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.
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.
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)
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.
This editorial appeared on the official media site of the FSLN, El 19 Digital on Oct 19, 2018. Written by the President of the Church and Society Evangelical Coordinator (CEPRES), it again is an example of the extreme polarization in the country. Even more serious when the polarization is fueled by a religious leader using religious language and imagery, in light of the fact that even Nicaraguan history tells us that any viable post-crisis government will have to incorporate people with very different perspectives on society.
However it does confirm what many of the opposition leaders – picked up on Sunday Oct 14th and released on Monday Oct 15th – said about the perspective of their police interrogators while in El Chipote. They reported that their interrogators insisted that these demonstrations were being centrally controlled and financed, and found it hard to believe that people could be spontaneously gathering in demonstrations, organizing through the use of social media. This model of organization is not believable for people immersed in the Sandinista model, where everything is centrally planned and directed. Furthermore, those leaders are promoting the idea that the driving force behind the opposition is US imperialism.
Ideologues of the coup created a 7 handed monster, carrier of the deadly poison of lies
Editorial for Friday October 19, 2018 on El 19 Digital, Official online media of the FSLN
The industry of falsehoods, like all industries, needs several components that ensure the success of its product. The industry of falsehoods has a framework, a design, a label, a communication platform and a marketing strategy. To achieve the desired success they place special emphasis on the product presentation, they work so that it be credible, attractive, pleasing to the eyes of the consumer, even though its content might be a farce. As part of the marketing, people and personalities are sought out so that they might be the “image” drivers and promoters of the product. It is not equally believable what a drunk says than what a priest might say, likewise what a prostitute says is not as equally credible as what a journalist might say. So the strategists of the industry of falsehoods select people and personalities so that they might be the image that seduces and convinces the consumer of that product.
In Nicaragua for several years now the strategists of the failed coup started the installation of small, allied and interconnected factories to build an industry producing lies and false scenarios which would serve as the basis and support for the overthrow of the government of the Sandinista Front. The ideologues of the failed coup established factories and laboratories to produce falsehoods in universities, communications media, Catholic parishes, civil organizations, peasant and human rights centers with a specific design that included drama courses to create scenarios, pretend false tragedies and publicize them in Nicaragua and the world as sacrosanct truths. The designers of the industry of falsehood located in Miami, Washington and other US cities, as in all their interventions, previously select, prepare and train their native representatives to carry out the strategy, they finance and sponsor the actions, they become the protectors of their agents who they present as “angels of light, defenseless children, heroes of peace” and in this way they make it seem that the only thing that they are doing is defending democracy and supporting the Nicaraguan people, attempting to hide their true role of strategists and financiers of the coup with their internal allies as promoter and implementers.
Each one of the native actors would play a specific role, following the pre-established script set by the ideologues of the northern empire, who in the end would form a heartless monster, devoid of conscience, capable of carrying out the most perverse actions that the spawners of evil could imagine. What they did not foresee is that this perverse monster would get out of their control and within the coup promoters would turn into their own destroyer.
The strategists of the coup created a 7 handed monster to carry out their macabre plan. These 7 hands were selected, trained, financed and directed from a brain that from outside the country made each hand fulfill their assigned role as faithful puppets. These are the 7 hands of the coup monster that now is on its deathbed , the victims of their own poison.
The role of the universities involved was to project the criminals as students who were fighting for the social demands of the elderly benefitted by INSS (elderly who never appeared protesting). These “students” should be astutely creating false scenarios, torture and other evil things. In pursuit of this some “students” got off script and began to fight among themselves over jealously, interests, publicity, control over the assets stolen, drugs, money and the donations received. To the extent that big fights broke out just over deciding who of the “students” were going to read a press release. This monster suckled by universities like the UPOLI in their debauchery destroyed their own nest, stealing from and destroying the installations of the formerly Baptist university which was turned into their base of operations, den of thieves in complicity with some of their authorities and functionaries.
The NGOs involved in the failed coup, in addition to being the link for the financing of the organized groups, had the task to present the actors of the vandalic actions as peaceful, civic groups, without stones and weapons, defenseless youth, heroes of peace and democracy. They in turn must play the role of catalysts and promoters of the plan.
Human Rights centers and commissions
On their part the centers and commissions of supposedly human rights defenders fulfilled their task in a specific way which consisted in doubling and tripling the figures of the dead and wounded, putting on the list of the dead people who died of natural causes or accidents, to victimize the coup mongers and finally present the criminals who had stolen, set fires, kidnapped, tortured and murdered as political prisoners. Those representatives were prohibited from defending tortured Sandinistas, mothers of murdered police, and all the Sandinista people, for them only the criminals and coup mongers have human rights. But that was the role that they were assigned and fully carried out.
The business leaders of COSEP and AMCHAM
The business people part of COSEP and AMCHAM at first had to break all connection with the government and attack the economy of the country. Pretending that they were the ones who were financing the “civic struggle” and that they would be the guarantor for the establishment of a new government. In this desire for visibility some figures of the business sector began to be projected as future members of a government junta, which began to generate jealousy and contradictions between the “students” and the groups entrenched in the NGOs who fancied themselves to be the representatives of civil society. The business leaders of this country destroyed the spaces that the government and the workers had opened and ceded the policy of economic consensus and now have hung in their very comfortable offices a new title that reads: “Honor to coup mongers.”
In another of the scenarios the peasant banner is raised, where some women and men repeated the format from Managua, adapting to it the ingredient that “they are being dispossessed of the land” by the government, and presenting themselves as victims of the big canal project. They were assigned the task of raising barricades and blocking the principal access routes to goods and products from the countryside and from outside the country. As a reward or compensation for their “civic labor” they authorized them to be able to charge a toll on all the transport workers and people with vehicles, so that in order to pass through a death lock they had to pay hundreds and thousands of córdobas.
All this network of lies, all this platform of hate and perversity needed robes, a packaging that would make the lies appear as truth, hate as love, perversity as a holy attribute and it is there where the Catholic hierarchy comes in with their nefarious role, taking on and fulfilling several roles like that of an accessory after the fact, and protector of criminals, defender of the infernal blockades, the tip of the spear of the coup monger strategy, inspirer, promoter, and “sanctifier” of violent actions (it was evident that the criminals felt represented and protected by several bishops of the Nicaraguan Episcopal Conference). They put the priestly identity and robes at the service of hate and lies, several Catholic churches were provided to store weapons and torture Sandinistas. Every day they repeated and invented lies. One of those big lies was to say to President Daniel to his own face that “the people has already abandoned him, that they condemned him and that it would be better for him to resign.” Another bigger lie was that the cathedral was to try to protect the barricades as a civic weapon of a peaceful resistance, knowing that those barricades were places for the rape of girls, places of torture, death and burning people alive, they being the first to oppose that those barricades be removed. The Catholic hierarchy with many of their priests not only “sanctified” the lies and perversity, but they themselves became a factory of lies, which made them not only lose credibility with thousands of their Catholic faithful who will never more return to their parishes, but that knowingly became a energizing structure of the coup, and in biblical terms showed themselves as sons of darkness, sons of Satan, who if they do not repent from their wickedness, will have to appear before the judgement of God. “You are from your father the devil. He was a murderer from the beginning, and has not remained in the truth because there is no truth in him. When he speaks lies, he speaks out of his own nature, because he is a liar and the father of lies” (John8:44).
7: Journalists and the communications media
And finally in the chess game of the coup mongers the platform of communication was conceived and assessed as the essential element in the strategy of the failed coup. That is why thousands of dollars have been invested in oxygenating and sustaining journalists and activists located in magazines, newspapers, radios, television channels and virtual networks. As faithful agents of the evil empire they promoted a ferocious disinformation campaign and lies, blaming the government for everything, presenting it as a criminal dictatorship, while the criminals they promoted as democratic youth, defenseless, as little angels. Given their eagerness there was a journalist who had the audacity to compare their actions with the civic struggle of Ghandi and Martin Luther King. Creating panic, collective hysteria, insecurity, anarchy, spreading rumors and lies, making and disseminating staged images and photographs, making threats to Sandinistas and creating the sensation that the President would resign and abandon the country, was among others the focus that the journalists hired to be promoters and drivers of the coup actions were tirelessly disseminating. I believe that, in the entire history of our country, this has been the period where a group of the communications media in an orchestrated and systematic way have spread the biggest number of lies and falsehoods ever seen, that if someone took on the task of counting all the lies spread the list would be very long.
Even though each one of these 7 hands of the monster named had specific tasks and functions, through all of them there was a crosscutting common denominator: lies, confirming that wickedness is never separated from lies. Lies and wickedness form an infernal binomial.
IN THE TONGUE LIVES A DEADLY POISON, IT POSSESSES THE POWER OF DEATH AND LIFE.
The Bible warns us that the tongue of the impious is full of deadly venom (James 3:8) and that in it is found the power of death and life (Proverbs 18:21). The creative power of the word rests on the tongue. The tongue is a very powerful instrument, but unfortunately on many occasions we are not aware of the power that we possess. It is dangerous to handle dynamite when one does not know what one has in their hands – it can kill you. Many people have died through their own tongues, we almost never measure the consequences of our words. The apostle James points out that the tongue is an evil that cannot be stopped, full of deadly venom. Because in the same way that a serpent bites you and poisons all your body and you can die, so the tongue of the liar poisons an entire family or an entire people, and they can die, if there is not a quick intervention of the truth as the only antidote to counteract the deadly venom of the lie. That is why that, if someone wants to live from lies, love them and even believe in them and spread them, that person needs to understand that they have given a place in their heart to Satan who is the prince of darkness and lies come from darkness.
According to the Bible no one can master their tongue on their own, to achieve it they need the help of the Holy Spirit.
The lying tongue that exudes venom produces damaging effects. One of those effects is that it cauterizes the conscience of the liar. These people with their consciences cauterized are capable of committing any crime and perversity. A person without a conscience is like a city without police, there is nothing nor anyone who can make one stop, pull over, they run like unbridled beasts. Seducing “with the hypocrisy of liars, who having their conscience cauterized, commit abominable acts.” (1 Timothy 4:2).
Another of the pernicious effects of lies is that they harden the hearts of the liar. From the stage of self deceit, the liars move to the deadly condition known as “bearers of hardened hearts” (James 1:22). “The weapons of the cheat are evil; they hatch wicked plots to confuse the simple with lying words” (Isaiah 32:7). Therefore the lie is an instrument that the devil uses to do evil. Wickedness does not operate alone, it counts on three powerful allies, hate, lies and deceit. That is why there are six things that Jehovah abhors, within them is the lying tongue. “The abominable and homicidal, the sorcerers and all liars will have their place in the lake that burns with fire and sulphur” (Apocalypses 21:8).
The coup monster referred to here is a child of Satan, because it makes lying its principal weapon, many were turned into multiplying agents of the lies and deceit, allies of evil to kill, steal, burn and destroy. We have waged a spiritual battle taking up the weapon of the truth, applying the truth as the only antidote that can counteract and conquer the venom of lies. And this should be an every day task, applying love and truth in an ongoing campaign of spiritual healing to rescue thousands from death. So far already an important number of Nicaraguans who were victims of lies, and who on learning the truth of the facts have been withdrawing from the lies, and if they look for God sincerely, he will have mercy on them and will heal their souls, because lying is a cancer that corrodes the soul and corrupts society, while the truth heals us and sets us free. But there are others whose every day food and oxygen is lying, they cannot live in the light, only in the darkness, they have made lying their permanent ally and their weapon to damage and destroy others; because the liar does not only lie to others, but also lies to himself. “They in the end, like all liars, will be the victims of their own lies. Because the payment for lies is death—“ (Romans 6:23)
Therefore no more lies and wickedness. “Leaving aside all lies and falsehoods, speak the truth each person with their neighbor” (Ephesians 4:25). Being sure and convinced that, just as light conquers the darkness, just as love conquers hate, just as life conquers death, also the TRUTH conquers and triumphs over lies.
This article appeared on the website of “Nicaragua investiga” on October 17, 2018. The anonymous author is a victim of sex abuse. While it is similar to the reflection of Daniel Ortega´s stepdaughter, Zoilamerica Narvaez, in drawing a parallel between the dynamics of abusers with their victims and the relationship of Ortega with the country, this reflection goes a step further. She points out the type of change that needs to happen in relationships throughout society, and the need to break the silence of abuse at all levels, for real and lasting change to happen. This is a relevant reflection for any society, as evidenced recently in the US in the Kavanaugh hearing and priest abuse scandals.
“Nothing will be more revolutionary for our new Nicaragua than that the road to the liberation from the dictatorship be accompanied by the liberation of our consciousness”
This is a reflection that will end up being uncomfortable for many, but it is necessary and urgent for those of us who profoundly believe that it is possible to build a different country, because I am not going to settle for getting rid of a political dictator and continuing with the multiple dictatorships that have crushed us girls and women of my country, Nicaragua, for centuries.
To start, I will say that I am one of many girls who have learned too early the horror of the violence in our bodies at the hands of a relative, and who see in the situation of Nicaragua today too many similarities with the multiple violences that we women experience daily in this country.
I was born into a poor, Catholic and Sandinista family, where you could not speak ill about neither the priests nor the Comandantes. In this way I learned that silence could kill, and that a cry is a powerful weapon that all of us carry within us, and that has saved many of us. I am one more of the Zoilamericas who have said no more along with thousands and thousands of us who have rebelled against the Great Abuser.
Daniel Ortega is a sex abuser and also an abuser of the people. He and Rosario Murillo have operated with their victims in the same way that they have done with an entire country. In a sad but clear similarity, what has happened to Nicaragua is the same as the girl that falls into the claws of a predator disguised as a lamb who comes up to offer a piece of candy, sticks his dirty hands inside her clothing, snatches away her freedom and imposes silence on her, believing that she is never going to be capable of rebelling.
To the surprise of the abuser, the girl breaks the infernal pact of silence, begins to speak about it, first in a low voice, and little by little finds support, until one day shouts it in a loud and clear voice, and now no one can shut her up. The abuser has two options, shoulder the blame, or on the contrary, deny his responsibility, say to the entire world that the girl is to blame, and threaten her or, if it is possible, hurt her.
The story is the same in respect to Nicaragua. To the surprise of the dictator, the people broke their silence, we began with small protests, followed by others a little bigger, and others bigger and bigger until the shout of “No more” was deafening. The dictator had two options, and chose the same path that almost all sex abusers choose: deny the facts, blame the victim, threaten and even kill.
What is in play in both cases is not just the ongoing abuse of this girl or Nicaragua, but the possibility to continue hidden behind the mask of the lamb that allows him to continue the hunt without being discovered, continue making use of power, controlling and abusing a country, in the same way as he controls and abuses a body. The analogy is as perverse as it is appalling.
But more perverse is thinking that Nicaragua is one of the countries with the most sex abuse incidents in Latin America (5,000 denouncements per year), in other words that we are in a country full of men of the same calibre as the dictator Ortega. Men who have abused the girls who are around them for believing themselves owners of their bodies, and who have taken advantage of the trust which these victims have in them in order to violate their integrity.
Many of these abusers have been shielded by relatives, neighbors, the community, the authorities, the churches,…we live with these men on a daily basis, and it is even possible that we may be marching in the streets with many of them demanding freedom and justice. It is not by chance that as a society we have tolerated the fact that a man accused of sexual abuse would take power and that we would allow him to submit the country to the same dynamic as his victims. It is not by chance, because in the end sexual violence, and any type of violence practiced by men, does not seem acceptable to us.
Well that tolerance of macho violence ends up being equally despicable as the dictatorship to me. Not only because of all the damage to the lives of girls, boys and women; but because I am convinced that what we are experiencing today is the result of that macho culture that teaches men to control and subdue whatever and whoever it might be: girls, boys, women, nature, their workers, the people that surround them, and in the end an entire people. And then I ask myself, what is the difference between what we are fighting today in the streets, and the social networks from the daily dictatorship that is established and intact in our homes and that is deeply rooted in our social co-existence?
There is no difference between them, they are the same thing, they come from the same roots. The Ortega dictatorship is machista, violent, abusive, disparages life and abuses power, just as the man does who does abuse in the family, who disrupts the intimacy of girls and boys, who harrasses at work, who takes advantage of their investiture and authority as priest, teacher or president of a country.
Surely these reflections will be portrayed as inappropriate divisionism, but I am writing today precisely for that reason, because I am extremely concerned that, as happens to girls who experience abuse, in the name of family unity and to not create divisions, we let any form of macho violence continue occurring and continue saying, “there will be time for that later”. No. The time is now.
It is now when we can give ourselves the right to question everything that has not helped us to be happy as a society and as a people. It is now- not tomorrow, nor at another moment – when we can make way for a profound and serious debate on the society that we want, and it is now when we have to decide whether we are really committed to change in the system, or if we are playing at “changing it all in order to not change anything,” as goes an old premise in politics.
It seem to me that we urgently need to make a personal and collective appeal in our community spaces, and in the social and political organizations that we are strengthening in the face of the dictatorship, on this topic, without fear that conflicting positions might emerge, without fear of questioning ourselves, for example:
How can we rebuild a country in democracy if we are full of real or potential sexual abusers in families, neighborhoods, churches, schools and communities who we do not dare to question in the name of anti-Ortega unity?
How are we going to be different, the generation of rebellious youth of 2018, from those from the 80s who relegated the role of women to lesser positions, and tried to send them back to the kitchen after having fought shoulder to shoulder with them in the mountains?
How can we ensure that the history not be repeated of consecutive and ongoing abuse in all the spheres of our lives as a society, from the smallest, like the family to the most public sphere, like the government, if we do not disrupt the bases of that form of the exercise of power?
I imagine also that these reflections will awaken the typical misogynist comments that I have heard in forums and social networks. Unfortunately the great majority of these comments will come from fellow men and women who are also fighting against the dictatorship with expressions like “a feminazi is the one writing this” or “it is not the moment to talk about these issues because they distract from the principal objective of the struggle” or “to talk about feminism is excluding because not all of us who are in the struggle are feminists”.
I already have a response for you: yes, I am talking about feminism, everything that I write here is from my consciousness as a feminist woman. And even more, I can assure you that a feminist, anti-racist, anti-capitalist, ecological…revolution is the only one that will really be inclusive, and is what we many girls aspire to who have put our lives at risk in these six months, and from long before that.
Even more, I will tell you that it is impossible to think about the word REVOLUTION without feminism, because revolutionize is changing from the roots the bases for an unequal society for another one that is open, inclusive, with social justice and human rights for everyone. And it is a secret to no one that our bases as a society are rotten, and in its rot seethes sexism.
Nothing will be more revolutionary for our new Nicaragua than the road toward the liberation from the dictatorship come accompanied by the liberation of our consciousness. And this implies destabilizing all the powers and backward ideas that we have inherited, exchanging them for ideas of equality between men and women, for social justice, respect for diversity, the right to decide without conditions for women, the right to say no more to any abuse not matter where it comes from, respect for nature…in other words, exchanging them for profoundly feminist ideas and practices. This is the society that I dream about, this is the revolution that I want for my country, and for the girls and boys who are going to inherit this country, so that never more will their voices be quieted in the face of the irrational desires of any predator, sexual nor political.
This is the statement from the Articulación de Movimientos Sociales on the arrests mentioned in the previous post. The Interamerican Commission on Human Rights issued a tweet this morning reminding the government of the right of the citizens to peacefully protest. (double click on image to pull up pdf)
Independent news channels in Nicaragua showed the police arresting what later became known as 38 people among many who gathered to demonstrate against the government. In the past the government policy was to mount pro government counter demonstrations along the same route announced by the opposition. This week the Police announced that they would arrest any organizers of any event that would alter public peace. Here is the press release from the Police about the arrests this morning and their reasoning.
Police detained people who carried out a demonstration without the corresponding permit
Sunday, Oct 14, 2018, Press Release
(Published in El 19 Digital)
General Commissioner, Jaime Vanega Vega, Inspector General of the National Police, read a press release which clarifies the events that occurred on Sunday morning in the sector of Camino de Oriente in Managua
The press release specifies that today at 9:00am 38 people were arrested who were promoting provocative and instigating activities that violated the right to peace and harmonious co-existence of families.
The General Commissioner specified that of the 38 arrested, 8 were already released.
The 30 people arrested are those who called for the demonstration, altering peace and the normal harmonious existence of the people.
He reminded that demonstrations will not be permitted that do not have permits, nor will any action be permitted that would violate the right of families to peace and life, and recalled that any instigating and provocative activity will be punished.
The police are carrying out investigations to determine the degree of responsibility of those arrested, to later send them to the competent authorities for their trial.
Press Release No. 117-2018
The National Police makes known to the people of Nicaragua the following:
Today, Sunday October 14, 2018 at 9:15am in the morning in the sector Camino de Oriente of Managua, the National Police captured 38 people involved in instigating and provocative activities that violate the right of Nicaraguan families to move about, freely circulate and carry out their economic, commercial, religious, sports and recreational activities with normalcy.
8 people were released:
José Dolores Blandino
Marlen Auxiliadora Chow Cruz
Alba Luz Aragón Dávila
Ramiro Eduardo Lacayo Deshón
Nena Gisela Morales
Arlin Elias Martínez Luna
Eliam Stiven Martínez González
Douglas David Díaz Obando
30 people remain in prison who called for and participated in a Public Demonstration without the proper permit, altering peace and the normal harmonious existence of our people:
José Alejandro Vega Potoy
Francisco Raúl Ortega Guzmán
Marvin Arturo Reyes Rosales
Leo Manuel Navarrete Lumbi
Freddy Ramírez Guido
Alejandro de Jesús Cordero Ocón
Mauricio Rios Mencias
Sandra Patricia Cuadra Murillo
Slivia Castillo Salaverry
María Alejandra Machado Blandón
Marcela Martínez Guzmán
Deysi Tamara Dávila Rivas
María Dolores Monge Aguilar
María de los Ángeles Gutierrez García
Suyén Barahona Quant
Ana Lucía Álvarez Vigil
Sofia Gabriela Velásquez González
Juan Omar Escorcía Martínez
Maynor Josué Quintero Peña
Manuel Salvador Martínez
Rolando Ernesto Tapio Orozco
Orlando Antonio Luna Guevara
Gustavo Adolfo Vargas Rojas
Ana Margarita Vijil
Kenneth Joel Saballos
Andrés Reyes Monge
José Antonio Peraza Collado
Orlando Rafael Miranda Ángel
Roger Nicolás Cano Lara
Gerson Daniel Delgadillo López
The National Police in the exercise of their constitutional and legal faculties are carrying out investigations to determine the degree of penal responsibility of those arrested and will send them to the competent authorities for their prosecution.
The National Police are fulfilling their constitutional duty to ensure the tranquility and security of all Nicaraguan families, and therefore reiterate that they will not permit demonstrations or mobilizations on the public streets that do not have the proper Permit.
The National Police reiterates that no activity will be permited that violates the right of Nicaraguan families to peace and life, and recalls that any provocative, instigating and violent activity will be penalized in accordance with the Constitution and the Laws of Nicaragua.
Ex pro-government journalist publishes chat of the attack on the May 30th march and denounces threats
Translation of article in 100% Noticias on Oct 12, 2018
Carlos Mikel told 100% Noticias that he was forced to publish these chats, because after his revelations to the 100% Interview program, they threatened to kill him.
Carlos Mikel Espinoza, an ex journalist who worked for the ruling party medio El 19 Digital, published in his social networks a screen capture that uncovers the complicity of the Sandinista journalists that knew the entire time that on May 30th the government ordered the attack on the “Mothers Day March,” where 15 people were killed.
Espinoza, a refugee in Costa Rica after resigning from the ruling party media, brought this image to light because of the campaign against him on the part of his ex-fellow workers, where in addition he denounces that a paramilitary threatened him that if he returns to Carazo “he is a dead man.”
“I have screen shots of the entire afternoon of May 30th, I have screen shots of more days. If they insist on their campaign, I will release them and then I will not protect the names of friends. Whether we continue, or stop now, depends on them,” said Carlos Mikel in a tweet.
In the image it can be read that in a Whatsapp group called “I am and will be a militant”, someone wrote: “the brigade of motorcycles is going to attack. 200 are headed there.” Tania Cerón comments: “Good, already a lot of screwing around, lead.” Another person responded: “they are going to give them lead.”
This photo is accompanied by the description of Espinoza: “Screen capture May 30th. Time of the attack on the march. Look. When I left El 19 Digital I asked many to not say anything to me, that I was going to stay on the margins. It was worthless, they attacked me. I was despondent. I cried. WARNING: In the screen capture I am protecting the identity of some friends.”
In addition the journalist points out that José Miguel Fonseca (JM Fonseca), press director of the also ruling party Channel 4, has insisted on saying that his recent revelations to independent media like 100% Noticias are lies.
“Since JM Fonseca insists on saying that what I am saying are lies, and since the paramilitaries of #CARAZO sent to tell me that if I show up there I am a dead man, I will publish through this medium some chats so that you can see the type of journalists that report in the official media,” he wrote.
After publishing these messages Carlos Mikel said to 100% Noticias that he was forced to publish these chats, because after his revelations to the 100% Interview program of Lucía Pineda, the threats and harassment have intensified.
“I have seen myself forced to begin to publish some chats from the hate groups that exist within the communications media of the Sandinista Front. I did not want to fall into these blame games, but it is very complicated because there are people who do not understand that you have to respect differences of opinion,” said Espinoza.
“Since the interview that I gave you (Lucía), well in the previous days they continued to exude hate, talking badly about me, they have even gotten to threats and those threats I am not willing to accept from anyone (…) I am publishing it because Mr. José Miguel Fonseca, press director of Channel 4, is a person that says things, and it makes you embarrassed to hear him speak, he doesn´t seem to be a journalist, he exudes hate, he is a person who threatens, and I think that we are all witnesses in the field of the type of person that José Miguel Fonseca is after April 18th,” he said.
Espinoza warns that he published a screen capture and that he can “publish more, but what I publish depends on them,” he assured.
“These chats reveal the fanaticism, the hate that prevails in the communications media of the Ortega Murillo family, “ highlighted Carlos Mikel, who commented that “the chats are saved well, there are several people who have copies” and until he judges it helpful, or if anything happens to him, they will be made public.
Carlos Mikel clarifies that he will not turn these chats over to the national and international organizations who are defenders of human rights, because in them he would be involving people that he still appreciates.
“I am not thinking of turning these things over, these chats. When I left El 19 [Digital], I said that I was not going to make a denouncement, I had not made any denouncement in spite of the things that they were saying to me, in spite of the threats that I was receiving the days after I left El 19,” he indicated.
Finally the journalist that worked 9 years for the ruling party media said that it would be “a complete stupidity” to want to do something to me, “beat me or kill me, it would be crazy.”
Espinoza now does journalism from his blog Spotlightnic.
Last October 9th Espinoza revealed in the 100% Interview Program that the 100% Noticias channel broadcasts, among other things, that the looting of the different establishments of the country were planned by the CPC in each neighborhood; that they were Sandinistas who burned the family alive in the Carlos Marx neighborhood where six people died, including two children; and that the Sandinista journalists were given “workshops” by Venezuelan journalists to sell them the idea that what was happening in Nicaragua was a “coup”.
“If they think that Daniel Ortega is innocent, let them show it and don´t kill anyone. What we want is that Nicaragua be free, if they want Daniel Ortega to be the king or emperor of Nicaragua that is fine, but let them respect the right that some 6 million of us Nicaraguans have to say, “I am not in agreement,” concluded Espinoza.
This interview of a student leader now in exile appeared in an online magazine started by a recently formed organization composed mainly of socialist parties in Europe and Latin America.. The translation of its name is International Anticapitalists Network. It is significant in that he addresses two recent proposals made by the opposition for an alternative Nicaragua, and also the need for any alternative to incorporate people who currently are on the other side.
Nicaragua, Interview of Fidel Narváez: “our struggles cannot be divided by borders”
Translated interview by Tito Castillo in “Anticapitalists en Red Internacional”
Oct 11, 2018
News magazine of group founded this past May composed of Europeans and Latin Americans socialist parties
Fidel used to teach classes on Law and Philosophy in different universities in Managua. During the protests of April he actively jointed the student struggle, principally at the National Poly-technical University (UPOLI). After that he was identified by the regime and saw himself forced to leave the country for security reasons. Currently he is in Europe doing political work based on international community, criticism and social theory.
Anticapitalists en Red (AR): More than five months have gone by since the protests began in Nicaragua, what was the Central American context for this?
Central America is a region with similar characteristics, not just in terms of population, work, wealth, but also in terms of resistance. The resistances have been silenced to be able to maintain the status quo and what the business people call “the business climate.” They want to give the image that Central America is a profitable option for investing, because apart from miserable salaries you have a police force and a State that can regulate these social pressures. So after five months this myth has fallen apart not just in Nicaragua but in all of Central America. We have realized that in Central America the population has enough reasons and motives to go out on the street to demand the resignation of the ruler, to be able to demand respect for human rights. Unfortunately the Central America process has not been a joint struggle. If you look closely, this also is the result of the principal tasks of the oligarchic forces, of corporate forces: decoupling the resistances at the borders. If they internationalize corporate power, inequality, repression, we have to break through those borders. Nevertheless, this movement in Nicaragua has not been able to staunchly connect with other resistances that have been happening historically in Central America. So we have seen how at this moment small foci of resistance and struggle have emerged in different countries of the Central American region, but I go back and repeat: it is a weakness because what we should really do and what also has been espoused by some movements, by some activists, by some universities is that the struggle should unite. In other words, that our struggles cannot be divided by borders, because our problems are not problems of borders, they are regional problems.
This national collaboration should not be around the Civic Alliance, the Social Articulation, nor the Blue and White Unity. I am of the criteria, but maybe it could be that I am mistaken, that the national collaboration cannot just be on the basis of movements, figures or acronyms. But that it has to be on the basis of a program that unites around an attractive pole, that pole is a program with concrete points, which is what the Sandinista Front did in 1979 to attract all the different sectors in the fight; workers, peasants, students, women, laborers. Currently in Nicaragua I do not see a historic program, nor a political program…there is a “Route to democratization”, which is different.
I think the appearance of a political program like what “We are Building Nicaragua” proposed, which is basically a political-social movement whose greatest contribution can be on the political-ideological plane. This program makes it evident that not all of us were aware of the fact that there is a structural problem in Nicaragua. We were aware of the fact that Ortega is a dictator and that we want to get rid of him. But without a political program we are not going to realize, or we are not going to recognize the structural problems that the country has. And one of the principal problems is COSEP, in other words, private enterprise, which is wrestling in Ortega´s favor along with some Central American business sectors to maintain their corporate model.
AR: How can you live with Sandinism after this?
That will depend on the exit scenario that there is in Nicaragua. If there is a scenario of a rupture that can be through a constitutional convention process, the re-founding of the State, the process can be a bit longer, yes, but it can bring structural changes in the long term. In other words, ensuring that the same mistakes are not made that have been carried along simply because of putting patches on our problems. I think that Orteguism and Sandinism are two different things, and once this has a solution – be it through early elections or a constitutional convention process – the big burden or the big problem for the future and for co-existence with that part of the population that has opted for sticking with the dictatorship, will be harmonious relations. Because Sandinism for more than five months has had a sufficient margin, gradually, to be able to be disassociating itself ethically and for revolutionary principles from what currently is the government: which has opted for lying, deceit, corruption, repression and annihilation as a form of doing politics. For a radical democratic process to be viable it is going to have to count on these people. This does not mean that the co-existence is going to be easy, because that democratic process indeed is going to be real and is going to be a product of this new revolution.
AR: What is the exit scenario for the Ortega-Murillo regime?
I think that the constitutional convention process to resolve the big structural problems of Nicaragua is the only one that would achieve a true peace. A peace more sustainable over time, even though in the beginning there may be problems of different types of orders. Nevertheless, real participation, the endorsement of that constitution, and the participation in new elections well could provide an opportunity for a real re-founding of the State. If we only put a patch on it, the big structural situations that we have to resolve as a people are going to persist. We are going to continue having a bicephalous dictatorship, but in that case it will no longer be in the terms of Gemini or Plato´s myth on love, which was one body back to the other and that a thunderbolt divided into two, no, in this sense we are going to one dictatorship with the same body but with two faces looking forward: two faces that can communicate with one another, that can openly negotiate between them without shame because that is what is going to happen if by chance cosmetic reforms are obtained, merely esthetic issues in terms of Nicaraguan politics. We are going to have the bicephalous dictatorship of COSEP and Orteguism talking among themselves about all the issues that concern us as a people. Now, the scenario in any sense of reform or rupture is going to be a difficult scenario because there is an unlearning of the caudillo cultures, vertical cultures, that process of unlearning is going to necessarily lead to clashes, confrontations and crises, but they are not crises that are going to have a negative dialectic.