a beautiful peace might shine in your sky…We are convinced that the truth is the principal requirement to overcome lies and for justice to be present, given that good always will win out. When it seems that there is no hope, when it seems that everything is lost, there are reasons to believe and hope. You always have to fight and trust that good will overcome evil, that the good in life is more and better than the bad.

The children and youth of the country are the hope that illuminate the future of Nicaragua. They are the ones who give meaning to what we are and do every day. God help us to live from hope. Let us continue praying and struggling for peace in the country in the understanding that only the truth will make us free (Jn 8,32).

 

 

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.

 

Daniel Ortega´s interview on Fox News

On July 23 Daniel Ortega was interviewed on Brett Baier´s Fox News Program. The full interview with its English translation can be seen here: http://insider.foxnews.com/2018/07/23/bret-baier-interviews-nicaraguan-president-daniel-ortega-special-report

The interview was widely followed in Nicaragua, and it was the first interview Ortega has offered to non Sandinista media in 9 years. So it raised the question as to why he would give that interview to a US Media outlet, and then one like Fox News. What follows is an interview  of Alejandro Bendaña, Secretary General of the Nicaraguan Foreign Ministry in the 1980s, about that interview. He has a PhD in History from Harvard, has published a number of books on Sandino. His most recent is the 500 page “Sandino: Patria y Libertad” (2016). He is also an consultant on international affairs. This interview was published in Confidencial July 27th. [translation was done by Confidencial, we are including it here to make it more available to readers unfamiliar with Confidencial. But Confidencial now has an English section, so more interviews in English can be found at https://confidencial.com.ni/seccion/english/]

Ortega´s effort with the US “Got Nowhere”

Bendana: “Ortega didn’t want to seem confrontational or angry but casts himself as a supplicant because he’s talking to “Mister Trump”

The goal of the interview that comandante Daniel Ortega granted to the United States-based “Fox News” channel was to “get the attention of president Donald Trump”, but Ortega didn’t succeed. This was the opinion of Alejandro Bendana, historian and specialist in International Law.

In the interview with Fox News, Ortega denied any relationship of his government to the paramilitary groups that have seeded death, persecution and terror in the different cities around the country. He also dismissed the idea of early elections, arguing that such would generate instability.

Bendana offered his analysis of Ortega’s interview during the nightly Nicaraguan news program Esta Noche, noting the mistakes of the Nicaraguan leader. He also assured that Ortega’s “weakening” is palpable and that his departure and resignation letter will come through a process of negotiation.

Since finding out on Monday morning, that Daniel Ortega would grant an interview that night to a media outlet from the United States, the initial surprise was his choice: Fox News.  What audience did Ortega want to reach?

Directly to Trump, because Fox is the only television station that he watches and the only one he believes; to him, the others are fake news. His logic to reach Trump was to accept the interview with Fox News and try to explain, to plead, for the government of the United States to please change their position towards his government.

Vice President Mike Pence reacted immediately to the interview. How do you see his response to Ortega’s discourse on Fox?

It was the official line of the United States government, and especially that of Congress. Remember that Ortega’s goal is to try to rise above these hurdles. Ortega is isolated internationally, his strategy is to try and recover some space and what better place than directing himself to Trump himself, who as many know is above his organs, his vice president and who at any moment changes the political direction of his decisions.

So – What could Ortega’s calculation have been? Well, Trump has reached an understanding with dictator Putin; Trump has reached an understanding with the North Korean dictator and, well then, Trump can understand me, Nicaragua’s dictator. The logic must be that, but – What was the reaction? From the vice president, because Trump, who even tweets when he goes to the bathroom, said nothing. So his attempt to reach him, the attempt to change the policy of the United States and the perception of his government got nowhere.

So you believe that Ortega’s strategy failed?

Yes, I think so. It causes confusion among people who don’t know or know very little about what’ happening in Nicaragua, because he came with the tale of “it wasn’t me, I have nothing to do with the paramilitaries,” to which Trump might be sensitive. Something like: “Look here, if I leave this country is left in chaos and you’ll get a trail of immigrants and drugs and all, so you should think twice before they throw me out. He’s using the message of Louis XIV: “Without me, there’s chaos.”

But what the world is telling him is “No, no, papito. You’re the chaos and while you’re here, the country is going to continue suffering a profound human, social, economic and political problem.

There are legislators in the United States, especially conservatives like Marco Rubio or Ileana Ros-Lehtinen who’ve threatened to impose new sanctions on the Ortega government. Do you think that the United States could increase their pressure on the regime over the next few days?

It’s very probable. Remember the dynamic between the executive branch and congress. In principle the Executive doesn’t like having Congress impose foreign policy. The White House prefers to play poker, throw down the cards, throw around sanctions selectively. The poor State Department doesn’t have much weight anymore. So Nicaragua is a little piece of candy that Trump tossed to Congress to have fun with. A speech, an interview with Ortega, isn’t going to change this.

So the policy initiative towards Nicaragua is in Congress but it’s now longer reduced to the Neanderthals in Florida. Instead, you have other people there, like the democrats. Given the bloodbath suffered by the Nicaraguan people, the 300 dead, it’s not a matter just for a small sector of the Republican right wing, now it’s a party concern. So, much less would Trump wish to oppose it.

How do you interpret Ortega’s appeal to the United States when he says: “Nicaragua is a small country with a fragile economy, but we deserve respect like any state of the United States”?

(Ironically) Okay, now we’re a state of the United States, not a sovereign country. The states in the US aren’t sovereign. It’s like William Walker saying “let’s annex ourselves to the United States – we can be the 51ststate.” What changed in Ortega’s speech was the tone. He didn’t want to be confrontational or angry because he’s talking to “Mister Trump” and he casts himself as a supplicant. No one’s buying that anymore.

In addition, it seems like Ortega got on the Trump bandwagon. Everything he said yesterday was fake news.

Of course, and the goal is to confuse. If you can confuse the public, you win some points. If you managed to generate some doubts, well good. But if people think that the paramilitaries are an independent force [like Ortega claimed], well they don’t know Nicaragua.

For those who haven’t been following the news, that image of Ortega saying “it wasn’t me” generates interest, and if it’s genuine interest then people will look for information and they’re going to run into the avalanche of news, of images, of testimonies, of documents that all point in one direction which is what we have here. What the Wall Street Journal described as a State of terror.

For the reader that’s a little more educated, there’s been a report on Nicaragua every day in the large US newspapers.

More educated, but at the same time, now it’s not only in the Washington Post or the New York Times, but it’s been general news. The press in Europe has been important because the governments haven’t simply issued pronouncements through their ambassador’s offices. What’s coming out in the media, in the French Le Monde for example, isn’t going to be ignored by the French government. Here you have important sectors of the old left, with the exception of the Neanderthals on the other side at the Sao Paulo Forum, who have broken with Ortega: for example, the greater part of Podemos [in Spain], Pepe Mujica, one after the other. So – what can Ortega grab onto, where can the countries who would have preferred to stay silent hide?  It’s not possible anymore.

The president said that his government has no relationship with paramilitaries, that Catholic parishes in Nicaragua have not been attacked and that the country is normalizing. What is Ortega trying to do? Is he a president detached from reality?

Fortunately, what has happened in the last three months no longer leaves doubt for lies because it has been accompanied by the presence of hundreds of reporters, images and testimonies. So when Ortega said that, a whole series of lies, no serious government will be convinced. They already know Ortega, they already know that he is lying, what he is doing and therefore it is not going to open a gap in all that strength, increasingly unified, that seeks to condemn him.

While Ortega was talking to Fox Monday, government paramilitary groups were attacking Jinotega. There are at least three dead and dozens wounded. That same night the media reported that the Brazilian final year medical student, Rayneia Lima, was murdered in Managua. What impact does the murder of a Brazilian citizen have on the Ortega government?

It is serious, especially for the Government of Brazil, and hopefully for the opposition to the Government of Brazil, including within the Workers Party itself and some of the sectors that support Lula, who have been with Ortega. This has to make them think. A few days ago, it was Frei Betto, a benchmark for the entire Progressive Christian sector. Where are the political forces in Brazil that are going to support Ortega after this? In none… nowhere.

Even in Venezuela, Ortega is criticized by currents within the Chavistas that are saying “gentlemen, its not a good idea to continue tied to this friend,” regardless of what the Venezuelan foreign minister or the foreign minister of Cuba say. There are sectors of the left, not Cuban government officials, who are following in detail what is happening in Nicaragua and the debate that is taking place in Sandinista non-Ortega sectors.

On Thursday we reach a hundred days of crisis in Nicaragua. At least 295 dead, dozens of disappeared, hundreds of political prisoners. Do you think that Ortega has managed to normalize the situation or are we facing an already weakened Ortega?

The weakening is palpable, and he is in the intensive care unit and will not come out of there right now. And well, when he comes out, we know how many come out. This has no return. There is no perspective of governability or economic stability, of normalization of the situation at night in Managua or in the day, while this man remains in power. Again, I repeat it, it is not the chaos that could occur if Ortega goes, but the chaos that Ortega represents every day that he continues.

For there to be early elections that are fair and transparent, this man must first have left the political scene.

Some sources say that what Ortega wants is another kind of dialogue with other intermediaries and they have talked about SICA [the Central American Integration System].

The SICA is one of the few instances that he has left, and its last resolution was not totally negative, perhaps because Costa Rica had recently changed government and allowed him to score that goal. But now, the Government of Costa Rica, pressured by a number of sectors and the immigration situation that it has internally, may not allow the SICA to play that role.

It is time for Costa Rica, as the most affected country in the region, to bring this situation to the attention of the United Nations Security Council; to call a meeting to the presidency and if not, there is the Secretary General of the United Nations who, under Article 99 of its charter, has the authority to also take the situation to the Security Council.

What departures does Ortega have in this labyrinth in which he got himself?

Let him go. Put in his letter of resignation. Negotiate the logistics a little. Amnesty no, and he can negotiate his conditions of exile in any country. Here, he no longer rules, he lost the power he had. Compare the power he has now with the situation four months ago. Maybe he’ll have an attack of conscience, doesn’t he say he’s a Christian. 

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!